High summer at the farmlands is something else. Its literally like looking into space with the bewildering diversity that just seems to go and on- could spend a day looking at one tree or one small patch. All I did was my standard walk (3-4 hours) along field north of bedzed, bikers, over Gunsite bridge through 100 acre, across Springmead and along the Southern Lake and then back through Flowers to the Obs- just a simple regular transect that I cover for the sake of gaining some kind of comparative information. The idea is tomorrow I'll cover the southern part of the site and I'm supposed to do that every weekend (give or take a bit of chaos theory). Here's a small sample of the things that allowed themselves to be photographed this morning. We need teams of observers/ recorders out on the farmlands- just so much more to discover over there. Trying to recruit new keyholders at the moment and hoping to get together a larger recording team- if interested please let me know (email@example.com).
Brown Argus- unlike other small brown butterflies i.e. female 'blues', no spot on the forewing underside is nearer than halfway in to the body. Also smaller than Common Blue- (the most likely confusion species at the farmlands). The Brown Argus has greatly increased in numbers in the UK over the last 20 years. It remains uncommon but annual at the farmlands (and presumably under-recorded).
Mother Shipton- the witches face in the wing is always a winner
Holly Blue coming down to a puddle
A couple of micros I need to id (any help always welcome) Epiblema sp?
Nemophora degeerella- always stunning to see this long-horn moth dancing in a glade
White Ermine- a good haul of moths last night (It's currently national moth night and was hoping to get two traps out but still waiting for a new actinic to arrive)
Mint moth on mint in the obs garden
This was a micro-scopic moth- photographed on the edge of a specimen pot for scale
Clouded Silver from the trap last night
Green Oak Totrix- quite a few of these alongside bikers/gunsite.
Diptera sp- a couple of these today.
Merodon equestris (hoverfly)- presumably one of the many colour morphs of this species that mimic bees
Red Kite- one or two birds floating around today causing the gulls grief
Greylag and young. This is big news as the first breeding record for the site. In Birdwatch magazine this month Richard Hearn, Head of monitoring at WWT says that Greylag Goose was re-stocked from the remnant native population in north-west Scotland (following overhunting across the UK). Therefore contrary to popular understanding Greylags round here are not feral but are reintroduced wild birds just like Red Kites, Considering Greylag Goose is the only native breeding goose in the UK this is a major reconsideration.
Adult female Linnet- a good year for breeding Linnets with two to three small colonies over the site
Plenty of juvenile Grey Herons around- the melanistic looking individual was on Jim's bed again
Summer plumage Black-headed Gull- a stunning bird in this plumage. The first adults are returning from the breeding grounds. There has been 4-5000 large gulls present on the tip all summer.
Mining bee sp on the obs Pyracantha flowers- its too much, trying to do the bee identification as well as the birds, moths, butterflies, hoverflies, dragonflies and plants. We need a whole larger community round here to monitor and manage things.
This has come up all over the place in the obs garden (Viper's Bugloss) - must have been in the seed mixes?
Something else to id
Happy with the Obs poppies (although I don't remember sowing them?)
Passing through 100 acre today, 1 Green Sandpiper, breeding waterfowl and lots of warblers in the rank vegetation - reminded me that this whole area is under threat as the transition from sludge bed to fully mechanised sewage treatment will be completed over next few years. This is the next battle!
The obs new pet- Shelob. It made a home in one of the moth holding tanks and now it gets to feast on the inadvertent collateral damage from the moth trap. Often lots of midges and the odd moth decide to die (end their often very short adult stage lives) at the bottom of the trap . I foolishly put a smaller species of spider in there to keep it company- Shelob ate it. (not sure about the ethics of all this- comments welcome).