Saturday, 30 July 2011

Oh, what a night!

"Never work with children or wildlife" I think the saying goes. Foolishly I do both and on the whole derive a great deal of enjoyment and satisfaction from doing so. Unfortunately last night was one of the rare occasions where things did not quite work out so well...

I'm talking about the "Gloaming Glimpses" evening event - "join us for a twilight walk in search of baths, moths and tawny owls, before settling into the woodland hide to watch out for mammals" the blurb says. Well, we searched!

And searched.

And searched!

Net result? A couple of people glimpsed a bat from the woodland hide, a couple of others a rabbit and there was a possible, distant, roe deer sighting!

While in the hide there seemed to be a lot of moths flying in the clearing and as I said a bat was also glimpsed - were they out during our walk?


We had two dark arches moths on Bobs moth gloop (along with a few harvestman spiders and a solitary ground beetle and earwig) and all we picked up on the bat detector was a bush cricket!

Back at the centre and around the moth light we had a brimstone, mother of pearl and ruby tiger moth. Now you might think that an absence of moths might have been due to a deluge of bats. Sadly this was not the case - even at the centre there was only 1 pipistrelle (maybe 2!) hunting over the trap. Fortunately this managed to save the evening somewhat and everyone enjoyed listening to it via the bat detector and watching it in the moth light.

Looking on the bright side everyones experiences of a night walk can only get better and next time they do go out on a night time excursion they will be thrilled by everything they do see!

Although warm and overcast, it was a very bright night, and I can only assume that this is what caused our low wildlife count.

Certainly when I opened up this morning the badgers had been out last night - peanuts that had been untouched for days were gone, leaving carefully badger-tongue polished plums left behind in the bowl:



Lots of apples had also been munched (judging by the teeth marks in those left, partly by rabbits and/or squirrels, mice and/or voles and partly by deer). And, of course, when I checked the moth trap there was loads - including what I am convinced is a dark crimson underwing, but might be light crimson, but either way is a great find, both being rare New Forest speciality moths. Hopefully Bob will be able to provide a definitive ID from a photo. Also pictured below this is a ruby tiger moth - a relatively small moth, but quite stunningly scarlet and obviously the moth of the moment as the trap both last night and the night before was full of them:

Following a comment from Bob yesterday about the number of cherry plums in "Plum Wood" this year I went to have a look this afternoon only to find what can only be described as an obscene amount of fruit! It's no wonder we didn't see anything from the Woodland Hide last night - everything from deer to fox to badgers must have been over there eating fruit:

With a rather unfortunate side effect on their tummies:

It's a bit of an in-house joke that Michelle always does better on evening wildlife walks than I do, so hopefully she will have more to report after the same event repeated on Thu 18th August, 8-9.30pm (still some places left, but please book on 01425 472760).

Elsewhere on the reserve today the sun finally did come out this afternoon and with it the butterflies: ringlet, speckled wood, silverwashed fritillary, gatekeeper, brimstone, meadow brown, peacock, red admiral (probably others I missed!) and to top it off a hummingbird hawkmoth was seen feeding briefly on the buddleia at the back of the centre- as far as I am aware the first of the year.


  1. Yes a dark crimson underwing and a real quality reserve record. I just wish I had been there to see it!

    Bob (posted as anon as Blogger will nto let me be myself!)

  2. Never mind Jim I expect it was still enjoyable as you filelkd the gap with stories about what was usually there!!

    Same problem with Blogger comment as Bob - settings may need to be changed on your blog.

    Christine HWT member and birder

  3. Not sure its just the settings - the whole Blog could probably be improved as it does seem to get more and more problemati9c to use! Thanks for the kind words though!

    An also anonymous Jim!