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.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Normal service resumed

I'm back from Papua New Guinea. Somewhat later than anticipated but more of that in a future post.

Since my return I have been busy tying up loose ends with the Wood Warbler project. My thanks to the friends who kept an eye on the last two nests; the Magician fledged successfully but Double Back was predated by a Tawny Owl.

It is great to see that there's been a good influx of Clouded Yellows in the last few weeks. It is a species that I rarely see so it is always a thrill to come across them.

Last weekend was the Rutland Bird Fair. I always take some live moths up to generate interest in our stand. This year I ran a moth trap at Queen Elizabeth Country Park near Petersfield for a few hours on the evening before I drove up. I mainly hope for attractive species to take to Rutland but this year the best species I caught was a rather drab one; Olive Crescent. This is a UK Biodiversity Action Plan Priority Species which was known from just a couple of sites in Essex and a few sites on the Kent / East Sussex borders. However there have been a few records from east Hampshire this year so perhaps it is colonising new ground.

The stars of our stand this year though were both donated; a Small Elephant Hawk-moth caterpillar

and three Privet Hawk-moth caterpillars which were brought, together with a potted privet plant by a chap from Wales.

 On Monday evening I went to check out a Swallow roost with a view to doing some ringing there the following evening. Amongst the good numbers of Swallows was an apparent albino which stuck out like a sore thumb, evening in the fading light. I didn't think that I had a cat-in-hell's chance of catching it but on Tuesday evening I caught 65 Swallows and 8 Sand Martins including.......

Clearly it is leucistic rather than albino but it is a stunning bird whatever label you put on it.