Tuesday, 16 November 2010

A Fallen Giant

Cold and frosty with added ingredient of fog this morning. As I drove across the New Forest there were flocks of woodpigeon flying west, the first was over a thousand strong , others in the hundreds. It was interesting that they were all more or less following high ground, some birds follow valleys, but perhaps pigeons prefer the heights. I know there were very large movements at the coast today, although mostly only very early.

At Blashford all the padlocks were frozen and I had to warm them up before they would open. The fog meant that I could see only 2 mallard from the Tern hide. Not much more from the others either, although I had good views of a water rail at the Ivy North and there was a calling Cetti's warbler there as well. Another Cetti's this time singing was at the Ivy silt pond, later I had yet another calling on the northern shore of Mockbeggar Lake.

The day brightened up and I blew the leaves from the paths, including the Rockford path, which gave me the chance to see if the long-tailed duck was still there, it was and in almost the same place as yesterday.

We have had mice in the loft recently and this morning there was one in the trap, a live trap I should add, when released, I realised it was a yellow-necked mouse. It had been very noisy up there and I have noticed that yellow-necks tend to be noisier than wood mice.

After lunch a visitor came into the Centre to report a fallen tree, I went to look and saw it was the massive fissured oak along the Ellingham path. I had been along there at the weekend but not since so I am not sure when it fell. It is often assumed that we walk all the paths everyday, sadly not the case, in fact I often don't get to the Lapwing hide every week. Jim and I went and cleared what we could, at least enough to allow people to walk past safely. Although the wood was not at all rotten the roots on one side of the tree had rotted right through. The top had several dead branches, but that it far from unusual in an old oak, they often just wear away as they get old, so it was quite a surprise that it had fallen.

At the end of the day the adult Caspian gull was with the roost on Ibsley Water, but all the gulls were outside up near the Lapwing hide so I could not see it from the Tern hide.

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