It has been fairly busy with a regular flow of visitors to and from the reserve today - but not as busy as I suspect tomorrow will be!
At last the fog has lifted and although the ice is slowly thawing (Ellingham Lake is completely ice free again) the majority of open water on the reserve and surrounding lakes remains frozen so with less to see most people are stopping off for an hour or two and moving on rather than staying all day or half a day as is frequently the case. Ivy, Ibsley and Rockford Lakes have all got significantly more water and a corresponding increase in birds. There is even open water off the "spit" to the right of Tern Hide now giving good views of goldeneye this afternoon. At least the footpaths and car parks are no longer the skating rinks that they have been, although with another drop in temperature forecast for tomorrow that of course could all change again.!
Writing this at 4pm, as far as I am aware there has been nothing of note observed today, but there were reports of two red head smew on Ibsley Water from Lapwing Hide yesterday and also of a long eared owl from the same hide on Boxing Day by one of our neighbours and regular visitors - a sighting which Bob will be very pleased to add to the reserve list and the BTO Challenge list as well.
The bittern has not been reported since Wednesday, the female bearded tit yesterday. Water rail are showing relatively frequently from Ivy North Hide and the Woodland Hide has still got good numbers of finches, particularly brambling and siskin, but some redpoll as well.
It will be busy tomorrow so if you are planning on coming to the reserve if you can walk or use the bus please do and if you are coming by car please be patient and park in designated car parking places only.
Bob will be in tomorrow so you can probably expect a far more comprehensive Blog entry imminently, but in the mean time a "Happy New Year" from me...!