Sunday, 29 August 2010

Early Ducks and Late Swifts

A good chance to look around today and for the first time in many weeks I actually visited all six hides on the same day. There was nothing startling to report but I did see a good range of birds.

Signs of autumn came in the form of wildfowl with over 20 shoveler and at least 4 wigeon. The huge gathering of hirundines over Ibsley Water, dominated by at least a thousand house martin with something like 400 sand martin as support attracted a hunting hobby or two, the gathering also included at least 2 late swifts. Other notable birds on Ibsley Water included at least 48 great crested grebe, 11 Egyptian geese and 6 common sandpiper. Following a shower in the late morning a common tern and four waders appeared, after sometime I managed to establish the waders were 2 ringed plover and 2 turnstone.

The scrubby willows and brambles near the Lapwing hide proved good for small migrants with 20 or so chiffchaff and a few willow warbler and in the reeds several reed warbler and a juvenile sedge warbler. The other small bird hotspot, as ever, was next to the Goosander hide where there were more "willowchiffs", 3 whitethroat and a couple of blackcap. Four grey wagtail on the shore in front of the hide were more than usual and all sporting the incredibly acid yellow under-tails that is all that they retain of the bright summer plumage in winter.

In early afternoon the osprey apparently flew over and caught a fish in Mockbeggar Lake before heading off with it to the west, giving brilliant views for a few as it flew over the main car park.

The sun finally came out and several red admiral were on the flowers around the Centre, where there was also a humming-bird hawk-moth, which was photographed by a visitor. The same flowers were also being visited by a very large queen hornet, which was hunting the butterflies and hoverflies.

As I went to lock up a calling water rail at the Ivy North hide was the first I have heard there since last spring and it was good to see the great crested grebe still sitting on the nest near the Ivy South hide. By the end of the day I had seen seventy-one species of birds on the reserve during the day, not at all bad and I know of certainly four more that were seen by others.

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