Lots of wildlife today, mostly after work. The sun was shining when I got home and int he garden I spotted the tell tale darting form of a hummingbird hawk moth. These are so difficult to photograph, but I did get one distant shot of this my first “Hummer” of the summer.
The first hummer of the summer!
I am lucky to live close enough New Forest to be able to get out onto the heath after supper and before it gets dark. It was a perfect evening, although with rumbles of thunder not too far away, so we went out in search of silver-studded blue butterflies, one of the delights of summer and we found some getting ready to roost.
We also found various other insects settling down for the night, including a male keeled skimmer dragonfly deep in the heather.
black-tailed skimmer, male
One of the most obvious things we saw out on the heath were water droplet bejewelled spider’s webs. I think it was just moisture from the air that had gathered on the fine webs, it was very humid. The result was webs with huge amounts of water scatter all over them, this did not seem to be inhibiting the spiders which were still lurking in their tunnels and darting out to investigate movements on their web.
spider lurking in water bejewelled web
A pretty quite day at Blashford on Monday, the heavy showers kept people indoors and I can’t say I can blame them!
Despite the rain there was warm sunshine in between and this brought out a good few butterflies around the Centre, including silver-washed fritillary, red admiral, comma and small tortoiseshell, but best of all there was a humming bird hawk moth.
I walked the paths to clear any fallen branches brought down by the rain and strong winds of the weekend, approaching the Ivy North hide I saw a stick across the path, then realised it was moving, it was a large grass snake.
By the time I locked up the rain had passed and looking from the Tern hide I saw this black-headed gull, it was perched on the weed mat in front of the hide. As I have mentioned before I don’t think I have ever seen so much weed on Ibsley Water, or such thick mats of it, in fact this gull was perched on weed floating in 4 metres or more of water, although it looks pretty relaxed about it!
black-headed gull on weed
The gulls are starting to gather on Ibsley Water now, not in the numbers they will be later in the autumn but today I saw at least four yellow-legged gull (3 juveniles and 1 first summer), a pair of great black-backed gull with a fledged juvenile in attendance, and the usual scatter of herring gull and lesser black-backed gull. The lesser black-backs included one with an almost black, rather than dark grey back, so probably a bird from Scandinavia already on the move to wintering areas on the West African coast.