Monday, 20 June 2011

First Flight II - Three Good Terns

A calm cloudy night and so the moth catch was pretty good, the pick of the trap was a new species for Blashford, a Pyralid called Phlyctaenia perlucidalis a species that used to be considered very rare in Fenland areas, but which has spread in recent years, although this seem to be the first record inland on the Avon Valley.
Rather more attractive was a very fine burnished brass, a moth that is very common, the caterpillars feed on nettle, but which is not often seen unless you run a moth trap.
Opening the hides I was delighted to see that at least three of the common tern chicks are now flying and several more look as though they could if they wanted to. I also got a better count of the birds, it seems that there are sixteen pairs still actively using the rafts and they have forty -four chicks.
During the dry spell this morning we had another go at some of the ragwort, a favourite task, but in this case it had compensations. On the bank near the main entrance we came across lots of meadow brown and my first small skipper and marbled white of the season. I got a picture of the skipper but the marbled white would not stop.
It was not all butterflies though, I also found a soldier-fly, Oplodontha viridula, not at all rare but always good to see, the spotted eyes are something I don't usually notice, but they show well in the picture.
On the same bank we also came across a single pyramidal orchid these seem to crop up here and there on the reserve, often in otherwise very ordinary grassland.
The recently hatched lapwing brood near the Tern hide is still whole, with all four chicks surviving despite the wet weather. I am not sure if any of the little ringed plover chicks still survive, I could not see any of them today. The largest lapwing chick is certainly able to fly now, although it is still near the Tern hide with the female.

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