Christmas tree decorations spotted…

Not a great deal to report on the bird front – a few hundred house martins over Ibsley first thing, but fewer than earlier in the week and not a lot else to report. Even the great white egret had been keeping a low profile until a report of it flying up from Mockbeggar Lake heading west early this afternoon. The only other notable bird, for me at least, was a redhead goosander – others have seen the odd bird (up to three) over the week, but this was my first of the season.

However the warm autumn sunshine (after it had risen a bit and was actually warm; it was decidedly fresh first thing!) had a few dragonflies and butterflies on the wing, including speckled wood, large white and red admiral. The red admirals are  particularly common on and around over ripe blackberries at the moment. Didn’t manage to photograph one, or a common darter, but I did eventually catch up with a lovely migrant hawker:

Migrant hawker

 The light trap held a small selection of moths (9 species – the nights are definitely cooler now!). Not particularly stunning, but shown here simply because they tested my ID skills a bit (so hopefully correct this time!) are the bulrush wainscot, lunar underwing and common marbled carpet (pictured below in that order). I was particularly struck by the incredible camouflage of the carpet when it was on a piece of bark:

Bulrush wainscot

Lunar underwing

Common marbled carpet

However, the best find of all were these Christmas tree decorations – or egg cases of the wasp spider:

A Christmas tree decoration?

I don’t know about nationally, but certainly we have had more records of wasp spiders on the reserve this year than ever before, at at least four different locations. This was photographed amongst the soft rush on the approach to Goosander Hide where it was one of several, boding well for next year. Beautiful and intricately constructed, they are like little Christmas tree baubles! Most of the spiders seem to be gone, presumably dead now their “job” is done, so I was lucky to find this (albeit small) female still guarding her young:

Wasp spider AND egg case

Unfortunately her beautifully marked back is facing away from the camera, but still lovely to see – if you like this kind of thing that is!

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One thought on “Christmas tree decorations spotted…

  1. hi, really like the blog It has helped my partner and I loads in keeping up to date with the wildlife in our area.
    regarding your great white egret, we were at testwood lakes on Friday afternoon and to our surprise their was a lovely great white egret fishing around, I am not sure as to how much they would move around but thought it could be the same egret that you have at blashford.
    hope this information can help in piecing together the activities of your egret. unfortunately we are fairly new at bird watching so don’t go with tools to help identify rings etc.
    keep up the good work guys and galls – it is down to the work that you do that fuels enthusiasm from people like us!

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