Monday, 17 October 2011

Ducks and Deer and Spots

Bird News: Ibsley Water - redwing 13 over west with 4 blackbirds, yellow-legged gull 1 adult, green sandpiper 1.
Mockbeggar Lake - great white egret 1, little egret 7.
The main task today was to do the wildfowl count for the month. The day started misty, which delayed me a bit, then the sun came out and conditions were excellent, until it started to rain and the wind picked up. Ibsley Water held the greatest number of birds, including 1027 coot, 104 gadwall and 202 wigeon. As well as the greatest numbers Ibsley water also usually has the greatest diversity of species. In the picture there are five, coot, mute swan, wigeon, teal and mallard.
It was not all birds though, on my way to count Mockbeggar Lake I came across a small group of fallow deer, including a very pale fawn young buck and an almost white adult buck, unfortunately I only got a picture of a typically coloured doe, just as it spotted me and dashed off.
I am sure I have noted before that Blashford is of special importance for the large population of gadwall that winter here, approximately 2% of the Western European population last winter. I did not see all that many today but a few of them were showing well in the early sunshine like the pair below doing their daily toilet outside the Tern hide.
The drake above and the duck below both displayed their white speculum, in the duck especially, this readily separates them from the many other similar ducks.
A particular feature of the sycamore trees this autumn has been many blackish spots on the turning leaves. It is something called tar spot fungus and attacks sycamores and maples, specifically it is Rhytisma acerinum.
If the predictions of rapidly deteriorating weather are correct we may not see too many insects this year, so a few red admiral, migrant hawker and common darter dragonflies were good to see. Usually I expect to see all of them into mid-November, but such things are never guaranteed.

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