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Field Trip - Parndon Wood - Thursday night
Had my second field trip of the year on thursday night (only the second!, yes that is how unpredictable the weather has been so far this year!)
I set my trap up complete with vertical hanging bedsheet on a hill at Parndon Wood, surrounded by mature Oak tree's, this looked a better spot than anywhere else.
It did indeed proove itself with no less than 176 moths of 12 species about what i'd expect this time of year in this sort of habitat.
The weather was indeed on my side too with 15 degrees recorded during the day, the clouds were slower to appear after dark than it was orignially predicted by the weather forecaster's and therefore the temperature did drop to a chilly 6c.
See http://bensale-essexmoths.blogspot.com/ for full list of species and pictures.
Adders at large
Wednesday February 16th 2011
: The Backwarden EWT Reserve, Danbury : Another work party and another beautiful day. Two large female Adders
had emerged from hibernation to bask in the sun on the bank of their hibernaclium mid-morning, one of them being between 2' and 2' 6" long (more or less). I didn't use a tape measure!
Lunch time bonus
Tuesday February 15th
: Stow Maries Halt EWT Reserve : A Buzzard
and a Red Kite
were watched circling above a clearing near our work party lunch site this morning. The former seemed to be escorting the latter off its territory. Buzzards will often do this to rival pairs of their own kind. Rather than attack them directly they will seek to soar higher than the intruders, thus proving their superiority, the latter then drifting away unscathed to challenge them another day. It is probably a good way of 'testing the waters' before deciding to make a more serious bid for the resident pairs territory and it certainly avoids the unnecessary risk of injury.
The old railway bridge on the reserve still boasts (they havn't repointed the brickwork recently) good numbers of four species of fern, namely, Hart's-tongue, Black and Maindenhair Spleenworts and Wall Rue, although none are looking at their best at this time of year.
Red Admiral butterfly
I saw the first one of the season today in my garden, as it was resting on a sunny trunk of a large apple tree. Has anyone beaten me to it?
Spring is sprung indeed!
Yes indeed, spring is sprung! We worked in the garden on Saturday and Sunday, but Sat was the warmer and sunnier here in Upminster. I have been in Purfleet today, and saw the first Oxford Ragwort, Senecio squalidus, and the first Common Whitlowgras, Erophila verna, both in glorious flower. If it is warm and dry like this again tomorrow I might have to mow the lawn for the first time this year. But I still have failed to see a Waxwing. I think I am better at plants than at birds. The problem is, birds keep on flying away. That is why I do plants.
Spring is Sprung 2
Saturday February 12th
: The Backwarden EWT Reserve. A gloriously warm and sunny afternoon for our work party. The first gentle warmth of the spring is good for the bones! A careful search of a nearby hibernaculum revealed a single Slow-worm
basking in a sunny spot on the bank, but no Adders as yet. The sun rays near where we were working were full of Aspen pollen, shed from the overhanging catkins, and the Alders too are now in full flower.
Spring is Sprung
Tuesday February 8th
: At the fifth attempt this year I finally caught a moth in the garden trap; actually not one, but two, a March Moth
and Dotted Border
. Other signs of spring? On 4th quite large numbers of 7-Spot Ladybirds
were emerging from hibernation at The Backwarden and a Common Lizard
had also awoken from its slumbers. The 5th saw half a dozen Common Frogs
doing what frogs normally do at this time of year in my garden pond and Smooth Newts
doing what newts do, only more discreetly. The 8th also saw the first wild Primroses
in bloom at Battlesbridge (as opposed to their wretched winter flowering counterparts in gardens) while the roadsides and hedgerows are now dancing with Hazel
catkins (if I may be permitted a lapse towards the purple). This morning Blackbirds
joined the few remaining Song Thrushes
in the dawn chorus for the first time this year. Still feels cold to me though - or am I simply getting old?