Friday, 11 March 2011

Chiffchaffs

I started with a count of Ibsley Water this morning, in truth there were not a great number of birds now that most of the ducks have left, but I did see 3 black-necked grebe. The shores of the lake seem to have more and more pied wagtail every day now, almost all males, some now looking very smart in fresh breeding plumage. I got a picture, but of one that was still in the process of moulting and so looked rather scruffy.
As usual there were a large number of cormorant on the islands. They actually rather rarely fish in the lakes, mostly using the area as a roosting place during the day, at night they roost in trees. There was one fishing bird near the Tern hide and it caught a large eel, a favourite prey and one I see them catch fairly often. This eel was so large that it took many attempts to swallow it, in the past I have seen them catch ones so large that they have had to abandon them. Eels have become much rarer in recent years, so it is perhaps a shame they are favoured as food by cormorants. On the other hand the fact that they seem to quite regularly catch such large ones suggests that the lake is good habitat for eels, which is positive.
Despite counting all the lakes I did not see much of note. The bittern was at the Ivy North hide again but the smew seems to have gone, or been hiding. I did come across at least 3 chiffchaff singing, clearly newly arrived migrants. On the migrant theme, there were 10 or so sand martin and I am certain I heard a little ringed plover from the Tern hide at the end of the day, but for the life of me I could not see it. The only bird reported to me was the female lesser spotted woodpecker in the alders near the Centre in the morning.
Tipped off by Michelle I went to look at some solitary bees she had found making nests in the sandy bank of the Dockens Water. They seem to be Adrena haemorrhoa which according to the book I have is one of the earliest spring species.

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