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Blashford Bulletin August 2018

We find ourselves in the last throws of summer with autumn just around the corner and life is busy on the reserve.  The fruits of summer are evident particularly on the brambles as the blackberries ripen; there is plenty of food for all the birds, reptiles, mammals and insects.  On sunny days search for colourful butterflies as they wing from flower to flower; see comma, painted lady, peacock, red admiral and brimstone to name just a few.  Now is a great time to be wowed by the dazzling display of dragon and damsel flies as they whizz past, patrolling their feeding grounds.

Why not join Reserves Officer Bob Chapman on a summer wildlife walk on Wednesday 1st August from 1.30pm until 3.30pm in search of some of these delightful insects. Please telephone 01425 472760 to book your place.

For some of the birds August is a time to moult, freshening up and growing new feathers after the wear and tear of the breeding season.  For others it will be time to move on.  As we get into September, the swallows and martins will be heading off to their African wintering grounds.  Before they leave they prepare for their long journey by gathering in their hundreds to feed up over Ibsley Water.  They create an amazing and memorable spectacle as they demonstrate their remarkable, acrobatic flying skills.  It is not just birds leaving though, duck numbers including mallard, teal, widgeon, gadwall, tufted duck and shoveler are all beginning to build up.

Now is also a great time to get a view of, or if you’re lucky an impressive photograph of a kingfisher.  The fledglings will be dispersing across the reserve now and certainly last year there were regular sightings and photo opportunities, particularly from Goosander Hide.  Often all you get is a flash of shining blue as they dart along the water’s edge, but ours seemed happy to sit and pose for a while.

The light trap will be attracting a wonderful variety of moths, for example pink barred sallow, feathered gothic and if we’re lucky Clifden nonpareil or the blue under-wing, especially if the nights are cloudy and warm.

For your own glimpse of these and other creatures of the night, including bats, join the Education Officer for a family night walk on Friday 14th September from 7pm until 8.30pm and head out onto the reserve after dusk. Please telephone to book your place.

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.