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.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

No sting in this tale

A couple of years ago I noticed that the Hampshire moth atlas said there was only one site for Hornet Moth in the county so I went off to find new sites. On the very first poplars I looked at there were a number of emergence holes plus a few exuviae and an empty cocoon but no moth. Needless to say, I've never found any other sites since.

Having never seen the actual moth, and hearing that they were seen emerging elsewhere yesterday, I thought I'd do a slight diversion on my way to Surrey today and have a look. I had a pheromone lure but when I arrived I thought I'd have a look for exuviae first. Whilst examining the second tree, I almost trod on ....

Buzzing with the unexpected success I headed off to the Surrey recorders meeting at Sheeplees. Unfortunately it was a bit chaotic and I saw very little, the highlight being Yellow Bird's-nest.

After lunch I was meeting Sophie who has recently contacted me about learning to ring birds. She hasn't ringed anything yet so the plan was to look for Reed Warbler nests (nice job in this weather) and put up a net to catch a few adult birds at the same time. The first couple of reed beds produced only three nests and they each had four eggs. This is far fewer than normal, perhaps Reed Warblers are having a bad year. The first two net visits had also produced nothing.

Normally when a trainee starts ringing they are given Blue Tits but Sophie's first bird came in the next reed bed. Something that had left the nest but was unable to fly and just flopped through the reeds towards her when I tried to grab it. Sophie was able to catch it so her first bird was

We must have found close on 50 Reed Warbler nests at this site over the last three years and this is the first Cuckoo we've had. She might as well give up ringing now, it won't get much better than this. She did get her obligatory Blue Tit later, plus a few Long-tailed Tits and a Garden Warbler.

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