Small, but a Beauty

small brindled beautyNot much to report from today as I was away at a meeting of the New Forest Non-Native Plants Forum, but the moth trap was run and along with the common Quaker and clouded drab there was a single small brindled beauty. The feathered antennae are used by the males to detect the pheromones released by the females.

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Moth-er’s Day

A two-in-one posting today, as I didn’t get round to one yesterday.

The diminished activity of bittern has been one feature of the last two days. Although there have been some good views of one,  seen regularly throughout the day from the Ivy North Hide, there is little evidence of more than one being around.   Having said that, to my certain knowledge there were at least four people who had their first ever views of bittern today and another visitor (from Kent , where they have breeding bittern!)  ventured to say that he’d had his best views ever and added that he’d had one of his most memorable days of birdwatching with  excellent views of brambling and  lesser redpoll  from the Woodland Hide, which he described as ‘magic’.

With the bittern, by way of diversion, there was a snipe, hunkered down in what remains of the now somewhat ragged and tatty remnants of reeds and reedmace. A kingfisher was also seen from Ivy North.

A range of waterfowl species are still present, but in smaller numbers.  Goosander have given a number of visitors a great deal of pleasure and many of the drake  goldeneye,  gadwall , wigeon, teal and even mallard are looking particularly smart at present.

Another  measure of the somewhat chaotic temperature regime of late was the presence of a singing chiffchaff close by the Lapwing Hide yesterday.

It’s also that time of year when amphibians and reptiles are desporting themselves in any available small bodies of water.  I always think it’s amazing that they are inspired to such ‘passion’  whan the prevailing temperature has many of us reaching for the thermal underwear. Even so there have been mixed ‘flocks’ of common toad and common frog spawning in some of the wet areas close to the Woodland Hide and yesterday it  was warm enough to tempt an adder out to bask on the path close to the Lapwing hide.

As most people cannot have failed to realise, given the commercial pressures these days, today is Mothering Sunday – or to give it its now more familiar North American epithet “Mother’s Day”.   As those of you who know me will testify, I have a tendency to  mis-interpret some words for comedic effect.  Prompted by this, and a request from ‘she who must be obeyed‘ , I set out the light trap overnight to see if we could capture a few nocturnal lepidoptera.  Unfortunately given the time of year and the cool conditions it wasn’t conducive to producing the most spectacular array of moth species, but Blashford is used to attracting some very different characters including this Hebrew Character, though I don’t think they come here from Israel!

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Hebrew Character – named, I believe, from the shape of the prominent dark markings on each wing.

The only other moth in the trap was a Small Brindled Beauty.    The female of this species doesn’t have wings and like many (all?)  moths attracts a mate by releasing pheromones which the male detects with its large feathery antennae visible here.

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SO not the most dramatic or impressive array of moths caught in our overnight trap, but it does give me the excuse for wishing you a happy Moth-er’s Day……