I was working way up at the top of the reserve today so had to go up the path between Mockbeggar Lake and Ibsley Water, passed the "Worrying willows", which don't look so worrying now. Their leaves all went brown and crispy about six weeks or so ago, to me they looked to have been mined by a leaf-mining insect, probably the larva of a small moth, although I could not find any. The leaves mostly fell off leaving the trees looking like winter, but now new leaves are growing. This is just the same response that oak trees will make to being defoliated by winter moths, they produces a summer crop of leaves and I reckon this supports my theory, rather than any disease alternative. The picture shows a few of the old crisped up leaves with the smaller new growth.
Also on my way north I also spotted a small group of very fine parasol mushroom, growing in a very dark spot under some trees, so even on a day as bright as today I had to use flash to get a picture.The objective of my trek was the north shore of Mockbeggar Lake, I was going to cut the ragwort, not ideal but the amount of it makes pulling it up impractical and cutting is fine so long as the ponies are not allowed to graze there afterwards, in truth this year here is so little grass that they would have trouble in there in any case. Before I started I took a shot of the size of the problem! Sadly this is not the last of it, but it was the worst.
I was also briefly at Blashford Lake this afternoon and saw a few of the young common tern there, they are all over the reserve now, another group are using the small shingle spit in front of the Lapwing hide and there are still several on Ivy Lake. I got an incomplete count of the moulting greylag on Ibsley Water, there were at least 264 and 7 Egyptian geese.