Beheading Elephants

The second day of Our Wetland Wildlife event went well. We also found out that Blashford Lakes had been listed by Simon Barnes in The Times on Saturday as the number 1 wetland site to visit!

A strange beheading highlight was in store for one set of visitors who witnessed an emperor dragonfly fighting a migrant hawker, which climaxed with the emperor dragonfly eating the migrants head!  They captured an amazing sequence of photos of the event and then presented us with the beheaded carcass. Much to my dismay over the next few hours the abdomen of the headless corpse continued to move (!) It continued to pulsate and periodically it would contract up its tail so it was curled up underneath and it also managed to excrete 4 poos! 

Headless Migrant Hawker

It has been quite busy with visitors today although wildlife sightings have been quite quiet. One visitor did report a lesser spotted woodpecker sighting as he was leaving the woodland hide. A few people have been in search of the great white egret with no success. However on most mornings recently the best views of the great white egret have been from the Centre lobby! You too can enjoy this experience by heading to our live webcam footage at: mms:// and trying your luck at spotting the egret by Ivy lake from the comfort of your own home!

With the good weather we are having there hasn’t been that much to report on passing migrants as most are carrying on south without stopping. A few of our migrants have arrived including a handful of wigeon on Ibsely water.

In a post earlier this year we blogged about the elephant hawk moth that we recorded in our moth trap over the summer. I can now reveal the meaning of the name with a photo of an elephant hawk moth caterpillar that was found at the weekend….

Elephant hawk moth caterpillar

Apparently it looks like an elephant’s trunk! They have 2 fantastic eyespots which I tried to capture in this last photo. They feed on willowherbs, fuchsia and bedstraw and once the hungry caterpillar has fulfilled its eating quota it will burrow into the ground and overwinter as a chrysalis.

Elephant hawk moth


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