Wednesday, 5 June 2013

An adds and sods entry

Just how bad has spring been? Well I've got one measure that may not be conventional but I am pretty sure that it gives a good reflection of how dreadful the month of May was for wild life. During this, and the last six years I've run two moth traps on just about very night in May. In the previous six years I caught on average 585 moths of  76 species. This May I caught just 176 moths of 21 species. I can believe that this is just a freak result, 31 nights results is a lot of data. SO far June has started almost as badly, but at least a few new species have appeared, although they've been common and expected.

This Male Muslin moth appeared on May 31st, the latest "first" date I've recorded since I started mothing 14 years ago, and nearly two months later than in 2011, the best May I've had mothing.

The Heart and Dart is usually one of the commonest moths I catch and it usually emerges anywhere from late April to mid-May. This year the first record was June 3rd. What worries me is the fact that many of our small bird species time their breeding to coincide with the abundance of the prey they survive on, but with very few adult moths around there can be very few caterpillars to feed the young Blue Tits etc.

Now two pictures that amused me yesterday. I don't usually use very much bird food through the summer, bur so far this year it's being going quite quickly, so I went to Malibu Grains at Shatterling to pick up supplies. On the way back I popped into the Restharrow Scrape hide to see if anything unusual had turned up.

 In front of the hide a Mallard family was feeding near the edge, but it all seemed to much for this little fellow who dosed off for about 5 minutes until mum came back and called him to attention.

This is obviously what the well dressed Drake Tufted Duck wearing this season, a rather nice, short green skirt!
And lastly, a not expected disappointment, but at least tinged with some good news.

 Last Saturday Nigel Jarman found a Crested Lark on the undercliff at Kingsdown. It only stayed a short time before flying north, but long enough for Nigel to get a photograph. This is about the 24th record for the UK and fourth for Kent. I thought I'd take a stroll along there, just in case it had decided to return. The wall where Nigel  got the photo was there, and with a LBJ (little brown job) on top. But it wasn't the Crested Lark, the apparent crest is a spider it's carrying in its beak, it was a Rock Pipit.

Although it was disappointing that it wasn't the Lark, it was also good news that there was a pair of Rock Pipits there carrying food, as that presumably means that they are feeding young.

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