Friday, 11 June 2010

The rain never really came so the moth trap once again contained a good catch including a Beautiful Brocade, a species of heathland that is still scattered around the New Forest but much less common than it used to be. Only a handful are recorded each year so one at Blashford was certainly notable. It is one of the great advantages of Blashford that it is an area of good wildlife habitat that lies beside two others, the New Forest and the Avon Valley. As well as the moths the trap also had a wide variety of other insects including many flies. One was a male horsefly, harmless as only the females bite, it was a striking insect with almost totally black wings and the most amazing eyes. The species is Chrysops caecutiens the females of this species have yellow markings and wings with a pattern of clear areas and black, they are also persistent biters. Curiously I have only ever been bitten by common species, even when I have found rarer ones they seem to take little interest in biting people. Despite the painful bite that some can give they are a remarkable group of insects including some of the fastest fliers and most aerially acrobatic.
Other flies included Britain's biggest cranefly, Tipula maxima and this rather smaller pale species with an unusually long abdomen, I have no idea what it is, there is a key to these flies but I have never had much success with it.
Little new to report on the bird front today, but the Lapwing chicks are still going, or at least two of them are. I had reports of the two Little Ringed Plover chicks and the clutch near the hide was still incubating as was the Oystercatcher. All still seems to be going well with the Ivy Lake Common Terns and the three Mute Swan cygnets are growing well.

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