Monday, 16 May 2011

On the Dark Side

No real headline sightings today, the moth trap was much busier than yesterday, with buff-tip, poplar hawk and a melanistic form of peppered moth. This is the classic example of industrial melanism, when species evolved darker forms to be better camouflaged in the sooty conditions of a coal fired industrial Britain. It does not work that well at Blashford though, but evidently well enough to still occur in the population.
Yesterday we counted ten emperor dragonfly exuvae around the Centre pond, today there were at least fourteen including one that had not managed to hatch. The emerging adult having died in the struggle to get free from the larval skin.

The dried exuvae of those that did succeed now decorate the stems of reeds and other emerging plants. They time the emergence to enable a first flight as soon after dawn as they can to get clear of the pond edge and possible predators.

The pair of lapwing next to the Tern hide still have two chicks, but the little ringed plovers seem to be starting all over again. The male of the pair nearest the hide was displaying and nest scraping just outside the hide, so I got another shot of him. I did try some video, but my editing skills were not up to getting it onto the blog, or at least not yet.

Otherwise my day consisted of a series of frustrations as I tried to cut some paths for sweep netting. The frustration being a series of mechanical problems ending with a need to wait until the end of the week for parts.

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