Moth trap highlight this morning was a privet hawk-moth, the first of the year. The picture shows it with wings spread, actually the wings are flicked periodically, presumably to look both larger and more threatening than it actually is and so scare off a potential predator. They really are very large moths, in fact the largest resident moth we have, beaten only by a few rare migrant hawk-moths.
The volunteers were in again today and we set off to clear Himalayan balsam, as we left the Centre is was fine an don the way to our working area we stopped at the Ivy South hide to take a look at the tern rafts, which the volunteers originally made and maintain each year. As we looked form the hide the rain suddenly poured down, making us wonder if our Thursday luck had run out. After a few minutes we headed out and started pulling the balsam along the lower part of the Dockens Water and the sky cleared and then the sun came out. The really pleasing part was that the number of plants we found was way down on last year, instead of dense stands of plants we found just scattered singles and a few small clumps, probably where we had missed a plant last year. The scattered plants were sometime very obvious.
Most were more concealed amongst the dense fen vegetation. In looking for them I did come across quite a few other plants including large areas of climbing corydalis, this plant clambers over more robust plants using tendrils to grab a hold.Various other wildlife was also found, a fox cub, a female scarce chaser, a nest of green woodpecker still with young, the others on the reserve had all fledged a fair while ago. On a patch of water mint I found this bright mint beetle.
Up to 6 Egyptian geese were reported today and I saw the single gosling this morning, still surprisingly small, I thought. The two small lapwing chicks still survive and there is a possibility that there is a brood of redshank, there were two adults calling anxiously but I could not see any sign of chicks.