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Birds, Bugs, Flowers and Work!

Wednesday, August 20th 2014

The day started at 0600 for the bird ringers at The Crater.  It was cool and layers of fleeces, hats and scarves were needed, but the sun was rising beautifully and there was no wind.  These were ideal conditions for mist netting Meadow Pipits. 

Sunrise

As the nets were put up the birds were sitting on the fences watching what was going on!

Watching the nets go up

The nets were only up for two hours and in that time over 120 birds were ringed, all juveniles and no retrapped birds.  One Reed Bunting and one Linnet were amongst the catch. 

The last net round saw the nets full of birds.  This one close to the fence had 40 birds in it.

The last net round

You can almost see this one asking 'What are you all doing down there?'  If you look closely at the photograph you can see the long hind claw that is characteristic of this bird.

What are you doing down there?

Meanwhile back at Foxglove, the moth trap was emptied.  As the nights are now cooler so the number of moths is lower.  In the trap was one Poplar Hawkmoth, who sat patiently to be phtotgraphed.

Poplar Hawkmoth

The blog has reported the cutting of the grass on the middle moor. It has been turned and today it was baled.

Work on the middle moor

When all the work was done and the machinery had left, the middle moor had sprouted large black bales of silage!

Bales on the middle moor

During the morning children hunted for minibeasts under the logs at the outdoor classroom, finding earthworms, woodlice, slugs and larvae of Ground Beetles.  Adam then shook a tree and everyone was amazed at what fell out of it.  Lacewing larvae, several different species of caterpillar, frog hoppers, harvestmen and spiders, along with many tiny insects.

Finding out what lives in a tree

The next activity was sweep netting on the moor.  Spiders large and small, tiny insects, frog hoppers and a damselfly were all caught in the nets.

Sweep netting on the moor

After lunch it was the turn of the adults to go on a flower walk.  Flowers were identified and recorded.  Some flowers had to be examined with a hand lens and many had their own story to tell.

A photo call

Walking through the Scrapes, Galingale, Fleabane, Pepper Saxifrage and Hemp Agrimony were identified.  However when it came to finding the Gipsywort, we almost had to accept defeat.  We were sure it was growing in one particular place but not a leaf could be found, then it appeared a little further on!

Volunteers were out working, filling in the potholes along the access track, grass cutting and mending the fence onto the wetland.  Some were out recording what was there.  And what was there included a Brimstone Butterfly, a tiny fungi, Typhula capitata, not seen for some time and the Common Lizard, sunbathing on the boardwalk.  (Thanks for the photo Glennis.)

Common Lizard

A really busy day at Foxglove.  A huge thank you to everyone involved  today, achieving so much.


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