Saturday, 29 October 2011

Normal service will resume shortly...

i.e. Bob returns from holiday tomorrow and the high quality images and thoughtful prose that you have all come to expect from this blog will resume!

It has been an exceptionally busy week for Michelle and I this half-term holiday, with groups, holiday activity days and public events every day, occasionally with a couple running consecutively, and we are both hoping for a quieter November to recuperate and catch up with everything else - including Bob!

As such I have little new in the way of wildlife to report as for the most part the only wildlife I have really encountered over the last week has been of the two-legged young human variety! Having said that, all went well and it was nice to venture a bit further afield than we are often able to manage with groups:

Even if that meant getting a "bit" wet on Thursday afternoon!

The great white egret has been reported most days - either on Mockbeggar Lake or Ibsley Water and there are some lovely flocks of siskin reeling around. The Ibsley Water fallow deer are regularly seen on the eastern shore of the lake in the evenings (and mornings on the days when it has been not so misty that you can't see beyond the shingle spit!), including a very handsome stag. In previous years the reserve has played host to the young males who are keen but not up to taking on the older stags on the Forest, but this year we seem to be hosting one of the main players himself.

It has (at last) definitely been autumnal weather this week and one of the obvious autumn signs this morning was the number of grey squirrels scampering about on the woodland floor where they are presumably caching their nut stores in preparation for winter. There is no shortage of acorns this year - the pigs were put out to pannage early on the Forest this year and I guess they will probably not be bought back in until a bit later then normal too (pannage being one of the ancient commoners rights that permits commoners to let their pigs out on the Forest in the autumn, normally for 60 days, in order that they "hoover up" the acorns that are poisonous to the ponies and cattle if consumed in any quantity).

The last of the cBBC "Deadly Scene Investigation" events ran today, with yet more families visiting the reserve, many for the first time, to solve the clues and find out "who done-it". Lovely weather they had to - there was even a southern hawker dragonfly hawking around the car park as I set a family off on their activity shortly after lunch.

Jay Fuller proudly showing off his certificate having successfully completed the DSI activity!

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