Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Blashford Bugs

This year is shaping up to be a brilliant one for insects of all kinds. The moth trap was again busy, with puss moth being another new species for the year. I had expected this species to be common at Blashford as the caterpillars eat willows and poplars, of which we have loads, in fact it seems very scarce.
The suntrap near the Ivy South hide came up trumps again, this morning the basking insects included a tree bumble-bee. Although the picture is not good, it does show the white tail, which is the distinguishing mark of the species. They have only colonised Britain in the last decade and are becoming increasingly common.

After a morning doing paperwork I ventured out to look at tasks that will need doing in the next few weeks. One is the repair of some holes that have got worn in the Dockens Water bank. The area was another with shelter and sun and was full of insects and other invertebrates. On a stone I spotted a tiny battle going on, two male jumping spiders were fighting, eventually one threw the other off the stone. The species, I think, is Heliophanus cupreus, a common species of open sites.

I also visited an area we cleared last year near the silt pond, it is the only area on the reserve with a number of typically bog species, including Sphagnum mosses, bog myrtle and royal fern. The fern is now throwing up the fertile fronds which are quite different from the normal ones with a rather granular surface appearance.

The common tern on the Ivy Lake rafts are starting to settle down now, several seem to have nests with eggs, although I am not sure there are more than fifteen pairs, surprising when they have been so successful and I would have expected the colony to be increasing quite rapidly.

I did add another dragonfly species for the year, a male hairy dragonfly was beside the Ivy North hide this afternoon. This was good as it made up for a very frustrating time. I was trying to cut the paths in the small meadow, I set out with the strimmer but when I tried to start it the chord pulled out, very annoying.

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