A Welcome Visitor and an Alien Invader

by A warbler a day

A combination of bad weather in the afternoons and too much to do at work/flat meant that my opportunities to look for wildlife were rather limited this week. I really only had any joy on Monday when I finished my day at Ringwood and managed to get a brief visit to Blashford Lakes before heading home. Fortunately while I was there an Osprey circled overhead for a couple of minutes, always a welcome sight!

This afternoon I went for a stroll around Crookham Common. It was a fairly quiet day with little of ornithological interest except a family of Stonechats and couple of Green Woodpeckers. Unfortunately what attracted my attention most was the state of the pools at the eastern end of the site. There was little open water as they were covered in the bright green foliage of an invasive plant, Crassula helmsii aka New Zealand Pygmyweed. This species was introduced for use in aquariums but has rapidly spread in ponds and ditches across the country, growing in such thick mats that no other plants can survive.