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Blashford Bulletin August 2019

As August turns into September it is time to look to the skies for passing migrants. Osprey may fly over or pause here briefly as they begin their long journey back to Africa whilst our hirundines will be gathering to feed over Ibsley Water before they too head south. A good time to look for this feeding frenzy of martins, swallows and swifts is just after rain, which brings the insects down over the water.

As some birds leave others will be arriving. Our regular Great White Egret ‘Walter’ may return from a summer in France to once again spend the Autumn and Winter with us. We know it is the same bird as he was ringed in France in 2003 as a nestling with a combination of coloured rings, making him easily identifiable when his rings are on show. Fingers crossed he will be back this year.

Duck numbers will also slowly increase, with the arrival of gadwall, tufted duck, wigeon and shoveler. At this time of year it can be quite difficult to identify them as the usually distinctive drakes have moulted into a somewhat drab ‘eclipse’ plumage, similar to the females.  This is thought to be a survival mechanism, making them less conspicuous whilst they moult their flight feathers.

On a sunny day it is still worth searching for colourful butterflies as they wing from flower to flower; see comma, painted lady, peacock, red admiral and brimstone to name just a few.  Dragonflies and damselflies will also be out, with southern and migrant hawkers patrolling their feeding grounds and gatherings of common blue damselflies creating a dazzling haze over the edges of Ivy Lake.

If they have had a successful breeding season, late summer is the perfect time to keep an eye out for the brilliant blue flash of the kingfisher as their fledglings disperse out across the reserve to establish territories of their own. If you’re lucky, you may even get a view of one perched on a branch over Ivy Lake, Ivy Silt Pond or Ibsley Water: Goosander Hide is usually a good place to try.

On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays our new ‘Welcome Hut’ will be open so do call by to say hello to our lovely Welcome Volunteers, who will have a selection of pond creatures to show visitors and perhaps even a moth or two, depending on what the light trap has caught the night before.

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: