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Blashford Bulletin June 2020

At the height of summer the reserve is teeming with life. From the woodland canopy to the waterside, adult birds are encouraging their young to take their first steps away from the nest: fledgling Oystercatcher, Lapwing and Little ringed plover chicks at Ibsley Water are gaining their independence whilst the Common tern chicks will be taking their first leap away from the comfort of the Tern rafts on Ivy Lake.

Easily recognisable are the Great crested grebe chicks with their black and white humbug faces, swimming close to the parent bird, whilst hundreds of Greylag and Canada geese will be carrying out their moult. Whilst they are replacing old feathers for new, they are vulnerable to predators like foxes, so they use the lakes to stay safe.

Take a stroll down to Ivy South hide and you are quite likely to spot a grass snake basking in the warm summer sun, either resting upon a fallen tree in the silt pond to the right or on an old stump outside the hide itself. 

On your way there look out amongst the shorter grasses  and on the path for emerging toadlets – they are small, very well camouflaged and easily overlooked until one catches your eye and you realise you are surrounded.

The mixture of wetland, woodland and grassland here at Blashford Lakes makes the reserve a brilliant place for dragonflies and damselflies, with Brown hawker, Common darter, Emperor and Black tailed skimmer dragonflies all on the wing as well as Common blue and Azure blue damselflies. Their life cycle requires wetlands for the start of their life along with open woodland and grassland in which to hunt as an adult. We often are asked by visitors how to tell dragonflies and damselflies apart: the best way is to wait until they are sitting still or perched on vegetation, as damselflies tend to hold their wings over their bodies whilst dragonflies will rest with them stretched out to the side.

To discover more about the reserve’s insect life why not ‘go wild’ with Education Officer Jim Day on our ‘Bugs and Beasties’ family event on Saturday 4th July from 10.30am until 12noon. You will be able to explore the meadow and discover a fantastic and fascinating miniature world of grasshoppers, crickets, damselflies, spiders and bugs galore! Telephone 01425 472760 or email BlashfordLakes@hiwwt.org.uk to book your place.

 

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