Sunday, 6 November 2011

Red Crests and German Wasps

Bird News: Ibsley Water - red crested pochard 5 (4 drakes, 1 duck), green sandpiper 1, dunlin 7 (but I only saw 5), pochard c30, yellow-legged gull 3+ (at dusk), Egyptian goose 3, peregrine 1.
Ivy Lake - Cetti's warbler 1 (calling), water rail 1 (calling).
The night was cool and the moth trap contained rather little as a result, but this little did include a December moth.
There was also another well furred species, a sprawler.
As it was the first Sunday of the month, nine volunteers came in today. Unfortunately my plans for the morning were scuppered by reports of an escaped pony, so off we went to try and reunite it with the other seven. For some reason a whole section of fence had been knocked over, I would guess that the animals had been spooked or chased and blundered into the fence in the dark. After a certain amount of discussion we arrived at plan and better still it worked. The fence was then repaired and we returned to the Centre. We now had only half an hour to do something so we sorted the tools in the store so that we could make enough space to stack the maize sweepings we were donated yesterday, it makes ideal winter feed for finches.
We also sorted some rubbish and came across a group of queen wasps gathered for hibernation, they appeared to all be German wasps.
The three dots on the front of the face along with four on the rear of the thorax identify the species. Although this does not seem to have been a really bumper year for wasps at Blashford there do seem to be a very large number of queens about now, perhaps the warm autumn has enabled more than usual to be produced.
The bird highlight of the day was the group of 5 red crested pochard that spent the day near the northern shore of the lake. The very bright, clear light made the drake's ginger heads and red bills shop up well even at the long range.

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