Thanks to active member Phil, we now have a Flickr group which is already populated with loads of fantastic pictures of the insect and bird life that he has catalogued on his visits to the site. It’s setup as an open group so you can contribute your own pictures and videos to share with everybody. Please do! You’ll find a permanent link in the sidebar to the right.
The site has just about recovered from the deluge.
Here are a couple of close encounters during recent site clearance activity:
the larva of a cinnabar moth feeding on ragwort
ringlet butterfly during a brief rest in flight
a skipper basking in the sun
And this was all under water a few months ago!
a valiant attempt to divert the river !
which is now running into the drainage channel and flowing backwards to the site
7th February, the Ver overflows …
and a previously waterlogged path disappears
mallard head for the high ground
and on the 9th Feb the water level rises to an unprecedented level ….
when will it end?!
This female ‘leaflitter crab spider’ – Ozyptila praticola – was found at the reserve yesterday on an ivy-covered tree trunk beside the bog. These spiders are very well camouflaged amongst earth or on tree bark and they move very slowly, playing a sit-and-wait game to capture their prey rather than making a web or actively hunting. They will also rely on their camouflage or play dead (thanatosis) rather than run away if disturbed. Ozyptila praticola are fairly common in southern England.
Plenty of insects enjoying the sunshine at the reserve this afternoon, including a few Marmalade hoverflies (Episyrphus balteatus) and this lovely Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
The sunshine today was enough to tempt out plenty of wolf spiders plus
this smart young Nursery Web Spider (Pisaura mirabilis)
At the summer event back in June, the pond dipping was great fun as always. My favourite find was this bullhead lurking in the mud. It’s perhaps 7cm long and quite chunky with a great big head, hence the name bullhead, and the alternative name miller’s thumb.
They tend to live at the bottom of fast flowing stony rivers, feeding on invertebrates at dusk. They are very well camouflaged – unless you stick them in a white tray of course.
A kindly male kingfisher was in the mood for posing and I got possibly the best shots I ever have done. He spent a while over the pool in the middle of the site but then moved to the river at the back where he fished for a while and I got these pictures.
Interestingly he caught a fish then somehow attached it to the branch he was perching on. Perhaps it was tucked in a crook or impaled on a twig, and I really can’t be sure whether he meant it or not. He left it there.
The pictures have come out with a slightly other-worldly almost flash-lit look to them as he was perched in a shaft of sunlight above the shady river. Also I messed up a bit with the camera and had to rescue it in post-production, which contributes to the look in a funny sort of way!