It is a while since I last wrote my blog. One of the reasons is that Mike and I have been away in the south-west, where the wildlife is a little different and we see new species for us.
However, it is also rather exciting when we have a new species for the reserve and that was the case yesterday on the Dragonfly Day.
Ellie, from the British Dragonfly Society, came with her gazebo and stayed in the V.C. garden to advertise the society and let children (and adults) make dragonflies out of pipe cleaners. Ian ran the day in parallel with our monthly dragonfly and butterfly transect and invited members and the public to join us. What a great turn out! So much so, we divided the morning’s group into 2. The weather forecast was right for a change. It said a possibility of rain at 11.0a.m. and as we started the first walk this is what happened! Fortunately, it was a fine mizzle and didn’t last long and it kept the damsels and dragons down on the grass, so they were easier to see and take their photographs. By the time we reached the lower meadow the dragons were flying and there were good views of chasers, emperors and green-eyed hawkers. I saw my first brown hawker of the season. The butterflies were also rising. The walk was very slow, as there was so much to see, and 2 hours flew past. Lunch was a little late in the Visitor Centre Garden! We also stopped to look at other wildlife, such as the orchids. There are lots around, but very few bee orchids this year.
Some stayed on for afternoon and extra people came along for the 2nd part of the transect, which takes us down to the Moorings. The meadows there were full of meadow browns, and one of my highlights, lots of skippers, both large and small. Although unfortunately no Essex Skippers. There was a lot of discussion about the dragons flying, as they were not landing. Were they Emperors or Southern hawkers? In the end, we decided there was a mixture. There was lots going on in the old ferry landing pool and a lot of time was spent there.
We then had to decide, as to whether to carry along the river, as time was moving on. the time taken to make that decision meant we saw the new butterfly for the reserve (the second new species of the year)- A White Admiral!
Apparently, honeysuckle is one of its food plants. Hopefully more will be seen. Let us know if you do.
Bird Ringing is much more positive this year. If you would like their reports, please let me know. They were particularly excited to have both an adult and a junior Kingfisher to ring.
Bittern has been seen several times in the last month around Hayling and Rudd Pits. I wonder if it going to stay longer and find a partner for next year. Fingers crossed!
The numbers of nightingales look as if they will be similar to last year with one or 2 territories closer to the Visitor Centre. More good news.
Finally, there also seems to be at least 2 pairs of Barn Owls around. Perhaps that shows that small mammals are doing well. We will be doing some more trapping next week, which will give us some more information.
I’ve rambled for long enough. As usual, I am always interested in your sightings. Please let me know at friendsofpaxton-pits.org.uk