30 Days Wild – Day 22

A busy day of path cutting and planning for the “New normal”, more accurately looking at what we can safely do and exploring new possibilities for education when site visits are more difficult.

Access to the reserve is now improving, the car park on the south side of Ellingham Drove is now open during the normal hours 09:00-16:30, seven days a week. The Education Centre, bird hides and toilets remain closed. The circular routes have been laid out as one-way, with signage, this makes social distancing easier as do the step-asides, which will make it easier to pass people. Cycling is not permitted in any case, but I would also urge that running is not really appropriate as it does not make it easy to access the step-asides in time to avoid getting too close. These measures will remain in place even if the social distancing is reduced to 1m, a sour paths are typically only 1.5m wide at most.

Some paths, such as that between Ivy Lake and Rockford Lake are too narrow to allow more than one or two passing points along their entire length and I would urge that people consider carefully if they should be using these.

Most of my wildlife encounters happened once I had returned home. In the mini-meadow the crow garlic heads are opening.

crow garlic

crow garlic

They are remarkably similar, at a glance, to the unopened flower heads of wild carrot. There were a couple of meadow brown catching a few late rays of sunshine, as was this female, low down in the grass.

meadow brown

meadow brown (female)

During the spring I made a bee hotel with I hung on the front wall of the house. Although it has not attracted lots of bees, there has been a wide variety of species. The mason bees have mostly sealed their holes, but now there are leaf-cutter bees.

leaf-cutter bee (male)

leaf-cutter bee (male)

Where there are nests there are parasites, such as this rather intimidating looking wasp Gateruption jaculator.

Gasteruption jaculator

Gasteruption jaculator (female)

30 Days Wild – Day 18

When I checked my back garden moth trap in the morning I found the catch included a mottled beauty, a very common moth, but still worth a second, or third look.

mottled beauty 2

mottled beauty

I had a day in the garden, or perhaps more accurately gardens. I started in my own with the moths and then visited a rather larger one. As well as the plants there were quite a few insects about, despite the overcast conditions. I saw my first summer brood small tortoiseshell.

small tortoiseshell

small tortoiseshell

There were also quite a few hoverflies, although this summer does seem to have been very poor for these insects in general. One I did find was a very smart Volucella bombylans, one of the better bumblebee mimics.

Volucella bombylans

Volucella bombylans

Back at home in the late afternoon I went to check out my “Bee hotel”, actually just a large block of wood with lots of holes of different sizes drilled into it. Many of the holes were occupied, some sealed up and some with occupiers at home.

bee at home

bee at home