Blashford Flashback

I had a bit of a flashback day on Thursday as I was at Blashford Lakes for the day, my old haunt. It did no end of good for my yearlist though. I made a shameless twitching stop on the way and saw the glossy ibis at Bickerley, I missed one a few years ago at Blashford and this was my first in Hampshire.

The Lakes are stuffed with wildfowl at present, I have never seen so many ducks on either Ivy Lake or Ibsley Water. The huge numbers are associated with the flooding in the Avon Valley and most of the ducks just use the lakes to loaf on during the day, flying out to the flooded valley to feed at night. I counted 717 shoveler on Ibsley Water and saw a few more on Ivy Lake as well, mind you my count was trumped by Rob Hume who got at least 780 a few hours later.

Interestingly one of the lakes that had been very good for ducks last year had almost none, Rockford Lake lies outside the reserve but can be viewed from the path along the eastern side of Ivy Lake, it seems to have very big differences in weed growth from year to year and so huge variation in wildfowl numbers.

Other additions to my yearlist were green woodpecker (yes, I don’t know how I had not already seen one either), kingfisher, grey wagtail, goosander, bittern, yellow-legged gull and Egyptian goose taking me up to 110 for the year. Over 5% of my birds so far have been naturalised introduced species and of these 3 were not even of European origin. It may seem good to have greater diversity, but as nothing goes to waste they can only be doing well at the expense of something else, the unintended consequences of casual introductions can be seen all around the world, to the great detriment of native species and global bio-diversity.

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