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23 Apr 2018

Bounty of butterflies, flowers & songbirds

Female brimstone butterfly just laid a small green egg on buckthorn, their food plant.  Photo: Paul Stevens

A week of warmer weather has brought out more butterflies, bees and blooms around the wetlands. Breeding Bird survey last Thursday recorded no reed warblers singing. After three days of sunny weather we recorded several reed warblers singing all over site. Lesser white throat was heard by Lapwing hide during the survey but no sighting. Bat boxes all showing use by pippistrelles. Two hours of recording bat calls over Wetlands Discovery recorded common, soprano and Nathusius’ pips, Daubenton’s bats, noctule bats, serotine.

Butterflies:

  • Newly emerging Orange tip – nectar & egg laying plant is lady smock
  • Lots of female Brimestone – egg laying on buckthorn leafs just barely out
  • Smaller numbers of: Green veined whites, Comma, Tortoiseshell, Peacock .

Woodland Loop:

  • beech trees in leaf and in flower (hang down and are wind pollinated)
  • Goldfinch singing
  • Tits in nesting boxes
  • mallard ducklings

Reedbed boardwalk:

  • Willow warblers singing
  • Black cap singing
  • Chaffinch singing
  • Artificial latrines for survey are showing signs of Water vole activity, feeding platforms with scattered reed snippets ends cut a tell-tale 45 degree angle float on water
  • Mandarin ducks (tree nesting ducks) have been using the owl barrel in tree along boardwalk at corner of reserve as a nesting spot. They are also using an tawny owl nest box in the Carr woodland area.
  • buff tailed queen bee in reedbed
  • leaf beetles evident on new leaf growth of willow
  • lady smock along boardwalk path
  • gadwall duck
  • chiff chaff nest spotted in the reedbed

Long Path:

  • Long-tailed tit nest more hidden now that the bramble has greened up
  • Pike seen spawning in the long ditch last week
  • Gorse is flowering
  • Water vole signs on long ditch
  • Mallard duckling family
  • Mediterranean gulls overhead
  • Cetti’s warbler singing
  • Blackbird singing

A family of mallards floats down the ditch next to the Long Path. Photo: Paul Stevens

Wetland Discovery channels:

  • Snake’s head fritillary flowers going over
  • male pochard ducks, no females visible here or onsite as must be on nests
  • Buzzard over hangar
  • Greylag gosling families

Tranquil Trail Path:

  • Cowslip flowering
  • Forget me nots flowering
  • Black cap singing
  • Lesser celandine flowering
  • Coltsfoot has gone to seed, making food for goldfinches
  • Brimstone butterfly egg laying on buckthorn, not many leaves

A bee-fly draws nectar from purple trumpets of ground ivy. Photo: Paul Stevens

Ramsar hide:

  • Lapwing nesting opposite hide, and two others out on wet grassland
    (No chicks yet but they are late so maybe this week or next)

Lapwing hide:

  • Red mason bees active in Bug Hotel, males (don’t sting) waiting outside reed chambers for females to emerge.
  • Ruby-tailed wasp species is cuckoo species for the bees, waiting to lay in their egg chambers
  • Bee fly on ground ivy with long proboscis
  • Sings of leaf cutter bee activity too
  • Reed warbler singing

Sand Martin hide:

  • 20+ House martins seen starting Sunday
  • Handful of sand martins
  • A few swallows
  • Black-headed gulls
  • Mediterranean gulls