Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Birds, Butterflies and Bumble-bees

Yet another fabulous day, the warmest so far this year, a butterfly and bumble-bee day that started with with 2 snipe by the Tern hide. I know I have posted a picture of snipe from there quite recently, but I cannot resist posting some more.
The shore of the lake is very stony, but it had no problem working the long bill into the ground, often at an acute angle to get under the stones. It also seems an odd place for a snipe as there is so little cover so their camouflage does not really work at all, presumably there is a lot of food.
The snipe was not the only wader on the shore by the hide, there were two pairs of redshank and three pairs of lapwing, no doubt because there is lots of food on this shore. There was also a male little ringed plover, at last, it was the first this year, later two were reported.
The ringers were in again mainly trying and succeeding in catching finches, including good numbers of lesser redpoll and 13 brambling, altogether 51 birds were caught this morning. Some of the brambling, like this male, are looking very smart indeed now, a few will stay for up to another three weeks by which time they look really fine. I don't know if there were a lot of migrants but the trees were full of wheezing males today, for once the sound of brambling outdid the twitterings of siskin.
I don't know how I had missed it before, but in the alder carr I found this excellent blackbird yelling at me from a nest in a small oak tree. It was made by the WATCH group a couple of weekends ago, just shows how observant I am!
I did my March visit for the bumble-bee monitoring project today, there were lots of insects out in the sunshine, but not actually that many bumble-bees. I recorded only two species, buff-tailed and white-tailed although I did see two solitary bees, lots of honey-bees and a feather-legged bee. The warmth also brought lots of butterflies out, mostly brimstone, but also peacock, comma and a single small white. This last is notable as it is one that has hatched out this spring rather than hibernated as an adult like the other species. I had expected to see some hoverflies, but there were very few and all seemed to be of the one species, Eristalis pertinax, another insect that over-winters as and adult.

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