Catch the bug

Catch the bug was the name of the family “minibeasting” event this morning and despite a somewhat inauspicious start , driving through the rain to get here this morning, it did dry up and all of the participants were rewarded for their efforts by a wide variety of wildlife – starting with unashamedly non-invertebrate grass snakes at the pond! (You have to make the most of these opportunities, even if they are not the focus of an event!).

Spot the grass snake!

Not a great picture, but nonetheless a snake, and one of at least three in, or around, the pond today! They have been very reliable all week, despite, or perhaps because of, regular daily pond dipping sessions taking place all day everyday as a result of which they are fairly well habituated to coming and going around the pond boardwalk. 

Having viewed the snakes we had a look through the light trap, where elephant hawkmoths, burnished brass and stick like “the flame’s”, were the main attraction, before heading on down to the small meadow by Ivy North Hide to see what we could sweep into our nets:

What have we got in here?

Thankfully a bit of sun and a stiff wind had dried out the vegetation nicely and we were treated to a wide variety of invertebrates, including grasshoppers, crickets, bushcrickets, common blue damselflies, all manner of bugs and spiders. The most unusual catch (not because it is rare, but rather because they often evade the nets) was a lovely small skipper butterfly:

Small skipper

Bob is leading a walk on an insect bio-blitz theme tomorrow afternoon, so expect more invertebrate news tomorrow!

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