Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Pale, Watery and Brooding

Bird News : Ibsley Water - dunlin 1, little stint 1, kestrel 2, greylag c300.
Not many moths in the trap this morning, but there was one of my very favourite species a merveille du jour, a moth perfectly designed to be camouflaged on a lichen covered branch.
Amongst the moths there were lots of caddisflies and several mayflies, including one small one with yellow eyes and bold markings. I had not seen one like to before but it seems to be Beatis fuscatus, the pale watery. The picture I got was only of it on the egg boxes in the moth trap beside a large wainscot.
The Lower Test volunteer team were working at Blashford today, cutting on the shore of Ibsley Water. The low cloud made for a rather brooding scene.
The main task was to cut and clear the island in the north-west corner of the lake, this island is used by the nesting gulls, tufted and other ducks and oystercatcher, important because ground predators like fox cannot get out there. If the vegetation gets too tall or woody most of these specie swill not nest, hence the need to cut it. You can just make out the workers on the island in the picture.
Over the last few years we have been cutting the banks of nettles and creeping thistles that grow on the bunds of topsoil stripped away to expose the gravel to be excavated. We are winning and it is increasingly becoming grass and low herb dominated. This allows grazing by wildfowl and makes it suitable for nesting lapwing. One consequence is that sometimes when we cut in July we set back flowering, which then happens later in the year. Today we came across a group of flowering dark mullein plants, normally they would have flowered a couple of months ago.

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