Monday, 7 February 2011

Centre for Birds

After a grey start the day turned out fine and sunny and quite bird filled. There were reports of 2 bittern and the great white egret was seen, although not as well or frequently as yesterday. The area around the Education Centre was particularly blessed, with a report of 3 waxwing flying over and all the usual birds at the feeders. A flock of long-tailed tit passed through and were typically hard to get a picture of, my best effort is below, presumably one of the birds ringed on the reserve recently.

However the highlight of the day was the great grey shrike that spent several minutes in the tops of trees just east of the Centre, although a bit distant, as I did not want to flush it, I am quite pleased with the picture I got of it.

Other reports today included 10 white-fronted geese flying over with a few greylag, although where they went is obscure as they were not on Ibsley Water as expected. A smew was again on Rockford Lake an adult Caspian gull was seen on Ibsley Water in the afternoon, although it was not obvious at the end of the day.

Although not rare the number of shoveler feeding near the Ivy South hide is impressive and they are giving a great opportunity to see them feeding cooperatively. Usually in pairs they feed by circling so that each is feeding in the water disturbed by the paddling feet of the other.

I put up a number of tit nesting boxes today, all near the dormouse boxes we put up earlier, the idea being to try and reduce the number of dormouse boxes that get nesting blue tit in instead. When in the area cleared of rhododendron this winter I came across a patch of snowdrops, now well in flower. These snowdrops may well have been planted during WW2, when several patches around the airfield, that used to occupy the space where Ibsley water is now, were tended as small gardens by off-duty RAF men.

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