Sunday, 4 July 2010

The Eyes Have It

After the volunteer task this morning I had lunch at on of the picnic tables behind the Centre. Almost every one had a Horse-fly perched on it, they did not seem interested in me, just trying to bask in the occasional sunny spells. Looking closely I could see that most were males, which don't bite, although there was certainly one female and they definitely do bite. All were of a common species Tabanus bromius, characterised by a single dark line across the eye, the picture is of the female and you can see the fierce mouth parts used to bite through cow-hide or a pair of jeans. The heads are almost all eyes (and mouth parts) and they are amazing creatures. Some species can fly at over 50km per hour and making 180 degree turns in just a few metres.
There were not many birds about today, the flocks of moulting geese include the Bar-headed Goose and the two Little Ringed Plover are still sitting. I expect the Lapwing chick will be flying any day now and on Ivy Lake lots of the Common Terns are already doing so. About twenty chicks were flying and there are still nine small ones and one adult sitting. The picture has about eight of the chicks and a few adults stood about and one adult flying in with a fish.
A Green Sandpiper at the Ivy North hide at the end of the day was about the most notable sighting, although a particularly large Grass Snake at the Ivy South hide was also impressive.

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