Friday, 11 February 2011

First Moths, a Shrike and the Rockford Two

After meaning to run the moth trap several times, I finally remembered yesterday and was rewarded with three moths. A single male pale brindled beauty, males of most species are far more frequent at moth traps than females. In the case of pale brindled beauty it is only males that ever come to the light as the females are flightless.
The other two moths were both chestnut, a common species that emerges as an adult in the autumn and over-winters, flying on mild nights and then more regularly in spring, surviving until April or May.
Most of the more sought after birds on the reserve seem to have collected on Ivy Lake. From the Ivy North hide a bittern was again present and the great white egret put in appearance again this afternoon. Out on the lake both of the smew, the "Rockford Two" were to be seen, although at times fishing under the over-hanging trees and so very difficult to locate. I had thought that the egret had gone, by usual standards it is staying very late this year and it was not reported at all yesterday.
After opening the hides I walked back along the path between the Dockens Water and Ellingham Lake, a good idea as it turned out as the great grey shrike was in the trees beside the Dockens just behind the Education Centre, it flew off south down the side of Ellingham Lake. It is usual to think of these shrikes being on open heath and perched in bushes or very small trees, but perhaps this is just where we can see them easily, this bird seems to be quite often in the tree tops and perhaps this is not as unusual as might be thought.
I went to the Woodland hide around the middle of the day and the brambling were very fine, at least sixty were feeding all around the hide. I have one of the feeders on camera in the lobby at the Centre and it is a great sight at times. We hope to have some clips from this camera for the website soon.

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