Wednesday, 31 August 2011
Tuesday, 30 August 2011
Monday, 29 August 2011
Sunday, 28 August 2011
Tuesday, 23 August 2011
Today was a rather more soggy adventure. We spent the morning looking for animal droppings and found some belonging to fox, badger, rabbit and roe deer. The children then had a go at making some edible poo!
In the afternoon we went down to the river, sailing boats made from rubbish. We then went river dipping and caught bullhead, lots of stonefly nymph and shrimps and 2 beautiful demoiselle nymphs.
It is the first time I had walked down the river since it was in spate last week and I was amazed by how much gravel and the size of the logs which had been deposited on the banks of the river.
Sunday, 21 August 2011
Saturday, 20 August 2011
We had six moth light running at various points around the reserve and on trees beside the paths we put out "Moth gloop" the sugar mixture that some species will come to feed at. There was much doubt about the gloop in some quarters, but more of that later. We first emptied Thursday night's catch ands so stared with sixteen species and the red underwing, thirty-three to go. One of the more attractive species to arrive quite early in the evening was the brown china mark, the larvae of which feed on water plants in ponds.
not the most colourful species but quite attractive for all that.
After Thursday's rain Friday dawned bright and the Dockens Water was right down to the level of a benign stream again. I decided to go out and clear the path beside Rockford Lake and just to prove it here are the before and after pictures. I also took down the height of the brambles to improve the view of the lake.
Thursday, 18 August 2011
Tuesday, 16 August 2011
Monday, 15 August 2011
Saturday, 13 August 2011
Friday, 12 August 2011
There were lots of responsible dog walkers using the site, many of whom enjoyed finding out a little bit more about the wildlife they walk past every day. Hopefully the less responsible dog walkers using the site will have also read our interpretation and learnt how dog mess in the countryside is not just unpleasant for children to play in and people to walk through, but how it also increases the soil nutrients and can affect the diversity of wildflowers. We (okay, mostly Michelle!) picked up bag after bag of the stuff today and disappointingly even had to pick up more part way through the day, despite there being a very obvious nature trail that people were following.
Aside from that rather unpleasant aspect to the day, we all enjoyed it and particularly watching a water stick insect shedding it's skin - in the photograph below you can see the bright yellow newly emerged insect with the discarded skin to the right:
Nothing stood out while opening up this morning. We had a good day at Sweatford Water Meadow in Fordingbridge - a lovely green oasis in the heart of the town where we had a wildlife discovery event aimed at highlighting the work of the Trust and drawing local peoples attention to the wealth of wildlife to be enjoyed on their doorstep that is generally overlooked as people walk their dog or cut through on the way to and from the town. Highlights included wasp spiders, Roesel's bush crickets and some rather lovely mint leaf beetles.
Today we will be in Ringwood running a simmilar event, this time at Poulner Lakes, so we'll see what turns up today!
Thursday, 11 August 2011
Been a bit too busy with children's activities and event planning and preparation to blog of late, so, without pretty pictures, here is a quick catch up of the weeks events so far:
I haven't seen a lot - exploring with 24 5-7 year olds does not lend itself to close encounters with wildlife, but opening up over the last few days highlights have been: a pair of goldfinch feeding on thistle seeds immediately (within touching distance!) outside Ivy South Hide, the roe buck on the foreshore of Ibsley Water and a peregrine cruising along the eastern shore of Ibsley Water. I expected to see black tern today, the weather being inclement, but sadly did not. I would not be in the least bit surprised if there were several seen over the next couple of days though - I keep forgetting to mention it here in the blog, but I did see one last Friday over Ibsley Water, where one was also seen on Monday and there were also reports of a black tern over Rockford Lake at the weekend.
Other reports from visitors include a swimming heron snaffling up tufted ducklings on Ivy Lake, the mallard drake wolfing down sand martins at Goosander Hide and (relatively!) frequent sightings of kingfishers from both Ivy South and Ivy North Hide.
Monday, 8 August 2011
We managed to get smooth newt (adult and eft), toad and frog, but reptiles avoided us (can't have been anything to do with the noise surely?!). I did see a nice sized grass snake in the compost bin before the children arrived though.
Elsewhere on the reserve there were reports of greenshank, green and common sandpiper and the great white egret (on Ibsley Silt Pond first thing and Ibsley Water later on in the day). A hobby was spotted harassing sand martins at Goosander Hide and there is still a reed warbler skulking (sometimes singing) in the vegetation around the centre dipping pond.
Thursday, 4 August 2011
It was very wet - 24mm over the last 2 hours, which is by no means a record, but more rain than we've had in one go for a little while and in stark contrast to the previous few days. I was soaked by the time I'd opened up - and was not surprised when it did not appear that any volunteers were going to arrive.
Hats off then to Tony and Jackie who did turn up and show willing! Tony gave up after a cup of tea and went back home to do some chores when no one else showed, but Jackie stayed on to clean three of the hides and was rewarded with a nature reserve pretty much all to herself and fantastic views of a kingfisher. The last bit of ragwort on the Ibsley Water peninsula remains.
Today should have been a family river dipping event but the high rainfall scuppered these plans too - numbers dropped from 26 to 5 people and with the river in spate, despite the rain having stopped a couple of hours earlier, we pond dipped instead.
A few more brave souls did venture out this afternoon when the rain had stopped and I had reports of the black necked grebe still on the western shore of Ibsley Water. I saw water rail again from Ivy North Hide today and although I have not seen the chick that Bob saw I think I have seen a water rail at least once every day this week - always around, at one end or the other, of the cleared cutting through the reed bed.
Playdays again tomorrow, so the centre car parking will once more be reserved for disabled visitors, or parents picking up/dropping off their children.
Wednesday, 3 August 2011
First recorded in the UK in 1922 and once a rare migrant species of spider restricted to the south coast which they "parachuted" into from across the channel, in recent years wasp spiders have established themselves as a breeding species and are slowly but surely establishing themselves further and further north. This is the striking female - the male is a third of her size, pale brown and vulnerable to being eaten by the female when seeking to mate with her! They are a grassland specialist where they spin a web low down in the vegetation to trap their grasshopper and cricket prey as the insects hop among the flower and grass stems.