Saturday, 31 July 2010

Six Spots and Three Chicks

A grey and drizzly start followed by an eventually sunny afternoon which allowed a good few insects to get out and about. These included my fist six-spot burnet moth of the year, these sluggish fliers are quite safe to fly about in daylight as they are distasteful to birds who avoid them.
The garden by the Centre attracted a small tortoiseshell, brimstone, silver-washed fritillary and several red admirals. Like the painted lady the underside of the red admiral's wings are intricately patterned and in many ways equally as attractive as the more obvious upper-side.
Another insect visitor to the garden, although less attractive is none the less interesting. The rather bristly fly Tachina fera is one of those that develops from a larva that lives as a parasite in the larvae of various butterflies and moths.
I was delighted to see that there are actually three common tern chicks growing well on the Ivy Lake raft, I suspected there were three the other day but could not confirm. I think almost every pair has reared their entire broods this year, which is to say they have laid three eggs and reared three young. I am pretty sure there were seventeen pairs in all and I know of at least forty flying young so far, with luck there will be at least forty three by the end of the week, but I suspect the true figure may well have been nearer to fifty.

The great crested grebes are still showing a lot of interest in their new nest, despite the season moving on. Other bird news was rather thin, a green sandpiper on Rockford Lake, a hobby over Ivy Lake and one oystercatcher that flew over going north.

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