Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Mowing Interrupted by Tiger

Another good moth night with a few more new species for the year including the blackneck a species I do not catch very often and last night there were two of them.
One of the commonest moths in the trap at present is the double square-spot one of a few species that seem to eat almost anything, or at least a whole range of herbaceous plants, but also the leaves of shrubs, if not trees. It is a species that does not vary much, or at least so I had thought, all the ones i had caught were pretty similar, until now. Today there was a very odd looking one in the trap, there are a couple of similar looking species, but this does not really fit then either, for now at least it is down as "just an odd looking double square-spot.
I spent a good part of the late morning and early afternoon cutting paths and ragwort around Ellingham Lake, along the way I found a scarlet tiger moth a species that tends to be very closely associated with river valleys, they are quiet common along the Avon, although I don't think I have seen one at Blashford before.
I have not grazed any ponies on the shore of Ellingham Lake this year, there was too little grass and they would have to have been moved off almost as soon as they arrived. The very poor soils do have their own flora though. Cudweed is common and other species include the dreaded ragwort and the bugloss, pictured below.
Having a late lunch at the Centre a grasshopper flew by, it looked very dark and for a moment I thought it might just be a woodland grasshopper, but it was not, just a very dark field grasshopper.
I also saw my first adult dark bush cricket of the year today and there were hints of a migrant insect arrival with single red admiral and painted lady butterflies.
Not many birds to report today, the oystercatcher pair with their two young were feeding right in front of the Tern hide, it is good to see them doing so well. We only ever seem to have two pairs but they rear young almost every year, which may not sound that surprising, but is actually very remarkable. In an life of perhaps twenty or thirty years, they really do live that long, each pair only need to rear an average of about three young to flying stage to replace themselves, allowing for mortality before the offspring breed. Our birds have reared eleven young between the two pairs in the last five years, so they are way ahead. They certainly do far better than most on the coast, as do our common terns. Perhaps the curious thing is why inland breeding is so rare in southern England, especially when it is so common further north and in Scotland.

No comments:

Post a Comment