Thursday, 17 March 2011

Greenwater Rafting

Volunteer Thursday and for once the weather was at best alright, at least at first, fortunately the wind was light, important as the task was to tow out and moor some of the vegetated rafts. The next eight were planted up with a mix of plants gathered from the edge of the lake.
I tried to find a range of locations to moor them, some sheltered and near the shore, some well out and exposed. I want to see how they stand up to the conditions and how the different plants cope in the different locations. I'm not quite sure what I was doing in the picture, but it must have been very considered and important to the task in hand, despite appearances to the contrary.
The young drake smew was on Ivy Lake, up near the Ivy North hide, so well away from our rafting antics. More surprisingly, as I was towing a raft across the lake I saw the great grey shrike flying over the water and landing in a tree on the south shore. I had assumed we had seen the last of it now that the lizards are out and about on the heaths.

By the time we had finished the sun was out and the afternoon was as good as any so far. I have seen a couple of species of solitary bees on the sandy banks by the Dockens Water and had a quick look out on the lichen heath to see if there were any there. I found none, but there were several tiny plants of common whitlowgrass in flower. There were a few honey-bees visiting the gorse flowers the strong scent of coconut from which could be detected at some distance.
The warm sun was also responsible for coaxing out my first grass snake of the year. Otherwise there was rather little to report, 45 or so sand martin over Ibsley Water and several singing chiffchaff were the only migrants, despite a bit of a search there was still no sign of a little ringed plover.

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