Blog Archive (5) Posts Made in August 2020
Thursday, August 6th 2020
'Family bubble' minibeast safaris have been taking place this week. Much fun has been had searching around the outdoor classroom for invertebrates such as spiders, worms, woodlice, slugs and snails!
Other finds included frogs and newts.
If you would like to have a go then there are still limited sessions available to book on 12th August, for more details please see the events page.
Thursday, August 6th 2020
Government guidelines mean that anyone using the Field Centre from Saturday 8th August must wear a mask. Please bring one with you if you intend to come inside.
Thank you for your understanding.
Tuesday, August 4th 2020
The clearing of the duck trap by volunteers paid off and already three young Mallards have been caught and ringed. They were fitted with a BTO ring then weighed and their wing measurements were taken before they were released back onto the lake.
This brings the total of Mallards ringed at the reserve to 15.
Monday, August 3rd 2020
Some of the bird ringers spent a few hours at a reed bed on a different site and caught 65 birds including 12 Reed Buntings and 10 Reed Warblers. This adult male Kingfisher was a highlight of the morning, it was a new bird (one that had not been ringed before).
The cobalt blue on its back was striking and one of the features used to identify it as a male.
Another colourful bird was a juvenile Green Woodpecker. These stunning birds are the largest of the three breeding woodpecker species found in the UK and unlike the others they rarely drum on trees and prefer to feed on ants.
Although ordinary in appearannce, this Spotted Flycatcher was another unusual bird for the ringers to encounter. As the name suggests, they enjoy feasting on flying insects, which they catch mid-flight. Butterflies, moths, damselflies and craneflies make up this bird’s diet. Wasps and bees also feature, which it makes safe to eat by rubbing the sting end on its perch, removing it.
It was a fascinating ringing session with some very special birds including a Cetti's Warbler that had been ringed eleswhere (a control) and a new juvenile one too. It will be interesting to find out where the Cetti's Warbler was first ringed.
Saturday, August 1st 2020
A new flower was added to the species list last week; Great Mullein. Just a single one was found along the access road not far from the Field Centre. The yellow, candle-like flower spikes of this impressive flower can reach up to 2m in height. It prefers dry and grassy ground, including gardens, waste ground and roadside verges. It is a biennial, spending its first year as a rosette of furry leaves, and producing its flowers in its second year, between June and August.
As if by coincidence, visitors photographed a Mullein Moth caterpillar in the same week. The larval foodplants of this moth include wild and cultivated mulleins, Common Figwort (pictured here), Water Figwort and buddleias.
The moth recorders had another good catch, a highlight was this Antler Moth with its diagnostic cream antler like mark. This moth is on the wing from mid July to mid September, it is attracted to light during the night but also flies during the day.
Early Thorn is another distinctive species; the resting position of this moth distinguishes it from all other British thorns, with wings held back and close together, similar to a butterfly. The caterpillars feed on a variety of deciduous trees, including Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa), Hawthorn (Crataegus), Hazel (Corylus), Silver Birch (Betula pendula), Alder (Alnus) and Sallows (Salix) all of which are abundant at Foxglove!