After a three week break of duty, it made a pleasant change to be opening up the reserve and be greeted by a common sandpiper immediately outside the Tern Hide. Ibsley Water bore its usual compliment of waterfowl. Mute swans were much in evidence, not only as their physical presence, but from the large scale scattering of innumerable moulted white feathers floating across the lake. Duck numbers are building up with representatives of several species including gadwall, tufted duck, wigeon, mallard and shoveler. As usual at this time of year it can be quite difficult to sort many of them out as the usually distinctive drakes have moulted into a somewhat drab ‘eclipse’ plumage, similar to the females. This is thought to be a survival mechanism, making them less conspicuous whilst they moult their flight feathers. Large numbers of lapwing are now making use of the shingle spit to the east of the tern hide and are accompanied by several (we counted fourteen) Egyptian geese.
Although we are still experiencing warm weather the numbers of insects have dropped dramatically since I was last here. A male Southern Hawker dragonfly was periodically patrolling the pond behind the Education Centre, but only a few large white butterflies and a red admiral were much in evidence.
The moth trap hasn’t been set out much lately, but Jim kindly put it on for us last night. Our reward was some seventeen species of moth, but the downside was a fairly large number of wasps – sorry don’t know what species – plus a couple of LARGE hornets, which made emptying the trap somewhat challenging…
Other ‘interlopers’ were this rather nice shield bug,
and a number of what , with their smooth outlines, look to me like water beetles
Not many of the moths were, to be frank, that dramatic or spectacular, although the rather ‘dead leaf’ looking angle shades is always good value
and also in among them this Frosted Orange
and a number of species with a distinct yellow (lemon?) hue, including this Canary-shouldered Thorn..