Sunday, 8 November 2009

A breath of (Northern) Winter

A much colder day today, a bit of a shock after the recent mild days. It was grey, damp and chilled by a moderate north wind. Despite the cool night there were moths in the trap including a Merveille du Jour, Feathered Thorn, Red-line and Yellow-line Quakers, one of the November Moth group of species and a Northern Winter Moth (pictured below). Winter Moths are unusual in that the females are flightless, with only vestigial wings. There are two species, the Winter Moth and the Northern Winter Moth, the former is the common one in Hampshire.

Winter Moths are important for woodland breeding birds, especially Blue and Great Tits which time their hatching to co inside with the abundance of Winter Moth caterpillars.

When I opened the Ivy North hide this morning there was a Water Rail and a Cetti's Warbler calling near the hide, I saw neither. Later on Rockford Lake a Green Sandpiper was feeding on the western shore. Otherwise it was a quiet day until the the hoards of gulls arrived to roost. These included a Mediterranean Gull, not the usual adult but a second winter, there was no sign of the Ring-billed Gull reported a couple of days ago, but it could easily have been there in the mass of birds. There were at least 10 Common Gulls, a notable increase and possibly due to the colder weather and north wind. As usual there were also a good few Yellow-legged Gulls, certainly more than ten, but these were only what could be seen at the southern end of the lake.

Starting work on site preparation for the new Ivy South hide tomorrow, the volunteers having made a great job of taking down the old one on Thursday.

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