Ground-hopper Day

Bird News: Ibsley Watergreen sandpiper 1, osprey 1. Ivy LakeCetti’s warbler 1.

Yet another day with temperatures of over twenty degrees and butterflies all over the place. The volunteers were in and the tasks today were finishing off some dead hedging and getting the seasonal path ready for opening. As I will not be back at Blashford until Sunday I decided to open the path today, it is open from the start of April to the end of September, so this year there will be a couple of bonus days.

The continuing warm conditions are good for the moth catches and last night I had two new species for the year. The first was a rather splendid herald.

herald

These moths over-winter as adults so this one might be five months old already and could fly into May. The second new species was rather less impressive, a powdered Quaker.

powdered Quaker

After lunch I had a quick look at a small patch of habitat not far from the Center that is unique on the reserve. It is an area of acid bog, with bog myrtle, royal fern and patches of Sphagnum moss. It is not large but an interesting addition to the habitat range on the reserve.

Sphagnum moss, possibly S.palustre

The area is also good for ground dwelling invertebrates and I found lesser marsh grasshopper there last year, a new reserve record. At this time of year there is no point looking for grasshoppers though. That does not mean there are no Orthoptera to be found, hunting around I came across at least two slender ground-hoppers. I really like these tiny relatives of the grasshoppers, they come in lots of colour forms and over-winter as large nymphs so are adult in spring before all the other Othopteran species. They can swim and even dive under the surface! There are three species of ground-hoppers in Britain, of which two have been found on the reserve and I am seeking the third and rarest, so watch this space.

slender ground-hopper

I saw at least 3 grass snakes today and heard of an adder being seen to the south of the Ivy South hide, an area that is well away from their well-known haunts on the reserve.

The bird of the day was undoubtedly the osprey that flew north over Ibsley Water in the mid-afternoon, unfortunately I did not see it and I don’t expect it will be back as spring birds are in a hurry to get to their nesting territories. In the autumn they will sometimes hang around for a week or more feeding up before crossing the Channel.

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One thought on “Ground-hopper Day

  1. The photos you send with the posts are really good. The moths particually so, as I know so little about them.
    I saw your Osprey on Tuesday to the east of West Moors, it was at a good hight and flew off in your direction. Perhaps it has been resting up?

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