Monday, 21 March 2011

Mist, Mould and Mute Swans

Arriving at the reserve in the mist this morning things felt distinctly autumnal, an impression heightened by the dew-covered spider's webs on the main gate.
Something like 150 moths in the trap last night, although not much variety, mostly small Quaker with a supporting caste of common and twin spotted Quakers, clouded drab and Hebrew character. There was a single early tooth striped and a satellite, which is pictured.
It might have been Monday but there were still two visiting groups today, once they were on their way I spent far too long filling a skip with rubbish. I was heading back with a trailer load of junk when I spotted a white patch on a tree stump. I stopped to check it out and it seems to be a slime mould, these are just about my favourite entities, not plants, not fungi, not animals, but something all unto themselves, really weird nature. I think this is one I have not seen before, although I have not tried to identify it yet. If you want to know just how weird they are just try putting "slime mould" into a search engine and see what you get.
There were a few birds today, I saw a fine black-necked grebe out on Ibsley Water, although the scaup of yesterday was nowhere to be seen. There were several sand martin about and I also had the first reports of some going into the nest holes, earlier than last year by about three days I think. The water pipit was reported from the Tern hide and there were the usual brambling and lesser redpoll about and several singing chiffchaff.
At the end of the day as I locked up the Ivy South hide the usual pike was there, along with an even larger one. They are usually just below the hide by the second most southerly window. I took a picture of it, although it hardly does it justice, it is not very large for a pike, but as big as any I have seen in this lake.
The mute swan pair on Ivy Lake are finally starting to show signs of driving off their young from last year. The cob usually is very aggressive and gives his off-spring a hard time once spring is in the air. He is also usually very intolerant of geese on the lake, in fact so aggressive that we have named him Asbo. However he seems to be mellowing in his old age as the lake has several pairs of geese the cygnets are still contentedly swimming about. So far the adults show no sign of nesting this year.

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