Sun and Warmth!

Sunday, April 5th 2015

A mild morning was followed by a lovely warm spring day.  This really helped to add species to the observation board.  Several Brimstone  and Peacock butterflies were recorded.  7 Spot Ladybirds and a shield bug, as yet unidentified, were added to the list.  Sticklebacks in the ponds along with Whirligig beetles were making the most of the increase in temperature.  Even a newt was spotted in a small pond.  The Water Vole was feeding but struggling with more neighbours - the toads!  There are toads everywhere and in more ponds than of recent years.  Their beautiful croaking was heard from early morning, coming from all directions. No apologies for another photograph of a toad.

A Common Toad

Yesterday whilst moving some branches Brian found this Pill Millipede.  If you look closely you can see its many legs.

Pill Millipede

When picked up for a closer examination it did what it was supposed to do - curl up tight and produce some liquid that obviously is a deterrent to predators.  Once photographed it was very carefully replaced on its log.

Pill MIllipede on the hand

At this time of year we await the return of the summer migrants.  Chiffchaffs are one of the first birds to return.  They have been heard singing in many places around the reserve for the last week or so.  Today we caught some new ones but also one that had been ringed last year.

Chiffchaff

The net ride in the woodland was cleared last week and today the net was raised there.  It was a long walk up and down the banks for each net round. This is an area where Goldcrest can be heard.  It was some time before one was returned to the ringing room.

Goldcrest

There have been few Chaffinch caught over the last few weeks but their numbers are increasing as they return from the surrounding area, to Foxglove, to breed.  The 24 new birds caught today took the species total to over 8000 birds, our most commonly ringed bird.  New Bullfinches continue to be ringed. Today it was noticeable that there were several older birds caught.  Several Great Tits ringed in the nest boxes last year have survived the winter, and one Coal Tit retrapped today was over 7 years old!  It will have raised probably 50+ chicks in its lifetime!

This weekend has been very busy as many visitors enjoyed the spectacle of the arrival of spring.  A huge thank you to everyone involved in welcoming the visitors, bird ringing, and generally helping with a variety of jobs.


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