Since Thursday evening something dramatic has happened to the breeding gulls on Ibsley Water, they have completely abandoned their nesting island. I know there were lots of large chicks still on there, so I can only assume that a ground predator reached the island and predated a lot of them. Perhaps most likely is that a fox swam out there and spent some time wandering about killing chicks, but it could have been an otter or mink. Luckily some of the chicks had already flown, so this was not a complete colony loss.
The moth trap overnight caught rather little, unsurprisingly as it was again very windy, with a few showers. There was one notable species though, a lunar yellow underwing, this is a species of very dry grassland and regularly found at only two sites in Hampshire. Curiously I have several times caught them on nights that would generally be thought of as poor for moths, I once caught three in a night of high winds and rain when the total catch was only twelve moths.
Wet and windy weather is not good for insects, unsurprising really as they mostly like warm sunshine! I found one casualty in the new Centre pond yesterday.
The rain and wind has brought down a few trees, a combination of wet ground and a heavy weight of leaves making them much more unstable. In the afternoon we suffered a power cut when a tree fell on the overhead power lines, hopefully to be restored by the start of the new working week. All trees will fall eventually and most will go onto have a value for wildlife, either by continuing to grow or by providing a deadwood resource. One group that uses deadwood are the slime moulds and I found what I think was one on a dead willow stump.
The patchy sunshine brought out good numbers of insects and other warmth loving species, after a few days in hiding they were keen to get active if they could.
I saw three different large female grass snake during the day, no doubt tempted out by the sunny spells, but not so warmed up that they were really active.
Other insects out and about included this distinctive click beetle.
There were also quiet a lot of solitary bees about, including this yellow-face bee.
Loving the yellow-faced bee…I shall be looking out for that one 😉