Monday, 26 March 2018

Weekend Round-up

Dotted Chestnut - Warnham Local Nature Reserve
A busy weekend around all the sites meant that there was lots of fantastic wildlife reported. Starting off with the moth trap at Warnham Local Nature Reserve which has finally started to get some results after the Beast From The East part 2 hit us last week! The best moth of the weekend was the Dotted Chestnut (Conistra rubiginea) which is nationally scarce and always nice to see in the traps. It is one of the few moths that hibernate after first being on the wing in October/November before reappearing in the spring. The second moth of note which we don't trap very regularly at Warnham is the Grey Shoulder-knot (Lithophane ornitopus) which can be seen below. It is quite similar to the more common Early Grey (Xylocampa areola) but the former is generally paler with the dark antler marks at the head end helping with identification. This is also an interesting moth as its larvae have a tendency to be cannibals!
Grey Shoulder-knot - Warnham Local Nature Reserve
The ringing has been very quiet at Warnham lately and there have been very few opportunities to actually get any of the nets up on the Reserve either due to windy conditions or flooding so it was nice to be able to catch a few birds this weekend. The highlight was this Greenfinch which was the first of 2018. They have been very few and far between in recent years which is a theme carried out nationwide sadly as many of the Greenfinches seem to be struggling to beat some of the avian diseases found in the UK.
Greenfinch - Warnham Local Nature Reserve
Meanwhile at Chesworth Farm I added a new fly to the species list when I found the larval mine of Chromatomyia ramosa on Teasel. This is part of the agromizid fly family, all of which mine leaves of various plants. The adults are very difficult to identify and most of them need genitalia examination to be sure of their identity but many of the leaf mines are quite simple to recognise. In the picture below you can see the light coloured markings which are moving away from the central vein. These are caused by the larvae of the fly eating the leaf from within the leaf structure itself.
Chromatomyia ramosa on Teasel - Chesworth Farm
Finally at Southwater Country Park a quick check of the oldest stand of Blackthorn on the site produced a number of the scarce Brown Hairstreak eggs. They are absolutely tiny so I make no apology for how bad the picture is! This is the second site we have found the eggs at this winter after the Friends of Chesworth Farm found some earlier in the month when carrying out a hedgerow survey on the Farm.
Brown Hairstreak Egg - Southwater Quarry

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Reserves Round-up

Weasel - B. Clough
Firstly apologies on the lack of posts on the blog over the past few weeks. We have been busy on the Reserves trying to cram in as much of the winter works as possible as well as meeting contractors to plan for the next financial year which has taken a while! In the meantime however Barry Clough managed to photograph this stunning Weasel which has been seen a number of times over the past week from the Woodpecker Hide seemingly chasing Bank Voles around the log piles so keep your eyes peeled if you visit the feeding station.

Roe Deer - J. Glover
Elsewhere at Warnham Jim Glover managed to get some absolutely stunning images of the Roe Deer that can often be seen around the site. At this time of year they have nearly finished shedding their winter coats and become a wonderful gingery/orange colour as you can see in Jim's photos above. The two pictured are in fact an adult doe (female) and her youngster from last year which you can see is a buck (male). He is just starting to show signs of growing his antlers which at the moment are covered in velvet or fur.
Frozen Reeds - P. Shergold

Lapwing - P. Shergold

Reed Buntings - P. Shergold
 Paul Shergold has also been busy with his camera getting lots of lovely photos of the snow as you can see in the previous post. Paul also managed to get the only picture of a Lapwing on the site over the very cold snap. We have over 150 individuals flying over Warnham but Paul managed to get the only one which seemed to take a liking to trying to land on the frozen millpond so well done Paul. The pair of Reed Buntings also have become much more regular from the Woodpecker Hide which has given lots of visitors the chance to have some nice close views.
Water Rail - D. Verrall
 David Verrall managed to get a cracking shot of the Water Rail on the small pools between Woodpecker Hide and Aston Trelford Hide. This seems to be one of the regular spots for the Water Rails to feed especially when the water level is a little lower which is not that case at present!!!
Grey Heron - D. Verrall
Last and by no means least David also got this great photo of a Grey Heron at Chesworth Farm making the most of the Common Frogs which are all busy spawning in the Wetland Project Fields. This area is popular at this time of year with both Herons, Egrets and a variety of ducks all of which are either eating the adult frogs or their spawn! Thank you to all the photographers above who have sent in this lovely mixture of photos.

Friends of Warnham Local Nature Reserve Event

The Beast from the East Round-up!

Warden Life - P. Shergold

Teal - P. Shergold

Ice Skating Coot - P. Shergold

RSPB Dorking & District Group Event