Weekend Prep

Friday, August 25th 2017

Being a Friday it is a day we finalise various things for the coming weekend. This involves tidying up paths and getting net rides tidied for the last CES of the season on Sunday; bird feeders and hoppers filled, and the rides checked and mowed.

As mentioned before on this blog, we have been a Constant Effort Site (CES) for the BTO for the last 25 years which requires our dedicated licensed bird ringers to get here sometimes as early as 4am (!) to ring birds for 10.5 hours each session. The amount of information gathered over those 25 years is an important data set for the conservation of our feathered friends. This Sunday will be our 300th session - WOW!

In other news: Lesley, one of our dedicated volunteers, took these fine pics of great diving beetle larvae that were near the surface in one of our ponds in the Scrapes, near the pond dipping platforms.

These larvae will take on anything they can keep a hold of, including such other water dwellers as tadpoles, froglets, even other diving beetle larvae, and in this case a 3-spine Stickleback.

The large, pointed, sickle-shaped jaws are sunk into the prey like hypodermic needles. Digestive enzymes are pumped into the body of the prey and the resulting 'soup' is sucked back up.

The adults are hunters too, but seem slightly less aggressive. The female adult beetle, below, has ridges on the back wing case, or elytra. In the adult form they can travel from pond to pond via flying.

There is plenty of Fleabane in flower around the reserve at the moment. This plant is common throughout most of Britain in marshy, damp meadows, and ditches. Its name is derived from the use as a natural insecticide: Its genus, Pulicaria, derives from the Latin pulex meaning flea, and its species, dysenterica, from when it was used as a herbal medicine for dysentery.


 


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