Wednesday, 25 May 2011

The Wet and the Dry

Lots of activity on the reserve today. More carp were being removed from Mockbeggar Lake, the bird ringers were in and the Lower Test volunteer team were in digging out rhododendron root and then there was the usual school group at the Centre and rather more visitors than of late. By contrast I seemed to be racing around doing lots of little jobs of no great consequence, some days are just like that I suppose.

The bird ringers had a good morning and the catch included a couple of already fledged reed warbler, this is very early for young to be out of the nest. Although it was noticeable that many were paired up and nest building well before the end of April this year, it seemed that the females arrived almost at the same time as the males this spring. I also saw at least two broods of great spotted woodpecker out of the nest today, I always used to reckon it was the first week of June before they left, so they seem early as well.

I had a brief look at the lichen heath in the morning and found a ground bug, it turned out to be Graptopeltus lynceus, a classic species of dry, open ground, most common in the Brecks of Norfolk. The heath is very, very dry at present, so dry it crunches if you walk on it, so I don't unless I absolutely have to.
Later I was out on balsam patrol, the situation looks better than last year, perhaps we are beginning to make inroads. The swampy vegetation along the Dockens Water is looking very fine indeed, lots of flowers and lots of insects. The main white flower in the shot is hemlock water dropwort, but there was also water forget-me-not, skullcap, gypsywort and yellow flag.
I also got a rather better picture of the black colonel, Odontomyia tigrina soldierfly, this one is a female.

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