Thursday, 9 June 2011

Run, Run as Fast as You Can

Highlight in the moth trap this morning was a Rannock looper moth, a male, which flew off before I could get a picture. This moth is only resident in central Scotland in the UK, but occurs as a rare migrant elsewhere. Actually this year it is not so rare, with a few hundred already recorded in southern England and this follows a slightly smaller invasion two years ago. Other moths included eyed hawk moth, buff tip and lots of heart and dart.

Once again it was volunteer Thursday, unfortunately we were clearing ragwort yet again, although we have made significant progress so I am planning something else for next week, perhaps a bit of Himalayan balsam pulling....

I finally managed to retrieve the failed raft from Mockbeggar Lake today, although I had a hard job getting the mooring weights free of the mud and up into the boat. I am hoping to reuse the floats on a new raft to see if we can get terns to nest in a second location on the reserve.

At the end of the day when I went to lock up the Tern hide I was a little surprised to see a summer plumaged sanderling, I know they are late migrants but this one must almost have left it too late even for nesting in the very far north. However the most enthralling sight was the little ringed plover chicks away to the east of the hide. There are least three still and they were whizzing about in their usual hyper-active way. Then a young grey heron wandered down the shore, it spotted the nearest chick and started towards it, surely the chick stood no chance. The chick ran, then crouched in the stones, but the heron's eyesight was too good and it stalked up and fixed on the chick from about a metre, looking ready to strike, this had to be it for the chick. The heron hesitated, the chick got up and zipped off up the bank and out of sight, at least to the heron, circling round the chick rejoined the female and was brooded. It seemed incredible but the plover had got away and perhaps learnt a lesson in survival as well. The heron probably learnt that when you have a meal for the taking it pays not to hesitate, so the chick may not be so lucky next time.

Finally a little late news from this morning. The ringers were in catching some of the nesting sand martin, included in the catch was one bird ringed elsewhere in the UK and even more interesting a bird ringed in Spain.

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