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Blashford Bulletin August 2017

 

silver-washed-fritillary-by-Steve-Lankester

silver-washed-fritillary-by-Steve-Lankester

As August arrives, the trees at Blashford Lakes Nature Reserve are

Small-tortoiseshell-by-Steve-Lankester

laden with leaves. As the grass in the meadow begins to die back, some flowers including heather, fleabane and hemp agrimony are only just beginning to come out whilst blackberries and other berries will be ripening – there will be plenty of food around for our insects, birds and mammals.

On a sunny day take time to search for butterflies including brimstone, peacock, red admiral, small white, large white, green-veined white, silver-washed fritillary, painted lady, gatekeeper, small tortoiseshell and comma. Dragonflies will also be out patrolling their feeding grounds including southern and migrant hawkers.

On Monday 7th August join Reserves Officer Bob Chapman on a guided walk from 2pm until 4pm in search of summer invertebrates. To book your place telephone 01425 472760.

Migrant-hawker--Bob-Chapman

As summer continues it’s time to look to the skies over Blashford in search of passing migrants. Birds like osprey will be making their way back to Africa whilst our hirundines will be gathering to feed over Ibsley Water before they too head south. A good time to look for this feeding frenzy of swallows, swifts and martins is just after rain, which seems to bring the insects down over the water with the birds not far behind.

Tufted-Duck-drake

As some birds leave others are starting to arrive. The great white egret is likely to return any day now from its holidays in France to spend the autumn and winter with us. Duck numbers are also starting to build up with representatives of several species including gadwall, tufted duck, wigeon, mallard and shoveler out on the water. As usual at this time of year it can be quite difficult to sort many of them out as the usually distinctive drakes have moulted into a somewhat drab ‘eclipse’ plumage, similar to the females. This is thought to be a survival mechanism, making them less conspicuous whilst they moult their flight feathers and are unprotected from predators.

Kingfisher-by-Justin-Kercher

Late summer is a great time to be keeping a watchful eye out for this year’s fledglings. Kingfisher in particular will be starting to disperse themselves throughout the reserve, giving you the best chance of seeing one; either a flash of bright blue or if you are lucky enough they may choose to settle on one of the many perches outside the front of Goosander or the Ivy Lake hides.

The Blashford Lakes Project is a partnership between Bournemouth Water, New Forest District Council and Wessex Water. The reserve is managed by Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, a charity that aims to protect local wildlife and inspire people. For information on upcoming events visit our website: www.hiwwt.org.uk or phone: 01425 472760. For up-to-date wildlife information visit our blog: blashfordlakes.wordpress.com.