Sunday, 3 April 2011

A Beauty Snapped

Although last night was not all that warm, the moth trap was quiet busy this morning, with one hundred and twenty three moths of seventeen species. They included three pine beauty and I finally got a picture of one, my last attempt failed when it flew off. There were also 4 frosted green, the greatest number so far this year. They are quite variable, some very dark with few frosty markings and others like the one below with bold silvery patterning.
There were three new species for the year, nut-tree tussock, early thorn and a very fine purple thorn, always difficult to picture as they hold their wings half open when at rest.
As it was the first Sunday of the month, it was volunteer day, seven people worked with me finishing off the rabbit proofing of the Millennium Meadow. Hopefully this will allow the vegetation to grow longer and make the area more suitable for insects and other mini-beasts making it good for education work. It will also produce another type of habitat, there is very little long herbage anywhere on the reserve because of the generally high rabbit population.

I only had a very brief time to look anywhere on the reserve today, a meeting took up much of the afternoon, but when I did it was evident that there are still good numbers of brambling around. Over on Ibsley Water the little ringed plover were displaying vigorously, both of the lapwing near the Tern hide are still sitting comfortably and the two pairs of redshank are still bickering around their territory boundary. This boundary is just in front of the Tern hide, giving a great opportunity to see the strutting displays and surprisingly violent outbursts of fighting.

The picture is of one of the males having a good shake after one such confrontation.

There was a good flock of sand martin over the lake all day and a first summer little gull, with very pink underparts, by the end of the day there was a second, also a first summer bird.

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