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Blashford Bulletin February 2018

We have almost seen off the worst of the winter and are daring to let our thoughts drift towards spring.  Some days will be crisp, cold and sunny whilst others will be wet and grey and some may even have a hint of warmth to the early spring sunshine.  Now is a time of transition at Blashford Lakes Nature Blashford-Bittern-by-Ian-Cameron-Reidreserve. All winter the staff and volunteers have been working hard coppicing willow, cutting and clearing brambles, making dead hedges and generally getting the reserve ready for spring.

Once March arrives the larger jobs will have to stop so that we don’t disturb Blashford-Osprey-Gary-Prescottthe birds and other wildlife that will soon be setting up home and rearing young. With warmer weather and ever increasing daylight just around the corner now is the last chance to see some of our winter visitors and the first chance to see some new arrivals.

Blashford-Sand-Martin-Dave-FokerThe Bittern that has been sneaking around the reed beds all winter will surely be moving on soon, so if you haven’t caught a glimpse of this elusive bird yet, you may have one last chance before next winter. Another exciting sight at this time of year are migrating birds that briefly pass through the reserve on their way elsewhere. Look out for the impressive Osprey that sometimes stop in for a quick feed and then carry on their way. The sand martins will also be returning soon and showing off their spectacular flying skills. Last spring and summer they created quite a spectacle zooming about in front of Goosander hide.Blashford-Peacock-Peter-West

Birdsong will be filling the air but if you look closer to the ground there will be further signs of spring. The snowdrops and wild daffodils are now pushing their way up through the woodland floor adding a splash of colour.  You will also see the first butterflies flitting here and there enjoying the warmer weather; look out for Blashford-Brimstone-Ed-Merrittbrimstone and peacock butterflies. You may also be lucky enough to spot an adder or grass snake tentatively venturing out and testing the warmth of the sun.  Blashford-adderAll in all there is plenty to see and enjoy throughout February and March.

To explore the reserve’s birdlife with a guide, why not join Education Officer Jim Day for a family bird walk on Saturday 17th March. Booking is essential, please telephone 01425 472760.

Blashford-Grass-Snake-Jim-DayThe 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.