30 Days Wild – Day 18 (already!)

Quite a rare event today, it rained from the time I arrived at the reserve until I left, admittedly it was not raining much by late afternoon, but still enough to get damp.

a rainy day at Blashford

The moth trap was fairly busy although with few moths of particular note, there was one migrant, which was also one of the smallest moths in the trap, a diamond-backed moth. They migrate here each year, sometimes in mind boggling numbers.

diamond-backed moth

This year has already been quite good for migrant moths with several rare species turning up around the country, although so far, none in any trap that I have run!

There were lots of caddisflies and a single click beetle. This is a species I first knowingly saw only recently at Linwood and like most “new discoveries” when I look them up the books say something like “common and widespread”. Of course once you have seen one you start seeing more, and so it is with this rather smart little beetle.

Denticollis linearis

I grappled with office work all morning, but had to get out in the afternoon. The recent weather has resulted in a growth spurt by vegetation all around the reserve and today’s heavy rain has caused a lot of it to collapse over the paths, loads of work to do in the next few days. I have worked in nature conservation more or less all my working life, you might imagine this is mostly about managing habitat for wildlife, but in reality it is mostly about managing access for people, but trying to do it with proper consideration for nature. Hopefully maximising the opportunity for people to experience nature whilst keeping the chance for wildlife to thrive. Personally I regard this as just good land management, a standard that we should expect to see everywhere, nothing at all special. Some places will have more people and some more wildlife, but the idea sometimes put around that there is no need to consider nature in, for instance a park, because it is for people and okay because nature can live on nature reserves, seems to me ludicrous. People need nature and nature should be everywhere in all its variety and abundance.

My afternoon walk was decidedly damp, but it was interesting to see a few of the plants adapted to life in environments where freshwater is short looked in the rain. Hare’s foot clover often grows on dry seawalls or gravels, where they can withstand extremely dry conditions.

hare’s foot clover

The hairy leaves and flowerheads all had huge water droplets, presumably an adaptation to enable it to gather as much water as possible when it is available and channel it towards the plant base, it would work with mist or dew as well as rain. We have a good population of the typically coastal annual beard grass, a species that is able to grow in places wet in winter but very dry in summer.

annual beard grass

2 thoughts on “30 Days Wild – Day 18 (already!)

  1. Two hairy plants I have never heard of before that I shall look out for. I got a very long antennaed tiny moth recently Bob, I shall get a photo to you somehow, perhaps you can id it đŸ™‚

  2. Really interesting to learn about the plants and their adaptations. Also, I completely agree with you about the need to always consider nature – as you say, people need it, whether in a park or wildlife reserve!

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