Thursday, 8 April 2010

A Day Afloat and a Flutter

A really fabulous day, warm, sunny and with very light winds, ideal for going out on the water. It was also Thursday and so volunteer day and early April, the perfect task then was to put out the tern rafts. We must be getting better at this because they all got into the water, covered with shells and chick-shelters and towed out and moored in just about two hours. In addition I had remembered to charge up the battery for the electric outboard and we did not forget any vital tools. All we need now are some terns and to hope that the rafts do not get occupied by either gulls or Canada Geese.

At the start of the day I saw the Grey Heron below on my way to the Ivy South hide, it was looking fine in the sunshine, but I particularly liked this picture in which it is showing off advanced balancing abilities, unlike a Little Egret that I once saw fall off a branch into a river.
On Ibsley Water today there were 3 Common Sandpiper, a Green Sandpiper and at least 3 male White Wagtails. There are also still some Goosander and Goldeneye, including several drakes.
One of the Common Sandpipers, it was looking up at something, but I could not see what.
The real feature of the day was the warm sunshine, it brought out Grass Snakes and butterflies in numbers. I saw a Red Admiral even before 8 o'clock and later Peacock, Brimstone, Comma and several Small Tortoiseshell including the pair in the picture. Small Tortoiseshell sued to be one of the really common species that everybody knew, but not so in recent years when they have been decidedly scarce, perhaps they have turned the corner and will go back to their former status.
The Peacock and Comma below were taken basking on the track to the Ivy South hid eat the end of the day. Both were standing on "tip-toe" to catch the sun, hence the large shadows. The Peacock also shows evidence of something having attacked the eye-spot on the left hind-wing.
The Comma was actually my first of the year, but today was the first day that I have really seen butterflies in any numbers. I still have not seen any species that hatch from pupae in the spring, all the five species today were ones that hibernate, but I expect there will be Holly Blue out within a day or so now if the temperature stays as high as it was today.

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