Friday, 4 March 2011

Three Gulls, Three Grebes and a Peacock

A sunny, cold start, I had hoped the wind had died down as it was almost calm at dawn, however the wind still blew strongly over Ibsley water as I opened up. The coot below was feeding outside the Tern hide, it was facing downwind blowing the feathers up, which must have been cold.
The dipping pond at the Centre was iced over as were areas of Ivy Lake outside the Ivy North hide. On the silt pond near the Ivy South hide a pair of tufted duck were looking fine in the sunshine, the drake had a very fine "tuft" and was really living up to the name. Whilst watching them I heard a calling lesser spotted woodpecker, the third day in a row I have recorded this species, in fact I heard all three woodpecker species in the space of a couple of minutes.
After my failure at getting a picture of brambling yesterday, I tried with chaffinch today, slightly better, but it still kept turning towards me so the eye was in shadow.
Having at last got confirmation of the route of the seasonal path I went over to Mockbeggar Lake to trim some of the regrowth from last year's cut through. The edges of the lake have small areas of shallows and these attract a few snipe, I incidentally flushed about ten as I worked. I also flushed a single woodcock, the first I have seen for some time. I also saw my first butterfly of the year, a peacock and found a large mass of common frog spawn and saw a common toad. I plan to start clearing some of the trees in the shallower areas to promote the reeds and other emergent plants, hopefully next winter we will make a significant difference.
At lunchtime I had a quick look at the Dockens Water near the Centre, in a backwater I came across a mass of fish fry, I don't know what species, but there were lots of them.
In the afternoon I was sorting out materials for completing the sand martin bank refurbishment. I took the chance to take a look from the Goosander hide and finally confirmed my suspicion that there are at least 3 black-necked grebe. I gone one poor picture, the bird looked away, again! This did give the opportunity to see how closely the white sides to the upper-neck, lower cheeks area nearly meet at the back. On a Slavonian grebe the effect is similar but they nearly meet much higher up, more at the nape than on the hind-neck.
During the day a bittern was reported seen from the Ivy North hide as were the 2 smew, surely these birds must be due to leave soon, neither species often stay beyond February, perhaps they are waiting for the wind to change to a more favourable direction.
At the very end of the day a quick look from the Tern hide produced three adult Mediterranean gull with the black-headed gulls. They were two in full breeding plumage with fine black hoods and one still in complete winter plumage.

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