Tuesday, 16 May 2017


Lade - muggy, sunny, S 3 - 0700hrs - Another pretty decent catch in the garden MV last night  included Waved Umber and, new for the trap site, a delightful Mocha, a localised resident across southern Britain.

                                Mocha - new for the Plovers trap site

  Seeing as the wind was light first thing we walked Mockmill where the Sedge Warblers and Common Whitethroats were in full breeding mode with every patch of scrub alive with their song. This summer is going to be a bad one for anyone allergic to Brown-tail moth caterpillars, or rather their irritant hairs, once they`re shed and airborne. The scrub across the NNR is smothered in silken tents and alive with rapidly growing larvae. Here at Mockmill great swathes of blackthorn have been denuded of greenery as the caterpillars munch their way to maturity, but at least one Cuckoo was plundering this plentiful food source.

                               Browntail moth larvae, Mockmill Sewer

  An evening visit on the Marsh, in perfect weather conditions (still and muggy), primarily searching  for Turtle Dove failed miserably, despite visiting three sites over four hours. However, Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Little Owl, Cuckoo, Skylark, Yellow Wagtail, Bearded Tit, Tree Sparrow, Linnet, Yellowhammer and Corn Bunting were all noted, but in depressingly low numbers.
  The only high point was the large number of migrant Painted Ladies and Red Admirals fluttering along the lanes, and a weedy headland on a field of oil-seed rape with a flush of Blue Tansy, a cover crop good for attracting pollinating bumble bees and used as a green manure (thanks to DB for the ID).

                               Blue Tansy Phacelia tanacetifolia

                                "Phew, it`s  hot work chasing rabbits"

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