Monday, 25 April 2011

Emerald snapped

First day at Blashford in what seems like an age. At this time of year even a few days away means that there are all sorts of changes. Checking the moth trap there were several species that I had not seen this year including maiden's blush and the alder moth pictured.
The patches of reed around Ivy lake all seem to have their own reed warbler and the small clump beside the Ivy South hide is no exception. After a bit of effort I got a picture of it singing away. I was also pleased to see at least a dozen common tern on the rafts with much courtship feeding and general pairing behaviour going on. I was less pleased to see the pair of lesser black-backed gull still hanging around.

Walking on round the path beside Ellingham Lake a chiffchaff singing high in an alder also gave the chance of a picture.

I did the full round of the hides, something I had not done in several weeks. Up at the Lapwing hide a swift flew over, my first this year. In front of the hide a pair of lesser black-backed gull included a colour-ringed bird, although not the one from the Ivy rafts as this was a red ring which I think was engraved with AN in white, news on origin will follow when I have it.

On the way to the hide I was very frustrated by trying to get a picture of a downy emerald dragonfly. I have never got a picture of this species, it rarely seems to settle and when it does it always seems to be high in a tree. So finding one low down in a willow, I set about getting a shot, but auto-focus foiled me every time, always choosing the twigs in the background. However later I got a second bite of the cherry when another flew in and landed right beside me, so here it is:

Besides the emerald other Odonata were all damselflies, including large red, azure, common blue and blue-tailed and all in fair numbers. Butterflies were also quite obvious with red admiral, peacock, speckled wood, orange tip, green-veined white, small white, large white and small copper.

As well as all the insects the warm weather has brought on the plants as well and I found a good few twayblade, a rather unprepossessing orchid, named fro the two large leaves.

More showy were the leopard's bane flowers beside the Dockens Water bridge from the Tern hide, this is not a British native, although it is wild not far away in Europe.

Birds were rather few, a pair of Mediterranean gull flew over calling and a hobby was hunting insects over Ivy Lake this afternoon. Out on Ibsley Water at least 4 wigeon, a pair of teal and a female goosander were reminders of winter. Potential bird of the day was just missed, a black kite was reported flying over Ibsley North lake and would probably have been visible from the reserve if I had been looking the right way at the right time!

No comments:

Post a Comment