Sunday, 6 March 2011

Spring Clean and Flowers

The first Sunday of the month volunteer task have not always been blessed with quite such good weather as the Thursday group, but today was an exception. Sunny as on several recent days but thankfully with much less wind, so it felt much more pleasant. Still no sign of any migrants though, but the spring flowers are now starting to show really well. The wild daffodils are flowering very well, the large group at the woodland hide make a fine sight.
Close up the paler outer parts contrast with the deeper yellow trumpet, unlike many of the garden froms which are often all equally yellow. In recent year we have been removing the patches of garden daffodils from the woods, especially where they are near to patches of wild ones.
Today's task for with the volunteers was a rubbish clearance along the Dockens Water as part of the New Forest Spring Clean. We actually found much less rubbish than in previous years, either things are getting better or the big floods earlier in the winter have swept it all down stream. We took the chance to clear some of the many bits of old wire that plague this area, a legacy of years of gravel workings. When we were near the entrance to the reserve we flushed a woodcock, the second I have seen in three days.
In the afternoon I went for a walk around the reserve, something I have not done in quite a while. Until lunchtime my only sighting of note had been a male lesser spotted woodpecker in the top of an alder by the Centre as I was putting on my boots as I arrived first thing. I ate lunch in the Tern hide and had good views of 2 black-necked grebe, interestingly one was quite well into breeding plumage unlike any of the three I saw on Friday and so must be an extra bird. Otherwise 2 Egyptian geese that flew in were the only other out of the ordinary things.
Later I went to the Goosander and Lapwing hide, on the way I noticed the larch trees near the crossing to the hides were covered in flowers, the pollen was drifting off them in clouds, especially if I knocked a branch.
Near the Lapwing hide the colt's foot is coming into flower, much later than in some years, this is a plant which flowers first then comes into leaf.
Much of the wildlife today comes in the form of reports to me. A bittern was seen a good few times from Ivy North hide and a smew was also reported, I do not know which one though. At the Woodland hide a mealy redpoll was apparently seen in the late morning.
Late in the day I saw an adult Mediterranean gull and a single dunlin on Ibsley Water and there were two pairs of lapwing engaged in half-hearted displaying near the Tern hide. Lastly a second winter yellow-legged gull was with the gull roost this evening.

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