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