Monday, 11 April 2011

Moths, surveys, counts

Such a hard life started this morning with a "new" moth species in my trap for the year, an April regular, but nevertheless an attractive little insect - Dotted Border - look closely at the trailing edges of the forewing and you'll see why it's so called - ignore the date, the pic was made last spring!

After breakfast it was off out birding for the day, first to Lympne Park Wood, calling in to see the tenant farmer to renew my permission to go in and count the Heron's nests. This is part of the British Trust for Ornithology's oldest, or longest running survey. I been counting in this wood for 20 years, and ah noah what ah'm talking aboot, champion. You will need to read the italics in a Geordie accent, and be familiar with the Keith Fit character in Giggle Bizz on CBBC, if not, forget it. Numbers been declining severely from a high of 24 nests 10 years ago, a low of 8 last year - hooray, 10 today and the recount in  3 weeks time may increase this with luck

This is what to look for, and shows why the count needs to be timed before full leaf cover

Concerned parents tend not to fly off too quickly, allowing snatched pics like this

Some of the nests are hard to see, there are 2 in here

If in doubt about occupancy, just check out the ground beneath the nest

After this it was off across the Marsh for an early Atlas breeding count on the 2 tetrads covered through the winter. At least stuff is beginning to green up
 Masses of Hawthorn blossom beautiful to see, too

The tract of land where I picked up so much mud in the winter only recently been drilled, Linseed presumably, but a bit of a desert today!

Out along Melon Lane, a hint of possible problems for someone later in the summer

Browntailed Moth (Euproctis chrysorrhea)  larva just emerging from their tents, hairy little pests, the hairs cause severe problems for those sensitive to them,causing painful rashes late in the summer.
Further along the lane, more blossom was home to some obliging birds today

First, this coy Yellowhammer

 and then a more "in your face" male Chaffinch 

The count?
Yellowhammer - 14
Reed Bunting - 9
Carrion Crow - 9
Mallard - 4
Woodpigeon - 54
Skylark - 19
Pheasant - 4
Linnet - 15
Chaffinch - 18
Green Woodpecker - 1
Magpie - 2
Corn Bunting - 1
Great tit - 9
House Sparrow - 22
Dunnock - 1
Greenfinch - 4
Longtailed Tit - 1
Wren - 11
Robin - 1
Blue Tit - 2
Blackcap - 1
Sparrowhawk - 1
Starling - 1
Tree Sparrow - 2
Meadow Pipit - 1
Wheatear - 3
Blackcird - 3

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