Monday, 28 September 2009

Red Underwing, red fungus and something that went splash in the lake

It is a while since I have done an update, since the last we have had National Moth Night and day and there have been a few interesting sightings to report.
National Moth Night was on Friday 18th and twenty people attended. Five traps were run and several trees were "sugared". Conditions seemed ideal, calm, cloudy and quite warm, the moths were not spectacular but at least there were some. The object was to look for migrants and we did catch a few Rush Veneer moths but few other obvious migrants. I say this because a number of our regular resident species are boosted in numbers by arrivals form the continent.

The trapping was quite successful but the sugaring was not so good, we saw only one moth, a Copper Underwing, but at least that stayed for a long time. The mix was newly made by boiling up black treacle, dark brown sugar thinned with a little beer to stop it becoming toffee. I have used this mix in lots of places over the years, usually with only slight success, apart from when I ran a site in Sussex, when it was always successful and often spectacularly so. I have no idea why Sussex moths responded so much better than Hampshire ones, but that is just the way it was.

The following morning I opened up the traps for ten people and we found a few more species than the night before. Unfortunately the most spectacular was a Red Underwing that was on the outside of the center building and flew away before anyone had arrived, typical!
Although it has been dry it is still autumn and so the time for fungi, although not that many have been in evidence so far. One that has is the pixies favourite, the Fly Agaric, the one in the picture was in a group growing at the southern end of the Rockford path.
On Friday 25th we did our September wildfowl count, anyone who has been at Blashford recently will know what I mean if I say it was more accurately a Coot count as this was far and away the main species with 1773, of which over a thousand were on Ibsley Water. Also of note were 65 Little Grebes there, although this was surely not all of them as they are more or less impossible to count accurately. The Great White Egret was on the old silt pond beside the path behind the Lapwing hide, as it often is early in the morning. However none of these were the highlight of the count, this accolade went to an Otter, which swam along the eastern shore of Ibsley Water. I was in Lapwing hide as it came level with the hide, at first close in then porpoising out in deep water before returning and coming up the bank and past the hide, just to the north. A magical experience, good views for perhaps two or three minutes eventually passing within thirty metres of us. There were pictures taken, although not by me, I will put some up if I can complete negotiations.

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