30 Days Wild – Day 6

A distinct chill in the air today, with a brisk north-west wind, such a contrast to just a week ago. The large raft we put out on Ibsley Water last year was taken over by black-headed gulls this year, I had hoped to cover it to encourage terns, but circumstances did not allow this. The gulls now have chicks and they seemed to be getting on okay despite the winds today.

black-headed gulls on raft

black-headed gulls on raft, with a few chicks just visible.

The cool conditions made for a poor day for insects, but one of the few I did see was a green-eyed flower bee resting on one of the Salvia flower heads in the planter outside the Education Centre. These bees are very fond of nectaring on the flowers and I suspect this one was feeding when it got  caught out when the brief sun went behind the clouds.

green-eyed flower bee male 4x3

green-eyed flower bee male

I spent a fair part of the driest bit of the day trimming path edges and passing places to enable people to walk round and maintain the required 2 metres social distancing. The car park is not yet open, but the paths are walkable, although we are asking people to follow the one-way signs we have put out to make distancing easier on narrow paths. The brambles are growing fast and I am now doing a light trim at least every fortnight, in amongst the brambles there are also other plants, including some roses such as this field rose.

field rose

field rose

 

 

30 Days Wild is here!

It’s the first of June which can only mean one thing, 30 Days Wild is here… if you didn’t see my last blog, it is a fun, feel-good challenge run annually by The Wildlife Trusts which aims to bring people closer to nature and take small actions on a daily basis that can collectively have a big impact, for their health, wellbeing and for the planet.

You can still sign up to the nature challenge throughout June by visiting the website here.

So, for day one of the challenge (I can’t promise I will blog every day, but between myself and Bob we may manage one most days…) I spent some time appreciating the insect life that is currently enjoying the raised beds outside the front of the centre.

The purple salvia seems to be the biggest draw and it has been covered in lots of green-eyed flower bees for most of the day, a new bee for me! They are quite small and very smart, with lovely green eyes and a noisy, high pitched hovering flight similar to other flower bees.

green-eyed flower bee

Green-eyed flower bee Anthophora bimaculata

I had decided whilst furloughed to try and improve my bee knowledge, spotting hairy-footed flower bees and early bumblebees in the garden, so these are a welcome addition.

Also enjoying the salvia today was a common carder bee:

common carder bee

 

Common carder bee Bombus pascuorum

Damselflies have been swarming over the beds and paving up to the Centre in large numbers all day and an emperor dragonfly has also been hawking overhead. A dark green fritillary also settled for a few minutes, the first I’ve seen this year, so hopefully we’ll get a few more sightings over the coming days.

We still have no news on when the car park will open, but Bob and I have been busy writing signage and putting it up around the reserve to aid with social distancing when we do open. Bob has also adjusted all the latches to the pedestrian kissing gates, bolting them up, so the gates can be pushed open more easily without everyone touching the same parts. Do keep an eye out for these changes when you visit next.