A few birds, some moths and a nomenclature nightmare

I’ve had a fairly quiet couple of days on duty, with only a steady trickle of visitors to the reserve. Quite a few remarked on the lack of birdsong which I’d  already noticed. It’s still there but not in the volume or extent throughout the day as it was a couple of weeks ago. Blackcap, reed warbler  and garden warbler can all be heard but, presumably, are too busy tending to feeding duties to have time to sing for too long. The common tern are certainly putting on a good display and frequently squabbling with black-headed gulls on and around the rafts on Ivy Lake.

Little ringed plover can occasionally be seen close to the Tern hide but more usually offer only middle distance views on the peninsula to the right of the hide.

In a fit of optimism overcoming previous experience I decided to set out the light trap last night. You may remember that we’d stopped running it as a great tit was regularly plundering the catch of moths, leaving only a few wings to be identified.  Generally it’s been a fairly poor year for moths, probably a combination of the dreadful weather last year and the lack of any really significant spells of warm weather this spring.  We did, however, have some success last night, although nothing really rare, it as good to see some ‘old friends’,  including some fairly fresh looking specimens.

Light Emerald

Light Emerald

Pale Tussock

Pale Tussock

Poplar Hawkmoth

Poplar Hawkmoth

In my last posting I used the common names, or what I thought were the common names, herb robert and herb bennet,  in a word play on the names of our current and previous Reserves Officers at Blashford.   I was somewhat perplexed later last week  during the Thursday conservation task, when Ed (Bennett) referred to ‘his’ plant not as herb bennet but as wood avens.  Feeling suddenly unsure of my original identification I couldn’t argue and went home thinking I’d made a bit of a boob.  A little delving through the literature helped to unravel the mystery. It would appear that both names have been in common use. Worryingly for me it seems that herb bennet is now the ‘old’ name (in field guides from the 1980’s- ) whereas wood avens is the name used in the more modern Field Studies Council guide.  Perhaps we ought to just learn and stick to the proper scientific names – in this case Geum urbanum to save confusion.


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