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Blashford Bulletin February 2020

Great-Crested-Grebe-With the onset of spring the nature reserve teems with activity, with winter visitors feeding up in preparation for their departure whilst breeding residents gather nesting materials and prepare for the bustle of courtship.

In an elaborate display the great crested grebe pairs Bittern-by-Ian-Cameron-Reidwill meet and mirror their partners dance, rising out of the water, shaking their heads and offering up gifts of weed. The lapwing will exhibit over Ibsley Water, their distinctive ‘peewit’ calls heard as they waver in the sky above.

If we have been lucky enough to have an over-wintering bittern frequenting the reed beds in front of Ivy North Hide, now is a good time to catch a final glimpse of this secretive bird before it too departs at the end of March. Why not join Education Officer Jim Day for lunch around the campfire and a walk in search of our winter birds on our Dine and Discover Winter Wetlands event on Friday 28th February, from 11am until 3pm. Please telephone to book your place.

wild-daffodil-Alison-Fowler-With the days lengthening again after the long winter, the warming rays of sunlight see the ground flora slowly beginning to wake up. Golden blooms have been sprouting through the leaf mulch, from the wild daffodils on the banks of the Dockens Water and the unfurling willow catkins along the meadow to the small patches of celandines and primroses dotted throughout the woodland. Yellow, it seems really is the colour of spring.Grass-Snake-Martin-King

With the fresh blooms come the first butterflies of the year; look out for the brimstone, comma and peacock whilst out walking. Reptiles will also be tempted out by the warmth of the sun and it is a good time to spot adders and grass snakes sunbathing along the edges of the paths as they are still quite slow and sluggish after the cold winter.

Osprey-Gary-PrescottAnother exciting sight at this time of year is the migrating birds that briefly pass through the reserve on their way elsewhere. Look out for the impressive osprey that may stop for a quick feed before carrying on along their way. The sand martins will also be returning soon and showing off their spectacular flying skills in front of Goosander Hide.

In this transitional period at Blashford the staff and volunteers have been working hard coppicing willow, cutting and clearing brambles, making dead hedges and generally getting the reserve ready for the summer ahead.

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.