For your eyes only

This morning the light trap sadly did not reveal another Scarce Merveille du Jour, or indeed as many species as yesterday, but there was still plenty to look at including a Spectacle, White and Buff ermines, Cinnabar, Clouded border, Straw dot, Snout and Poplar hawkmoth. The highlight however was this very fine Eyed hawkmoth:

Eyed hawk-moth

Eyed hawk-moth

Its camouflaged forewings blend in beautifully with the bark on a tree trunk, but when provoked (or re-located for a photograph) it flashes its hindwings to reveal startling blue and black eyespots on a pinkish background. Preferring to frequent woodlands and gardens, its caterpillars feed on a variety of trees including willow, of which we have plenty here at Blashford.

At lunch time I headed over to Tern hide to check our six ponies were present and correct, grazing the western shore of Ibsley Water. Whilst there I kept an eye out for the Little ringed plover chicks but sadly was not lucky enough to spot them, although the adult birds were very obliging, moving close enough for me to attempt a photo. Hopefully the chicks are hunkered down somewhere safe and out of site.

Little ringed plover

Little ringed plover

After repairing the shelter frame in our campfire area I decided to head over to our meadow as the oxeye daisies have been and still are looking stunning. We have been there a lot lately with school groups, who have enjoyed catching grasshoppers, crickets and damselflies, but it was nice to visit without 30 children in tow!

Oxeye daisies

Oxeye daisies

It was a bit too breezy for photographs, but I did manage to stalk one particular Common blue butterfly long enough to be rewarded with a photo…

Common blue

Common blue

…and on returning to the Education Centre caught this pair of goldfinches having a feast on our feeder.

Pair of goldfinches

Pair of goldfinches

My final wildlife encounter was this Wood cricket (I think!) which I discovered in our classroom, of all places. After catching it in a bug pot and discovering it prefers leaf litter in woods, I re-located it back outside into some suitably leaf-littered habitat.

Wood cricket

Wood cricket

Thanks too for the photos you’ve emailed across during the week. David Cuddon caught a lovely male Bullfinch on the feeder by the Woodland hide, who has become a bit of a regular visitor and delighted those visiting the hide during the week. Thanks also David for your lovely Blackcap and foxglove photos – the foxgloves outside the Woodland hide are certainly looking their best.

Bullfinch by David Cuddon

Bullfinch by David Cuddon

Blackcap by David Cuddon

Blackcap by David Cuddon

Fox gloves by David Cuddon

Foxgloves by David Cuddon

Steve Lovick was also fortunate enough to witness a grass snake basking outside Ivy South hide, enjoying the brief periods of sun and warmth before sliding away into the undergrowth. Thanks again for all your photos!

Grass snake by Steve Lovick

Grass snake by Steve Lovick

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2 thoughts on “For your eyes only

  1. Looks good for wood cricket, it is pretty distinctive and the only one of its species in England.

    It is also a pretty uncommon species! It is only really found in the New Forest.

  2. Thanks James! That’s good to know, we are on the edge of the New Forest and do have some suitably leaf-littered habitat on site, mainly the stretch that runs along the Dockens Water, and I think this is where it came from. Hopefully it’s back in its rightful place!

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