30 Days Wild- Day 29

Out with the volunteers again today continuing with work to prepare the grassland around Ibsley Water for grazing again, we have replaced a few hundred metres of fence and tidied up some of the old fence lines. With no grazing possible last year and recent rain, the grass is as long as I have seen it, although this makes it very popular with marbled white, which like a longer sward than most other species. It was also interesting to revisit parts of the reserve I rarely get to. This may sound odd as I work on site, but some areas are very difficult to get to without causing a lot of disturbance to the wildlife so we only go there when there is work to be done. One such is towards the northern end of Ibsley Water where we did some work laying over willows last year to give more cover along the shore, it looks really good now.

Ibsley Water shore with willows forming a thicket habitat

The main wildlife excitement of the day came from the moth trap, which contained two species previously unrecorded on the reserve and both were new to me. One was tiny, so easily overlooked Cosmopterix scribaiella is a recent colonist of the UK and still quiet local, the larvae mine the leaves of common reed, so it has plenty of habitat.

Cosmopterix scribaiella

The other was not so easily overlooked as it was a “macro-moth”, an olive crescent. This was for many years a very rare species with perhaps just a couple of local colonies in the UK, however in the last few years it has increased and now seems to be locally established in oak woods in S. England, probably benefiting from climate change.

olive crescent

The 30Days almost over now, just one day to go.

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