Friday, 15 July 2011

To Hop or to Fly, That is the Question

I was determined to get a few pictures today, if only to break up the text since "Blogger" does not seem to allow paragraphs anymore. After concern about the willows going brown expressed last month and possibly now explained, this morning I saw two more problems for these trees. I took a look at some of the coppice we did last winter, usually we get a few stools bitten down, but this year they are all browsed to almost nothing. The culprits are roe deer and they have really hit them hard, I suspect we will need to fence off new coppice areas from now on. There are probably more deer in England now than at anytime in a thousand or even more years. Deer were kept in parks and if they stayed they were likely to come to a rapid end, these were often hungry times. It is hard to over-estimate the impact of deer on the structure and species composition of our woods and the likely effect that today's deer numbers will have on the look of the woods we will bequeath to coming generations.
The second willow under attack was just along the path from the coppice, this one had leaves yellowing from the ends inward, I have no idea what the cause of this is, but clearly the green photosynthetic material is being lost, which cannot be good for growth.
In the sunnier sections along the path sides and in various clearings there is now a good show of marsh thistle. These have rather small flowers born on very tall stems, sometime two or three metres high. It is a very popular nectar plant and a particular favourite of silver-washed fritillary, unfortunately I could not find one of the those, although there have been some about on the reserve in the last few days, all I got was a common carder-bee.
Although there were no migrant moths in the trap this morning there were still migrant insects about, red admirals have got much more common in the last few days as have marmalade hoverflies, although both breed here, neither over-winter in large numbers so each year the populations are boosted by immigration. This is one of the most recognisable of all hoverflies, being the only one to have more than one band on each abdominal segment, usually like this one with one broad and one marrow band on each.
After opening up and checking the moth trap it was out a ragwortin' that I went. It was too warm for comfort and when I stopped to refuel I took a breather and the sound of Roesel's bush-crickets again filled the air. I failed to get a picture again, this time the one I found was a male of the macropterous form, that is to say long-winged and when it went off it flew a goodly distance. A feature of the range expansion was apparently a rise in the proportion of these long-winged forms and it was clear why these types would spread more rapidly than those limited to the more conventional jump as a means of getting around. I did get one picture of a hope though, a meadow grasshopper male.
Not many birds to report from today, I saw a common sandpiper on Ibsley Water and there were 4 pochard with a mixed flock of birds on the same lake, the main component of which was about 325 coot.


  1. Really love your blog, and was lucky to see the juvenile Cuckoo earlier in the week just outside Tern Hide. If you need any help with blogger, just let me know! It seems ok for me at the moment!

  2. Pleased you like the blog. The cuckoo was around for most of the week and there are some great pictures of it, although not by me!

    I don't know why I am having trouble with Blogger, used to be fine, still getting web training tomorrow so maybe an improvement is on the way.

    An example is this comment, I don't know if it will post or not, always has before, but now I cannot post as me or I just get in an endless round of verifications. Drives me mad.