Tuesday, 21 June 2011

A Varied Existence

It was might be termed a varied day today. After opening up the hides I went down to the southern end of Ivy lake to meet a group from Ringwood School who had come to help clearing Himalayan balsam from the ditch south of the lake, they did a great job and pulled up great mounds of it. They also took it in turns to do a bit of bird watching and we had great views of the nesting common terns on the rafts.
After dealing with a few odd jobs in the morning we were having lunch, and incidentally admiring the ruby-tailed wasp below, when I got a phone call.
The call was about a Canada goose that had become stuck in a garden in Ellingham, could we come and catch it and get it to a lake. So round we went and there it was, one flightless Canada goose. It had apparently landed with two others which had now flown off again, but as they are moulting now this one had lost too many wing feathers to fly off and so was trapped. We caught it quite easily and took it to Ibsley Water where it joined lots of others. The geese come to the lakes to moult as they become completely flightless for a short time and use the water as a refuge.
After this excursion we set off the check the dormouse boxes that were put up in the winter, would there be any dormice? Well no, as it turned out, but of twenty-five boxes, ten had been used by blue or great tits for nesting, three had nests partly built, one had been used by birds as a roost and all the others bar one had swarms of earwigs and woodlice. The last one, and it was number 25, had a bumble-bee nest in it. We also found a wasp nest in one of the bird boxes and the box pictured which had really seen some action. It had a small wasp nest started on the roof, but then abandoned, it had then been used by tits to nest in and had been attacked by woodpeckers which had made two small holes, low down on the front. It was now occupied by a single slug, in the picture it is on the roof next to the wasp nest.
Then it was off with the boat to ring some more black-headed gull chicks, unfortunately we had missed a lot when we failed to get out last week due to a puncture on the trailer, so many had already flown. We found and ringed another 38 and also caught a well grown oystercatcher chick as well. Oystercatchers can live well into their thirties, an amazing thing for a not very large bird. The oystercatchers have obviously had another good season as on my way back to the Centre with the boat I saw the second pair with their two young and I suspect they could probably fly now if they really needed to.

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