With a distinct chill in the air and very little sunshine I wasn’t surprised that the day never really got started. True there was plenty of birdsong from blackcap, chiffchaff and song thrush, among others, right across the reserve, but it never really ‘felt’ like a spring day – more typical Bank Holiday weather. Wren song was almost constant and it looks like a pair are nesting in front of the Ivy North hide close to where a grey heron was doing its impression of the, now departed, bittern – skulking through what remains of the reedbeds.
Near by a pair of shelduck were in close attendance on one another and the males aggressive defence, chasing off another shelduck from the other side of the lake, must surely indicate they are planning on staying in the area.
Elsewhere on Ibsley Water at least two each of ruff and little ringed plover were in evidence as were a pair of Mediterranean gulls. The hobby, presumably the same one previously reported, was seen to disturb and disperse the sand martins that had been hanging around the nest bank under the Goosander Hide. No sign of any osprey and, given the details reported by Bob Chapman in an earlier posting, the one reported from Friday is almost certainly on its way north.
The cooler weather depressed the numbers of insects in evidence and the haul in the moth trap wasn’t impressive, but included one lunar marbled brown, although it caused a bit of head scratching as the lunar marks – two crescent shaped ‘lunar’ black lines on the white band towards the end of each wing – were tucked in close to the grey band further forward and so were not immediately obvious until viewed in an enlarged image. The closely related Marbled Brown may be discounted on grounds of its later flight period , late May to early July.
Also in the moth trap , and obviously not having realised it was intended to catch moths, was this caddisfly. no identification attempted as one of possibly nearly 100 species in the New Forest area, but I thought as Michelle had shown some pictures of the nymphs with their protective casing of old snail shells last week, it might be nice to show you an adult
Perhaps the most spring-like feature of the day was the sprinkling of colour from violets and celandine plus this rather striking bright yellow daisy like flower of leopardsbane, a non-native species, but which here seems to be flowering earlier than the books might suggest.
The name imbues the plant with an aura of mystery surrounding how it was perceived or perhaps used in herbal remedies or such like. I like to think it’s the reason we don’t have any very large, spotted, feline carnivores on the reserve….