A Warm Winter Day

Wednesday, January 18th 2017

You know that it has been a warm winter day when you open the moth trap and have more than the usual one or two moths at this time of year. With near tropical conditions over night of 5 degrees we were pleased to find 26 moths for us to record. Saying that, 24 were Early Moths

and the other two were Mottled Umbers

Once the moths were photographed and recorded we released them in undergrowth to avoid any hungry birds feeding on them. We then ventured out with Chris to ensure that our up-coming site management activities would not affect any of the rarer lichens which she and others have located on the reserve.

Whilst walking past the Wetland we noticed a flock of Crossbills feeding on Sitka Spruce cone seeds. They were right up in the tops of these tall spruces.

On closer zoom, the profile shows that classic beak.

So, lichens…

There are some lichens which I have just walked by oblivious to their beauty like this Rhizocarpon petraeum below

We seem to be seeing all sorts of things today…. thankfully Jennifer's eyes are better than mine and she spotted this Crab Spider, Xysticus cristatus on the raised fen. Normally this (in this case, female) spider, which is about 8mm in body length, would lie-in-wait for some unsuspecting fly or ant, then pounce.

Also moving about on the moorland around the Exmoor Pony dung piles was this Dor Beetle. It tucked its legs underneath itself, and played dead with just its antenna twitching…

...the underside showing one or two mites. These beetles tend to dig tunnels about a foot to 18 inches deep under dung piles. They deposit eggs on balls of dung in chambers off the main tunnel for their newly hatched larvae to feed on.

It is easy to get excited at this time of the year when you see any insect: Minute spring tails and small harvestman scurried on the bark of a tree and this Rove Beetle caught our eye as it moved - as you can see from the finger tip size comparison it was fairly small.

Thank you to Glennis, Chris and Elizabeth for their help today.


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