I have not been at Blashford for a few days and I have spent some of this time going over the wildlife records and especially the bird records for the BTO Challenge. At the end of the third quarter we were lying second in our category. The categories are according to site size, thankfully we are not in the same section as the unbeatable Rutland Water. We have advantages though, the habitats on the reserve are varied and we lie close to the Avon valley and New Forest.
At the start I guessed that about 160 species would be a winning total, quite a tall order but probably achievable. I don't know where we are just now, but we might have made up some species on our rivals as the last quarter has been pretty good. Species added for the year have been: goshawk, waxwing, great grey shrike, jack snipe, hawfinch, avocet, Iceland gull, brent goose, water pipit, black redstart, red-breasted merganser, scaup, garganey, ruff, red-legged partridge, curlew sandpiper, stonechat and mandarin a good mix of species. I am still trying to track down reports of a few species that either have or have been suggested as being recorded earlier in the year, these are ring-billed gull, firecrest and common (or mealy) redpoll.
I have also been unable to find any record of a few species that I would usually have expected to have been recorded at some point, these include knot and golden plover. Slightly longer shots, but still species that are recorded from time to time include wood warbler, grasshopper warbler, rock pipit and sandwich tern.
Overall it has been a good year and I think it will prove to be the best year yet for the total number of bird species recorded. If anyone can add any species or shed any light on any of those so far uncertain I would be delighted to hear.
On a related note, I am hoping to add some species lists for the reserve as links. These will include birds, butterflies and dragon and damselflies. Each list will include notes on status and where they might be seen. In time I will add others, with moths perhaps the next most likely in the short(ish) term.