My last blog seemed to be all about rain. My blog this time last year was all about how dry the reserve was and what would the caterpillars eat. Well, the brown argus, in particular, must have found something. I had a walk up the Heronry trail last week on a hot sunny day and opposite the “Bus Stop” there were hundreds dancing low over the short sward of vegetation. We have them here at Paxton Pits, because of the disturbed ground, where Geranium molle (Dove’s foot crane’s-bill) and Erodium cicutarium (Common Stork’s-bill) do well. They are most found elsewhere on chalk and limestone. Since then, I have seen them in profusion elsewhere on the reserve where the vegetation is short.
The Wildlife survey group enjoyed a gentle stroll around the arable fields recently. We found the first wasp spider of the year and then another was found. Another volunteer joined us later and said she’d found one on the Redlands area, the original place they were found on the reserve. Also, one was seen on the Dragonfly and Butterfly survey later in the week near the boardwalk on the Meadow Trail. Again, it was a concern, that last year very few were found because of the dry season and lack of suitable grassy areas. Other notable finds were some Bee wolf wasps and a large variety of crickets and grasshoppers, including Roesel’s Bush-cricket.(see above photo by Jackie Hill)
The season is certainly changing. The blackberries are lush this year and the sloes are ripening early. The birds are just starting to come out of hiding, while they moulted, and the gentle song of the dunnock and robin is lovely to hear again. Green sandpipers are back and juvenile little egrets are back on Heronry South.
The bird ringers continue to have an excellent season. The latest session showing the changing season with the end of the breeding season for migrant warblers. They caught adult Garden Warbler, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler all in the process of moulting their flight feathers in preparation of their impending southbound journeys.
There are still plenty of dragonflies to see. Darters are everywhere and on an early walk around the reserve the Migrant Hawkers warm up by hanging on small branches.
As usual, if you have anything to report about the wildlife at Paxton Pits, please let me know at email@example.com