Saturday, 4 June 2011

Goodbye Mr. Prickles

Relatively uneventful morning filling bird feeders and ensuring that the tutor of the photography course running each Saturday throughout June had what he and his attendees required before catching up on the e-mails and post that had accumulated since I was last in on Wednesday.

Snatched this blurry picture of a middling sized grass snake in the compost bin before my discarded apple core and orange peel disturbed it and caused it to burrow in to the heap:

After lunch I ran through the moth trap, which along with the usual moths (including ermine, grey arches, iron prominent, poplar hawkmoth and lobster moth amongst others) and caddis flies, also included more than a few mayflies, including that pictured here:

It seems that while I was looking down at the trap I missed the red kite over the car park, photographed by one of the several photographers patiently waiting in the center car park for shots of great spotted woodpeckers feeding their fledged young.

Coming back into the office I found a note had been posted under the door reporting that a very sick/distressed hedgehog was curled up in the middle of the path adjacent to the screens overlooking Mockbeggar Lake - having kept up with the blog over the bank holiday weekend and spoken to Michelle earlier in the week I feared the worst, but headed up on an errand of mercy with bucket, gloves, water and cat food. Unfortunately although I did find Mr. Prickles, he was no more, no doubt having succumbed to dehydration and a shortage of earthworms. Unusually for a hedgehog he was not covered in mites and fleas as they normally are - a sure sign that he had not been well as, like rats on a sinking ship, they do tend to "flee" their host when they are fading away. What was hanging on for the time being at least were a large number of ticks. So, goodbye Mr. Prickles - hopefully we will get a decent spell of rain soon that will help those birds and mammals that rely on soil invertebrates fare better than they are at the moment... ideally to fall overnight leaving glorious summer days for all of the groups visiting the reserve this summer!

The upside of my call out was an opportunity to explore the Lapwing area of the reserve and the seasonal footpath - highlights being five fallow deer does (including dark and blond ones) and the orchids growing amongst the coltsfoot, marestail and reeds:

bee orchid (just opening):

and common spotted orchid:

And finished off the day keeping a weather eye on the chaos ensuing around Tern Hide car park, the water ski club and Ellingham Drove while the entrants of tomorrows New Forest Races triathlon event arrived, parked their car where it suited them and headed off to "rack" their bikes in preparation for their race tomorrow!

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