As I opened up Tern Hide this morning there were a fantastic number of house martins gathering over the car park and feeding over Ibsley Water. There were easily a few hundred and I could identify them by their conspicuous white rump. On migration the birds often congregate over freshwater to feed on the insects.
All the usual suspects were seen on the rest of the round opening up the hides. In the car park by the centre there were nuthatches calling in the trees. The feeders seem to be quite crowded at the moment with great tits, blue tits, chaffinches, green finches and goldfinches all jostling for a perch. Below the feeder on the left side of the woodland hide a grey squirrel was feeding and it was frequently joined by a very skittish bank vole darting in and out of the undergrowth collecting the fallen seeds.
On Ivy lake the great crested grebe is still sitting on the nest to the left of the Ivy south hide, and while I was there I had my first glimpse of the kingfisher flying past which has been spotted there by visitors on a regular basis with many being lucky enough to have views of the kingfisher perched on the branches in front of the hide. There are an increasing number of coot and gadwall on the lake. The tern rafts are now absent of terns, today they were occupied by two cormorants on one, gulls on another and ducks on the third.
Catherine, our volunteer warden, went out to investigate the north side of the reserve in the afternoon. From goosander hide the sand martins are still busy flying in and out of the bank and there was a brief glimpse of a fox that emerged from the trees on the left. The afternoon brightened up bringing out the butterflies which included speckled wood, small white, gatekeeper, common blue, red admiral and meadow brown. There are Egyptian geese on Rockford Lake.
In other wildlife news from the last couple of weeks:
Whilst pulling ragwort around Mockbeggar Lake the volunteer team counted a staggering 31 grey herons!
There was another sighting of an osprey on 9th August from Goosander hide, probably a different individual migrating through.
There has been a possible first sighting of the great white egret on 13th August, a bit earlier than expected.