Indeed with both warm and even sunny weather today, seemingly for the first time in weeks, there was much more invertebrate activity – including butterflies and damselflies (blue-tailed damselfly has joined the list of large red, common and azure) and for the first time in weeks there were more than a handful of species in the light trap, albeit not in large numbers. I was looking forward to a good haul when I removed the light and could see a reasonable amount just sitting there on top of the egg boxes:
In the end the overall count was not as many as I had anticipated, but included a few “seasonal firsts” and some of which are pictured below. Last nights catch included; 1 pebble prominent, 1 poplar hawkmoth (pictured, but not labeled for some reason!), 1 ermine, 1 muslin, 1 green carpet, 1 silver-ground carpet, 3 shuttle-shaped dart, 1 common wave and 2 cinnabar moths. In addition to the moths there were a few caddisflies, mayflies, parasitic wasps and my first cockchafer of the year!
The roe deer seem particularly prominent – yesterday I had a close encounter with a very handsome roe buck on the approach to the Woodland Hide and this morning these two youngsters were browsing along the path between the Woodland and Ivy South Hides:
They’re distinctive cream bottoms are quite prominent in the picture. They were not too perturbed by my presence and continued to browse as they carefully maintained a set distance between us as I approached along the path.
However, wherever there are winners there are losers and this certainly proved true today. Brenda was in checking nest boxes again with volunteer Jackie this morning and sadly a large number of nests, all at different stages, have been abandoned. On the upside she was able to ring 2 more broods of young blue tits and 1 more brood of great tits and of the great tit broods that had been rung in previous weeks 3 lots had fledged and she found one more nest being started.
It was while exploring the woodland to monitor the boxes that they came across this sad sight:
Although obviously very unfortunate for the bird itself, it was a joy to be able to marvel at a Hobby’s intricate plumage and razor sharp talons and beak at such close quarters. Almost certainly another victim of the unusually prolonged cold and wet weather, until today there just have not been the insects on the wing that would normally be its prey at this time of the year and this, coupled with the toll of a long migration from South Africa, was presumably just too much for it – you could feel it’s breastbone sticking out from its chest like a razor with no “meat” on it beneath its feathers at all. Hopefully todays weather is a sign of both a change in the weather and that of the invertebrates that rely on the better weather and in turn those predators that prey upon them.