Thursday, 21 April 2011

Avocets and Little Terns

That would be the main bird news from the last couple of days - 5 avocets were reported on Ibsley water on Thursday and 2 little terns stopped off briefly with the common terns on the same lake this morning.

Other than that the unseasonably warm weather has resulted in a mass emergence of large red damselflies - you can tell they are only recently emerged as they are "teneral"; yet to be coloured up and with milky rather than transparent wings. Others that have been on the wing for longer were observed in tandem, mating and laying eggs in the Centre pond this morning.

The warm weather is great for spotting basking grass snakes, though not as yet outside Ivy South Hide as far as I am aware. Amphibians are obviously finding it a little more uncomfortable and leaving the drier woodland areas for wetland habitats - yesterday I spotted a common toad in the centre pond during a school pre-visit meeting with teachers and a frog in the river during "Playdays".

As always the kids had a whale of a time in the pond and river yesterday, both having fun and learning about our wildlife at the same time - it's always amazing just how much diversity of life there is in the pond:

Newts were again much in evidence in the catch, though unusually palmate newt featured more than the smooth newts that are caught more frequently, examples pictured here (palmate followed by smooth newt):

More and more bluebells are flowering in the woodland and will probably be at their best in about a fortnight when they will be all but over on the chalk - I really haven't a clue why it should be so, unless it is do with the different soils warming up at different rates but the Forest bluebells always lag behind their cousins on the Downs.

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