Poor old Gilbert is getting restless. Despite the fact that there is more interest in wildlife than ever before, it seems that most of the so-called conservation organisations are losing interest in species. Instead they prefer to babble on about landscape scale conservation and ecosystem services (whatever they are). Could this be because most of their staff don't have any knowledge about species if they don't have four legs?
This is my attempt to encourage an interest in good old-fashioned natural history.

Friday, 21 June 2013

A bit of everything

My thanks to Steve and Sarah for offering their thoughts, albeit perhaps tongue in cheek, about the mystery image. Bit surprised not to have received any thoughts from Investigator Bob. Bob, are you out there?

So what do I think? Well I can see a raptor, a large raptor, and it pretty much has to be Buzzard or Goshawk. That then leaves open the question of whether it took the female or just caused her to desert. Would a Buzzard be quick enough to catch her? Would a Goshawk bother with such a small snack? I've neither seen nor heard any Wood Warblers in this territory since (although this year that isn't anything particularly unusual) but if she was killed why isn't he singing? Perhaps they are the pair at Wet Ditch nest which is nearby but there was already a male in that area. So many questions.

As I said in the last posting, there's been another predation. Skydiver is no more. For some reason I wasn't as gutted by this one as the others, perhaps because I didn't really expect it to survive; they never do in that area and it wasn't very well sited. For a change, this one wasn't a Jay and it wasn't an Emu either, although you can see the resemblance from the first image.

I reckon this image can only be of a fox.

Fortunately the female fled the nest less than one second before it appears in the first image.

I have similar concerns about the location of Barbeque Tree nest but today they were still progressing nicely, the parents are quiet and careful about returning to the nest in the presence of a predator (me!) so you never know. Wet Ditch is also still ok, parents and chicks ringed today, they just need to survive another four days.

Fieldwork in the New Forest should be a delight shouldn't it? Well it does have it's down sides, what with the midges, mozzies and ticks (had one on my neck on Thursday morning - lovely), I now have bites on top of bites on top of bites. Just to make me feel better, another predator (of me) has emerged this week.

This is the horsefly Chrysops viduatus. Did you think there was only one horsefly? As the Churchill dog would say........ Fortunately the bigger species (Tabanus sudeticus is over an inch long!) don't seem to ever attack humans and it's mainly Haematopota pluvialis that is a pest in the south (plus other species in that genus further north) but in wetland areas there are also species in the genus Chrysops to contend with. They are very attractive but if anything they are more persistent and annoying than the usual ones.

Yesterday evening I went to investigate 'hundreds of Broomrape plants' reported by someone at work. They were actually Bird's-nest Orchids but an impressive sight nonetheless.

There were also quite a few White Helleborines in the area, a new species for me.

Also new for me was the moth Lampronia luzella which stubbornly refused to be photographed but looks quite similar to a dark-headed version of L. capitella which I wrote about a couple of weeks ago. Another moth that I saw caused some difficulties with identification, stumping two of the countries top microlepidopterists until a chance comment by the Sussex County Recorder took me to the answer; Cochylidia rupicola.

The local Ethmia dodecea was also seen.

I even took notice of a spider (for perhaps the first time ever!). It was initially identified as Heliophanus flavipes but this was later corrected by Martin Harvey to H. cupreus.

Finally, I got a new species in the form of Liposthenus glechomae which makes these impressive galls in the leaves of Ground-ivy.

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