Thursday, 16 June 2011

Thursday Magic

The day started with heavy rain, which got heavier before stopping just in time for the volunteers, the Thursday magic worked again. We worked in increasingly warm sunshine, path clearing, pulling ragwort and Himalayan balsam for a couple of hours. Having got back and put the tools away it started to rain again and then did so on and off for much of the afternoon.

The cloud overnight did not produce as many moths as I had hoped, but there were quiet a few "micros", mostly Tortrix moths. The smaller moths are often worth a closer look, some mimic bird-droppings, a good strategy if you want to avoid being eaten by a bird. Others go for getting lost in leaf litter and come in shades of grey and brown, like the Celypha striana below.

Some, however are little gems, but you do need to get in close to appreciate them, the one below has a tremendous mouthful of a name, Pseudargyrotoza conwagana.

At the end of the day we got down to the Ivy South hide and had a good look at the common terns on the rafts. I reckon there are sixteen pairs actively feeding young, I think there have been up to eighteen pairs, but the others either never laid or have abandoned the attempt. The sixteen pairs have done well though, there are still at least forty-two chicks, some of which should be flying in a day or two. Given that a tern colony is regarded as having a successful breeding season if they rear an average of one chick per pair, we will be well ahead if they fledge the majority of those still alive.

Elsewhere there was little to report, the mute swans on Ibsley Water have now built up to 65 and have a single black swan with them. The geese are gathering to moult and must number well over 300 now, although getting a good count has been impossible so far.

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