Thursday, 24 February 2011

A Busy Day in the Sun

A day that makes you sure spring is just around the corner, no migrants yet but they cannot be far away. I never got a chance to get any pictures of birds today so it is more moths, but there were several fine ones, all the pictures below are of species that hatch in the spring, rather than over-wintering as adults. The first is oak beauty, a close relative of the peppered moth well known from biology textbooks, (it is the one that exhibits industrial melanism).
One that was new for the year and of which several were caught last night was the yellow horned, as the picture shows it does have yellowish antennae, the larvae eat birch leaves.
Lastly a picture of another small brindled beauty, but this time a paler one than the last I posted, it shows the marking much better than the dark individuals.
As it was Thursday the volunteers were out enjoying the weather, today we were weeding the shore of Ibsley Water in front of the Tern hide ready for the arrival of the little ringed plover, it also improves the sight lines from the hide.
Birds from today included a report of a bittern from the Ivy North hide, I did not see it but when I locked up I did see both smew fishing in the reedmace below the hide, not a habitat I am used to seeing them in. There must be lots of small fish in there as there were also two pairs of great crested grebe as well and all were catching fish. I also saw my first redshank of the year on Ibsley Water, although I see one was reported yesterday, presumably the first return of a bird to breed, either on the lake or in the fields in the valley.
A brimstone butterfly was reported, the second of the year, incidentally a peacock was also reported the other day. I saw a few bumble-bees and a single hoverfly, probably Eristalis pertinax, one of the drone-flies and one that hibernates as an adult.

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