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Blashford Bulletin October 2018

Autumn is a colourful time of year here on the nature reserve, with the trees displaying ceilings of golden leaves and fungi beginning to carpet the woodland floor. On your visit to Blashford Lakes look out for the popular fly agarics along with shaggy inkcaps, earth stars and the more subtle but aptly named candle snuff fungus on the tops of logs.

On a sunny day look out for insects still on the wing, including red admiral and peacock butterflies and common darter and migrant hawker dragonflies.

Late October may offer the first sightings of a bittern, however last winter they passed us by. Fingers crossed one or more will perceive the reedbeds around Ivy Lake as suitable habitat this year – as the reeds die back it is usually easier to see this secretive bird as it has fewer places to hide. Increasing numbers of ducks will be gathering on the water, including gadwall, pochard, tufted duck, teal, shoveler, wigeon and golden eye. The reserve’s kingfishers have had another good breeding season and you may be lucky enough to spot one frequenting a perch, as it keeps a keen eye on the water below. Another bird likely to be spotted fishing in the shallows is the great white egret, which spends the Autumn and Winter on our Lake shores after a summer in France.

As the nights draw in, this time of year is perfect for watching the starling murmurations and increasing number of birds coming into roost on Ibsley Water. Thousands of gulls, geese and goosander use the lakes as their resting place as it provides a safe refuge after dark. As well as looking out for roosting birds you can also watch out for bats emerging for their night’s feed and listen out for dark bush crickets who can be heard chirping at this time of year.

To discover more about our nocturnal wildlife join Education Officer Jim Day for an evening night walk on Friday 26th October. Learn about and set (live!) small mammal traps before heading off into the night to find bats, moths and owls, with the option to return the following morning to check and release your catch of mice and voles. Please telephone 01425 472760 to book onto either or both ‘Nocturnal Nature’ sessions.

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.