Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Swan Tales and Lots of Water

The rain which started just after dusk last night and lasted until dawn had a dramatic effect upon the Dockens Water, it had flooded right through the woodland and via the silt pond into Ivy Lake. The Dockens is prone to spate floods, which rise fast and fall almost equally quickly and so it was today, by mid afternoon levels had dropped by about 75cm. The picture show the Dockens near the bridge beyond the Ivy South hide.
And the area that floods through the woodland near the Ivy South hide and is the reason we have to use a boardwalk to get the path across this area.
In fact the day was fine and often sunny, it was also a good day for wildlife. When I opened the Tern hide there were still 9 Bewick's swan on Ibsley Water, four pairs of adults and one juvenile. They usually fly out of the roost just after dawn, but these stayed on the lake calling and bathing until 08:15, remarkably late. When they did fly off they headed north, not as I thought to drop into the wet meadows at Ibsley Bridge, but much further, in fact they carried on north until out of sight and they were still gainign height.
When I went to the Ivy North hide I immediately saw a bittern fishing just to the left of the hide, a good start to anyone's day. Later two were reported from there, so they are still there despite none being seen on Sunday.
The feeders are really attracting good numbers of finches now, with lesser redpoll, siskin and brambling. The first ringing session of the winter resulted in several siskin but only one redpoll and no brambling being caught.
At lunchtime the 10 white-fronted goose flew into Ibsley Water, I think the group is six adults and four juveniles. The avocet was again reported, although it was hiding when I looked, but there were 2 dunlin, the first of the year. The redhead smew was seen again on Rockford Lake, I think the same young drake as I saw last week.
At the end of the day the two mute swan cygnets were just outside the Ivy South hide. These are two of the three cygnets raised by the resident pair. When the lake froze the adults remained with one of their off-spring, the other two went to Ellingham Lake. Eventually even the adults and cygnet had to move, but all three came back as soon as the thaw set in. A second cygnet returned after a few days, at first the parents drove if away, although not right off the lake as they do with complete outsiders. After a couple of days the two cygnets got together and finally it seemed completely reintegrated into the family, what became of the last cygnet remains a mystery.

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