A much better day at Blashford today, with no more than the lightest of rain for a few minutes and a fair bit of warm sunshine. I made the most of the conditions and got outside for part of the day. As ever being out does rather increase the chances of seeing interesting things and when I was over at the Tern hide I saw a very smart adult female honey buzzard, it was flying steadily westwards over the lake being chased by 2 common tern. I was looking at the potential route of the new path that will connect the main car park with the Goosander and Lapwing hides, a development that we hope to put in place in time for the coming winter.
I went round the path as far as the Lapwing hide to check for any trees or branches down as I never made it there yesterday. There were none but close to the Lapwing hide the show of hemp agrimony and fleabane is superb and attracting lots of insects.
There were several species of butterflies, including very fresh speckled wood.
And green-veined and small white.
Walking back I could hear several Roesel’s bush-cricket, although I find they are no where near so loud as once they were, a sign of advancing age I’m sorry to say, but at least I can still hear them. I eventually found one rather worn male of the long-winged form.
I took a look at some of the temporary ponds we made a few years ago and was delighted to see that where they were once infested with the invasive plant Crassula helmsii this has now all but disappeared. I also found a lesser marsh grasshopper on the bare ground in one of the pools.
I then returned to my office work, but the interesting wildlife did not end there. Blashford was hosting a “Wild Day Out” today and this included pond-dipping during which one of the children caught a largish leech.
Looking closely we could see that it seemed to have a “hairy” underside.
In fact these were tiny little leeches, the offspring of this adult leech. Now I confess that leech identification is well outside my usual area but I think it might be Protoclepsis tesselata which is a leech that lives in the nasal passages of wildfowl, surely an unpleasant lifestyle even for a leech!