The day the rains came

The Fordingbridge U3A visited Blashford Lakes yesterday for an action packed evening of wildlife discovery! The evening started at the pond where we caught the first water stick insect of the year. We were also joined by a frog having an evening bath.

Water Stick Insect

Water Stick Insect

Then we headed down to the river for a paddle and fished out an array of bullhead fish in a variety of sizes and one male minnow. Next it was time for a well earned cup of tea before looking through the moth trap and then heading out on a walk with bat detectors. Unfortunately we were a little bit early to see any bats but we did stroll down to the Ivy South hide and listened to the squabbling gulls and terns as they settled down for the night.

The rain arrived as promised and we came in this morning to find that a willow tree was down across the path by the Woodland Hide. So after a morning out ragwort pulling on Ibsley shore with the volunteer team Ed and Adam were out cutting the tree down to size and clearing the path.

Ed and Adam clearing the fallen willow tree

Ed and Adam clearing the fallen willow tree

The rain also brought out another wave of tiny toadlets. So watch out them as you walk along the path!

At lunch time Jim and I checked out our recycled scissor holder ‘bee hotel’ and we were very surprised to see it was actually being used! One of the tunnels was closed off with leaf pulp.

Solitary bee nest

Solitary bee nest

In the tunnel next to it there was a female solitary bee busily building a cell with the leaf pulp in the next tunnel. The bee will fill the cell with a food supply of nectar and pollen before laying an egg in it and sealing it closed. After having a look through the books we know that it is not a leaf cutter bee as they seal their nests with pieces of leaf and it is not a masonry bee as they seal their nests with mud but we haven’t managed to narrow it down any further! If anybody has any idea of what solitary bee we have nesting behind the Centre please let us know!

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