A Sunny Day!
Tuesday, August 27th 2013
Last night the weather forecast for today was studied and the wind had dropped! Ideal conditions for ringing Mipits (Meadow Pipits) at The Crater. 0600 saw the bird ringers setting out the nets. It was still and not too cold although Foxglove was covered in a light mist. As the dawn broke so the the Mipits could be seen flocking over the moor. Swallows joined in too. The sun broke through, the mist cleared and the temperature rose and it was still. No hats, scarves, gloves or coats in sight! There are not many days like this at The Crater.
Net rounds saw many birds being brought to the ringing station and by the time the nets were taken down over 150 new birds had been processed. Very rarely do we catch a juvenile bird that we have ringed earlier. They fly in, feed and leave, so each time we visit there are new birds to be ringed. This year over 250 have been ringed so far and not one has been caught twice! Thank you to everyone who helped this morning.
Leaving the moor to return to Foxglove, a Buzzard was spotted trying to hide and rest in a tree with very few leaves, but it was being glowered at by three Rooks. It took flight and some photographs were taken against a blue sky. It would be nice to think that these are 'our' Buzzards that were ringed earlier in the year.
Weather is important for our flora and fauna and today, in the sun and warmth, it was the turn of the butterflies to show their beautiful colours. Peacock butterflies were again flying in great numbers feeding from many different flowers, although Hemp Agrimony appeared to be their favourite. Looking carefully, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral and Comma could also be seen. This Comma below, responded to being asked to open its wings!
During the butterfly surveys so far this year, Speckled Wood have not been recorded in large numbers. Over the last couple of weeks that has changed and they can now be seen all over the reserve. They too were enjoying the nectar of Hemp Agrimony.
Many visitors enjoyed the sunshine and a reporting of two Water Voles in different ponds through the Scrapes was very pleasing. We normally only record that apple put out for them has disappeared, and there are plenty of fresh droppings on the mink raft! Fish were jumping in the Lake making rings on the smooth surface of the water. Darters were sitting in the sun and the light was causing their wings to look bronze. Dragonflies were hawking across the ponds. Emerald Damselflies are still on the wing. Bees, wasps and hoverflies were making the most of the warmth and feeding from the late summer flowers. Toads and frogs, nor long having left their ponds, are walking and jumping through the undergrowth.
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