Sunday, 16 October 2011

Christmas is coming.

Bird News: Ibsley Water - dunlin 1, goosander 3+, great white egret (reported a couple of times), yellow-legged gull 3+ adults, pintail 1, common gull 4.
Ivy Lake - Cetti's warbler 1 singing, water rail 2 calling.
Centre - redwing 1 over with 5 mistle thrush.
Autumn rushes on, I failed to find any swallows or martins today and it was only after lunch that I came across the only chiffchaff of the day. I did see the my first redwing of the season though, a harbinger of winter birds to come. Walking along the Dockens Water path I found the holly trees loaded with berries, I wonder how many will survive until Christmas once the thrushes get here in numbers.
The overnight temperature dipped to 6 degrees so I was pleasantly surprised to find at least a few moths in the trap, they included 2 red-line Quaker and the green-brindled crescent below.
Admittedly other moths were restricted to a couple of large wainscot and this yellow-lined Quaker.
The sunshine was pretty warm at times and brought out a few migrant hawker and common darter dragonflies. There were a few sun bathing hoverflies including this Eristalis tenax, or at least I'm pretty sure it is, although the front feet are in shadow so I cannot see what colour they are. This is one of the species that hibernates as an adult fly.
I have not worked on a Sunday for a while except when I have been working with the volunteers. So once I had got the classroom set up for the course that was running and polished off a bit of paperwork I decided to take the chance to look round the reserve and reached some of the part s I have not been to for several weeks. This included the Lapwing hide where I saw the 2 goosander below. A visitor there at the time was surprised when I said I have not been in the hide since late September, like many I suppose, he had assumed I visited all the hides every day. In truth a site warden does not get much time to look around the site, other than incidentally when doing some task or other. This can be quite a problem at times as it is the time taken to look at how the site works and what wildlife is doing that leads to the biggest improvements in management.
At the Goosander hide it was good to see a heron preening on the perching rails we put up last week. They look a bit odd, but do provide something to focus interest near er to the hide when the sand martins are away.
At Ellingham Pound I came across a fine reedmace stem, with the seed head exploded but still attached.
Further wandering brought me to the path between Rockford and Ivy lakes where I found the only 2 Egyptian geese I saw all day, after being around for mush of the latter part of the summer most of them seem to have absented themselves recently.
One or two other notes from the day included a mole beside the pond at the Education Centre, at times it was coming out on top of the gravel and even allowed some to get pictures of it. On Ibsley Water for the last week or so there has been a very pale adult cormorant, clearly it has a pigment abnormality. There has only been one breeding record of cormorant on the lake and the single juvenile was an abnormally pale one, this could very well be that bird returned.
Lastly I stayed a little longer to look at the gulls this evening, although I did not see the almost 10,000 counted the other morning, there were over 3000 by the time I had to leave. These included at least 3 yellow-legged gull, a few lesser black-backed gull of the Scandinavian intermedius type and one very dark, thin one with long wings. It was yet another that approximates to Baltic gull. They only seem to turn up at this time of year and are small, with rather steep foreheads, small, white heads and very long wings. Instead of being mid-grey their "backs" are almost black and the wings as well as being long, show no white tips to the feathers, this is because they have not yet moulted their primaries, which all the others have by now. Unfortunately, although these birds are quiet distinctive, the "experts" cannot agree on their identity, so they remain anonymous.

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