Greys and blues

After Tuesday’s 120, grey heron numbers on Ibsley Water dropped down to 84 yesterday. The majority appeared to be juveniles, with just a few adult birds scattered amongst them. A bit too distant to photograph, but the photo below shows some of the numbers.

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Grey herons (and cormorants), Ibsley Water

Today’s highlight was finding a clifden nonpareil in the moth trap, a moth I had been hoping to see for many years.It was a absolutely pristine individual that after photographing we just had to try and encourage to show it’s blue under wings. Initial fears that it would fly off proved unfounded and it posed quite well on a nearby buddleia for a few photographs.

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Clifden nonpareil

It was great to finally see this moth after admiring it in books for so long. It appeared even larger in life than I had expected.

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Clifden nonpareil

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Clifden nonpareil underside

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Clifden nonpareil

We hoped it would nectar on the buddleia but it didn’t settle for long and soon took off, landing high on the trunk of a nearby alder tree. This species is usually considered a wander to Britain, although it seems to be becoming more frequent in the south in recent years. The caterpillars feed on the leaves of aspen trees of which there are a couple of stands at Blashford so it is possible we may see more of them in years to come.

Another photo which I didn’t get round to sharing was this grass snake that Michelle found peeping out the composting bin back on Tuesday. Grass snakes are regularly found inside the bin but this is the first one I’ve seen opening the lid.

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Grass snake

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