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Blashford Bulletin December 2019

As the cold weather moves in through the winter so does the population of visiting birds at Blashford. Duck numbers are peaking and the lakes continue to swarm with waterfowl feeding on the lake surfaces Blashford-shoveler-male-and-female-by-Dave-Foker-Dec-2019and the edges of the shoreline. The Goosander and Tufted duck dive down into the water to catch their meal, putting on an enjoyable show for the bird watchers sat in the hides. Even more entertaining however is the Shoveler, which spins round and round creating currents in the water and using its spatula like bill to scoop up aquatic plants and insects which have been pulled into the eddies.

Blashford-Wigeon-by-Bob-Chapman-Dec-2019To get a closer look at some of our waterfowl, why not join ‘In Focus’, optics and binocular specialists, for one of their regular events to try out different binoculars and telescopes in the bird hide and find out what is best for you. These events usually take place on the first Tuesday of the month from 10am-4pm in the Tern Hide. Check the In Focus website for date confirmation: www.at-infocus.co.uk

Listen carefully whilst walking to and from the lakeside hides for the Wigeon’s distinctive whistle as it grazes on the bank. Then whilst wandering into the woodland listen to the bird calls coming from the feeders. Blashford-Siskin-by-Martin-Bennett-Dec-2019Here you can see a variety of birds including visitors such as the Siskin, Redpoll and Brambling alongside our regular feeders the Nuthatch, Long-tailed tit, Robin, Blue tit and Great tit.Blashford-Brambling-by-Ian-Cameron-Reid-Dec-2019

Away from the easy pickings of the bird feeders look out for the Treecreeper. A small brown bird with a striking white tummy and curved pointy beak, it could be mistaken for a mouse as it moves up the trunks of trees with small hops in search of insects and spiders.

As we move into the New Year the first flowers of the new season will start to appear. Blashford-Snowdrops-by-Bob-Chapman-Dec-2019Patches of snowdrops emerge along the river verges and the hazel catkins begin to slowly open and unfurl.

Amongst the deadwood and wet ground the scarlet elf cup fungi, one of the first in the year, begins to grow, painting vivid spots of colour into the woodland habitat. Blashford-Scarlet-elf-cup-by-Bob-Chapman-Dec-2019Also visible are the many types of lichen we have on display at this time of year, a small scale habitat but one just as extraordinary for you to come and discover.

The Blashford Lakes Project is a partnership between Bournemouth Water, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust 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.