I spent the day travelling around collecting bits and pieces for up-coming tasks. I started at Beechcroft to sort out a few emails and collect the truck, then I was off the Blashford Lakes. At Blashford I had a quick look over Ibsley Water and saw the 4 black-necked grebe and ten or so goosander from the Tern Hide. I had gone there to collect some floats for a raft we want to build at Farlington. As some will know we built rafts for common tern at Blashford some years ago and they were very successful, I want to try a raft for little tern at Farlington. The trouble is that whereas rafts for common tern are known to be quiet successful at lots of sites I don’t think anyone has succeeded in getting little tern to nest on rafts, but that is not going to stop us from trying.
Before I left I had a quick look at Ivy Lake and saw my first sand martin of the year, I really must count up where the yearlist is up to. Then it was off to buy some materials and drop off a couple of things at Swanwick Lakes before heading on to Farlington Marshes.
At Farlington it was as cold as ever, with a bitter wind, needless to say the brent geese are all still with us and the overall feel is still very wintery. Despite this the first cattle are due to come onto the Marsh on Friday, of course we need to have grazing to maintain the grassland in good condition. In fact without grazing it would quiet quickly scrub over with brambles and thorn bushes. The cattle graze the spring and summer growth so that the grass is the right length for grazing brent geese and the geese make it even shorter and so just right for nesting lapwing.
The Hayfield had well over 2000 brent geese in it when I left, as well as the red-breasted goose. I suspect they will go at the end of the week when we are promised a change in the weather, they have already been here a month longer than usual. They are probably not in such good shape as usual for making the first leg of their journey as the grass has not been growing. Let’s hope they have a better time at their stop over areas in Holland and Germany, they need to be in top form before they head up to Siberia in six or so weeks time.