Wednesday, 22 September 2010

A Dewy Start and Late Arrivals

A cool, dewy autumn morning, the damp allows the slugs to get out and about in numbers, most are the large brown form of Arion ater a slug of very variable appearance and one of the commonest species. In very open habitats and in uplands they are usually black, in more sheltered habitats brown or reddish, in very sheltered yellow or even pale cream. The one in the picture is typical of the Blashford specimens and was by the path near the Ivy North hide as I opened up.
The dew also picks out the cobwebs and the many different types of web can easily be seen. The gorse bushes were covered with flat fine webs and between more open twigs there were lots of orb webs of the classic type with a radial design.
My first look round the hides turned up nothing of note, a calling water rail by the Ivy north being perhaps the most notable. The lack of hirundines was noticeable, the first morning I have seen none as I opened up since the early spring. The few people about reported very little for most of the day, a colour-ringed peregrine beside Ibsley Water and a couple of common sandpiper being the best. Then a visitor at the Centre pointed out there were 2 spotted flycatcher in the large oak next to the car park, always nice birds to see.
Whilst having lunch I at first thought there was a ruddy darter beside the pond, but the picture shows it to just be a very bright common darter, although it was a rather small one.
When I closed up the Tern hide I was not expecting much, the great white egret had been reported from Mockbeggar Lake, but nothing of note had really been seen on Ibsley Water. However when I looked out I saw a tern, an adult common tern, the first for a while, then I noticed more until there were twenty. They were a mix of adults and juveniles and were flying about, often quite high and calling a lot. I would guess they were a group of migrants, possibly pushed south by the approaching weather. I then saw a dunlin and as I followed that a redshank. Although not rare birds these would all seem to be migrants on the move that had arrived during the afternoon. With rain promised overnight there could be more in the morning.

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