Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Lesser Spotted at Last

Looking north from the Tern hide first thing, it was grey and cold in the brisk north east wind. The water pipit was once again near the hide briefly, before flying off eastwards. There were also a couple of drake goldeneye, diving near the hide, despite poor light I did get one lucky shot when one was briefly on the surface.
I spent a while during the morning clearing vegetation from the shore to the west of the Tern hide to make it more attractive to nesting lapwing. At that time it was still cloudy, but as I finished the sun came out and, although still with a cold wind it became very pleasant. In fact nice enough to have lunch outside at the tables behind the Centre. Despite the sun I did not see any nectaring insects today, although the lungwort flowers in the garden are now well out and are popular with bees and butterflies.
The lungwort is a garden plant, although there is a native species that is found in Hampshire. There are native plants in the garden as well and the most obvious at present is the primrose.
As we ate lunch the lesser spotted woodpecker flew in and started feeding on the trunk of a nearby alder tree. It was a male and no doubt the same that has been around for a few weeks now, presumably it has been checking out the area for potential nesting, let's hope it finds a mate. I was especially pleased as I had failed to see it until today. We also had a fly past by 4 raven, possibly part of the group of seven which had flown over earlier in the morning.
During the afternoon I spent a couple of hours toppling willows, mimicking wind-throw. The trees should remain alive and produce a low dense thicket rather than the tall leggy stemmed trees they had become. This technique produces a very thick tangle of branches and is only of use in areas where there is unlikely to be a need to enter. It retains all of the biomass and is obviously a lot quicker than coppicing. Elsewhere when we have done this on the reserve it has proved good for nesting warblers and thrushes.
I did not hear of many other sightings today, I did see the 2 smew on Ivy Lake, but do not know if the bittern or black-necked grebe were seen today. The Woodland hide had large numbers of brambling and good numbers of lesser redpoll and siskin at the feeders, there were also a couple of reed bunting there.

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