Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Never Give Up

A brilliant sunny day, although with quite a frost early on, so it was a good day to be doing a waterfowl count. I started at the Lapwing hide at about 07:50. On the way up to the hide a Cetti's warbler was singing in the reeds and there were several chiffchaff in a mixed flock of blue, great and long-tailed tit with a few reed buntings. Numbers of ducks on Ibsley Water are rather few this year, I think due to poor weed growth, only 183 shoveler were really notable. The 2 goldeneye, 118 tufted duck and 45 pochard suggest that conditions for diving duck are perhaps better than usual, possibly because of the poorer weed growth. In addition 52 little grebe was a good count, especially since it is never possible to count them all, I suspect there are well over sixty in reality. Two green sandpiper were the only waders apart from a few lapwing.

After counting Ibsley Water I opened up the Centre and checked the moth trap. Cold nights are never good for moths but 15 "November" moth and 2 green-brindled crescent were good. The picture shows a very smart green brindled crescent, an impressive moth and one of the typical species of late autumn.
Back out on the count, Ivy Lake was next, no sign of any mandarin today but there were a good number of teal (106). Most were asleep and as I looked at them one caught my eye as not quite right, flanks a bit too plain and just a hint of stronger head markings, a garganey. This was a real bonus as I had given up on seeing one at Blashford this year. The bird in question is the one asleep in the middle of the shot below.
It was also good to see the great crested grebe family still growing well, all three chicks are almost as large as their parents now and getting some real feathers. This is probably why they all seemed to be preening for most of the time I was watching.
From the same spot at the screen on the Rockford path I also got a shot of a grey heron warming itself in the sunshine.
I have not yet worked out the totals for all the species, but it looks as though coot numbers are somewhat down on last year, but this is what I would expect with the lack of weed in Ibsley Water.
Other birds of note were a fly-over lesser redpoll and the great white egret, which was on Mockbeggar Lake in the morning and had moved to Ibsley Water by the end of the day. It had not been around for a few days, I understand it had gone off to Dorset, but if so the attractions of Blashford were obviously too strong to resist.
There were still quite a few red admiral flying today as well as several migrant hawker, although a few more frosts may do for them over the next few days.

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