30 Days Wild – Day 25 – The Heat is On

When I checked the moth trap in my garden I was surprised to find 2 leopard moth! In some years I don’t see any at all and this year we have had them a few times at Blashford and now two at home on the same day.

leopard moth male

leopard moth male

When they are disturbed they don’t fly, but adopt a strange curled posture, at the same time the abdomen is lengthened, the effect is rather odd. Although it does not look like  a wasp or anything obviously threatening it does look like something you would think twice about picking up, which I guess is the idea.

leopard mopth male curled

leopard moth male curled

I was at Fishlake for the morning waiting for a delivery meaning that I did not get to Blashford until the afternoon. It was very hot and lots of the insects had taken cover in the shade. Out on the hot shingle beside Ibsley Water I spotted two half grown little ringed plover chicks, running about very energetically, hopefully they will fledge and join the two others that have already become independent.

Out on Ivy Lake the common tern chicks were less keen on the heat and were standing around panting, however they are growing well and I expect the first ones will be flying in a few days.

What’s in My Meadow Today?

It is looking very dry now, much of the grass is yellow or pale brown, but most of the meadow perennials are deep rooted and still look more or less okay. A lot of the earlier flowering species are  going to seed now. Looked at closely the seeds of meadow buttercup look rather like a Medieval mace.

meadow buttercup seedhead

meadow buttercup seedhead

Although they do not look as though they would be very good at it, I assume the hooks aid dispersal by getting caught on animal fur, or maybe botanist’s socks.

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30 Days Wild – Day 25: Very Black and White

I made a brief foray to the coast in the morning and was rewarded with the sight of a pair of avocet with two chicks. The parents were very alert, using their typical contact call to keep in touch and a very distinctive alarm call whenever a great black-backed gull or similar predator was spotted. The chicks obviously knew exactly what this meant and immediately stopped their feeding on the open mud and ran into the long grass beside the lagoon.

I managed two very poor shots of one of the feeding adults, they were much too active for digi-scoping.

avocet

feeding avocet

Although broad sweeps of the surface layer are the typical method of feeding there were times when there was a need to get further in.

avocet 2

Deep feeding

Avocet are not the rarity they once were and a real conservation success story, they are also one of those species that sort of demand to be looked at.