Autumn in the Air

The nights are getting longer and the days cooler, there is certainly at least a whiff of autumn in the air. Opening up the hides this morning I saw 2 yellow wagtail beside Ibsley Water, these only pass through Hampshire in spring and autumn these days now that regular breeding has ceased. Flocks of swallows and martins confirmed this theme of summer passing away as they garther prior to migrating southward.

robin

robin

Perhaps not thought of as an obvious sign of autumn, but a robin in fresh plumage is exactly that. In late summer they look very tatty as they undergo their moult, as autumn kicks in they start to show off their bright new feathers, just like this one that is often around the picnic tables.

The moth trap is also now attracting typical autumn species, such as the aptly named autumnal rustic and the beautiful frosted orange.

frosted orange

frosted orange

As regular, or even occasional visitors will know, Blashford has a lot of nettles and one of the moth species that eats them as caterpillars is the burnished brass. Recently it has been established that there are actually two species of burnished brass, one with the brassy area split into two and the other with them fused. Today we caught one of the later type, or at least one that has the characteristic fused brassy areas, resulting in it being called the fused burnished brass.

fused burnished brass

fused burnished brass

My last picture is also from behind the Centre, it is a poor snap, but so far the best that I have got, of the raft spider on the pond.

raft spider

raft spider

Other wildlife records today were rather few, the great white egret was again on Ivy Lake and a couple of common sandpiper were on Ibsley Water. At lunchtime, in a brief sunny spell there were painted lady, small tortoiseshell, red admiral and large and small white flying around the buddleia bush.

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