This week has been very busy strimming paths and pulling ragwort, but I’ve managed to still devote some time to trying out my new sweep net and seeing what’s out and about at Fishlake Meadows and Blashford Lakes.
Day 15: Delivering some more butterfly transect training at Fishlake Meadows, despite the sunny and warm weather we unfortunately didn’t see many butterflies at all. It did seem there was a bit of a quiet period between the early butterflies finishing and the later ones hadn’t quite made it out yet. Luckily, now there are lots of butterflies on the wing again. After the training I tried out the new sweep net and caught lots of different interesting insects, including this yellow and black longhorn beetle, which is also its name!
Day 16 & 17: I was off over the weekend and was particularly busy so called upon a couple of sightings from Blashford Lakes when I was there on the 14th. Firstly this dense patch of biting stonecrop with its lovely star shaped flowers. It also has a very strong peppery taste, there seems to be a lot of it about at Blashford at the moment. At the end of the day I joined Bob to have a look through the moth trap and was treated to many hawk-moths, all looking beautiful. Here is just one of the pictures I took, an elephant hawk-moth and an eyed hawk-moth.
Day 18: I took the time to have a look around my garden after work and was pleased to see that I finally had a poppy growing through after seeing so man across the road for such a long time. I also noticed some selfheal coming in to flower that I don’t think I had seen in the garden last year.
Day 19: I was at Blashford Lakes again, pulling ragwort along the shore of Ibsley Lake. It was a very hot and humid day so the volunteers and I made sure to take it slowly and spent plenty of time admiring the insects and flowers around us. There also seemed to be a bit of a mass emergence of marbled white butterflies, they are such attractive butterflies. I was only able to get 1 photo that was particularly poor, but the ox-eye daisies look lovely. Hope you can spot the marbled white!
Day 20: Today I was at Fishlake Meadows having a walk around with past colleagues from my previous job at Hampshire County Council. We saw lots of sedge warblers, reed buntings and even a female cuckoo who probably won’t be around much longer. I took the chance to take a photo of some yellow loosestrife that poses nicely at the side of the East/West path. Whilst pausing to look at it we managed to see a male and female loosestrife bee.
Day 21: A really hot sunny day at Blashford Lakes with the Thursday volunteers, we were raking up grass that Bob had cut earlier in the week. As we worked along the paths I saw lots of different wild flowers, so decided to highlight some of the different ones there. In order of the photos below; there was St John’s Wort, I have to confess I didn’t investigate it closely enough to see what species it was. There was also agrimony, with its delicate yellow flowers arranged in a spike. Followed by another yellow flowering plant with jazzy purple hairs on the stamens, dark mullein is another beautiful plant. Finally a mallow with its candy floss pink flowers and delicate cut leaves, I’m fairly sure this is a musk mallow.
Next week (this week really as I’m a bit late with this blog) I will be getting Fishlake Meadows ready for cows coming on, with the volunteers at Blashford and In an all staff meeting. I then have a day off, with the last 2 days of the month on holiday in the Forest of Dean. I’m sure I will still find lots of wild things to report back on.