Friday, 17 September 2010

Death, Damage and a Sparrow

A very fine day and a great one to be out and about in, luckily I was doing a count today so I got to have a really good look around in the process. Despite this it was a day punctuated by a death, in the shape of a very fresh and seemingly unmarked polecat picked up at the entrance to the sailing club at Blashford Lake. Close inspection suggests it probably was a genuine polecat rather than a ferret, although you can never be 100% certain, the markings and colour were right and the size also looked good. This is this first record for the reserve area, although I have seen corpses from just to the north and just south of Ringwood.
The bird count went well, this was the first of the season and the intention is to count all the wildfowl and other waterbirds on all the lakes. On the whole numbers are still low although 431 greylag was a very high number on Ibsley Water as was a count of 189 cormorant at the end of the day. With the greylag was a single bar-headed goose and 4 Egyptian geese, these last were on Rockford Lake earlier in the morning and I got a shot of one with wings open showing the white fore-wings.
On Ivy Lake the great white egret was showing well for much of the first half of the day, I got a picture of it with a little egret, not a good shot but a nice size comparison.
Other birds today included a first winter Mediterranean gull on Rockford Lake, at least one yellow wagtail, possibly mixed up with a general drift of moving meadow pipits, today was the first day I have noted groups of pipits going over. A sure sign of autumn when the hirundines start to be replaced with pipits, that said there were still hundreds of house martins early on and some sand martin, with a steady movement of swallows as well. However for all these birds the title of "Bird of the day" went, without doubt, to a house sparrow outside the Tern hide, the first I have ever seen in the main part of the reserve.
There are still good numbers of fungi around and I found an almost un-nibbled fly agaric near Snails Lake. Nearby there was an egg-laying holly blue butterfly, it is getting quite late for this species to still be flying.
All in all a good day, or nearly, sadly right at the end I discovered the donations box in the main car park had been levered open, damaged and any donations taken.


  1. hiya,
    thanks for my fab day out at blashford lake, having a tramper really made my day. Ive got a cool photo, how shall i get it to you guys?

  2. I am always happy to receive pictures especially if people are Ok with us using them at the reserve and on the website. They can be sent to,