Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Eating Their Way Through the Reserve

Bird News: Ibsley Water - black-necked grebe 1, yellow-legged gull 2, swallow 5, house martin 1.
Despite the settled weather starting to break there was no real sign of any new migrants around, the few hirundines flying over being the nearest thing to movement. About 65 lapwing have taken to using the newly created islands near the western shore of Ibsley Water and in turn they attracted the attentions of a peregrine. A further raptor sighting came when an adult female sparrowhawk flew passed the Goosander hide, it then flushed and chased a young male that I had missed sitting on a fence post just north of the hide.
Beside the path to the Lapwing hide I found a group of shaggy ink cap, living up to their name being both shaggy and inky.
I went to check on the ponies, I think they have more or less done the grazing I had hoped for so I reckon they can go home soon, or more likely back onto the New Forest.
We do not have many ponies to graze the reserve, although they are far from the only grazers, there are lots of rabbits. Rabbits have so modified the countryside that it is hard to imagine what it must have been like before they were introduced and went wild. There would also have been almost no deer in the open countryside then either.
I have seen it claimed that the grazers that consume most vegetation are invertebrates. Many of these are also not natives, recently we have found the alien snail Hygromia cinctella on the reserve, this species apparently came in via the plant trade, first establishing in Devon.

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