Sunday, 6 February 2011

Green Footwear

The great white egret was feeding in front of the Ivy North hide first thing and remained there or thereabouts all day, giving good views for lots of visitors as they waited to see a bittern.

However the main event during the morning was a volunteer task, perhaps not the most obviously conservation task, but an important one none the less, we cleared up the storage yard and got rid of the rubbish into the skip. Along the way a trailer load of nest boxes were readied to go up and various unexpected items came to light. Way out in front in the unexpected category were the "Mossy shoes" quite how a pair of shoes had come to be in the back of the yard behind the timber stack was not clear. Having got abandoned there they were well on the way to becoming a part of the environment and had grown a generous covering of moss, seemingly of at least two species.
In the afternoon I had a look from the Woodland hide, I rarely get there during the mid part of the day and so don't often see the finches. The brambling were excellent, with perhaps up to fifty on and under the feeders, some of the males are starting to look very fine indeed. There were also the usual lesser redpoll, siskin, great spotted woodpecker and other regulars.

When I went to lock up the Ivy North hide the great white egret was still fishing in the channel left of the hide and I saw it catch two roach/rudd in a few minutes. In addition a bittern was preening in full view at the end of the middle channel, it was the bird with very black crown and hind neck. It seems at least one other was also seen today, so we still have two birds present.

At the end of the day from the Tern hide an adult Mediterranean gull was with something like 2400 black-headed gull and at least 41 common gull, however the large gull numbers have really slipped, I saw only about 110 lesser black-backed gull and a very few herring gull. A water pipit dropped in briefly on the shore below the hide before flying off north, probably the same bird that has been seen on and off all winter. To the north over Ibsley village a flock of something like 2500 starling was wheeling about before going to roost, not quite up to Somerset Levels standards, but a great sight all the same. As it got dark a displaying group of goldeneye included nine drakes and 13 redheads, although I expect there were others in the sheltered bay by the Goosander hide.

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