Hello everyone! I am Lauren the new Information Assistant here at Arne! I am very excited to spend the rest of the year on this incredible reserve.
Last weekend was our second Reptile Weekend of the year, which was a great success. We had 4 show and tells on each day over the weekend. We were showing a slow worm that had recently shed its tail, a baby adder and Britain's rarest reptile - the smooth snake.
We also had two Reptile Rambles over the weekend, which was in high demand and had been booked up for weeks. On Saturday, it was scorching hot but we still managed to find smooth snakes and adders. On the Sunday, the slightly overcast conditions meant another successful ramble, with adders and smooth snakes found as well as a slow worm.
Photo taken by John.
Last week on our Discover Arne walk the rare bagworm moth caterpillar was found on Coombe Heath. This particular species is only found in the heathland in Hampshire and Dorset. The bagworm moth caterpillar is an unusual insect in that it creates a cocoon that i carries around with it. The female bagworm moth does this through spinning silk and sticking little pieces of foliage to itself.
Photo taken by Jack Oughton.
The Birds Bees and Butterflies Trail is now open which you can find next to Arne Farm. There have been plenty of butterflies spotted on the reserve, including: silver-studded blue, holly blue, purple hairstreak, marbled white, meadow brown, gatekeeper, brimstone, large and small skippers and grayling. The beautiful privet hawkmoth caterpillar has also been found within the car park. There are also good numbers of raft spiders on the ponds this year with a very large raft spider found on the Coombe pond with hundreds of spiderlings.
The pond next to the visitor centre is now resident to two common frogs and a common toad. A willow warbler was also spotted drinking out of the pond on Monday.
Our Big Wild Canoe event was a great success, with a spotting of two osprey, a peregrine falcon and common seal all included on the canoe trip! If you missed this canoe trip and would like to have a go, we have another running on Thursday the 4th of September. You can find the details about the Big Wild Canoe event here.
Our Bug Hunts are set to begin next Wednesday the 6th of August, which will take over from the walks until September. The Bug Hunts will run from 11-12:30pm. For more information visit our event page here.
We will also be running our Raptor Weekend on the 6/7th of September which is set to be a fantastic weekend of raptor spotting! We will set up 3 manned viewpoints to look for birds of prey but mainly osprey. For more information visit our event page here.
Welcome to our barn owl box! Complete with infra red for night-time viewing, this can be accessed here
As I mentioned yesterday, because our buzzards have all successfully fledged we have changed the live feed to the barn owl box. Those of you who have visited Arne in the past few months may have seen our barn owls from the screen in the visitor hut, but the camera has recently been changed so we now have a much better picture.
by Alex King
The three chicks were all ringed yesterday by a BTO qualified ringer, meaning each now carries a metal ring on its leg with its own unique number stamped into it. This means that if at any point in the future the bird or ring is found, we know where it has come from, and this provides some invaluable data into where the birds are going, their life span etc.
One of our chicks by Alex King
The text under the video screen currently shows information on our buzzard family, but this is in the process of being updated.
We've discovered some interesting facts from going in the box; all of our owls are female, and from some of the owl pellets, we can see that they have been eating both redshank and water rail. Not quite what you'd expect to see!
Pellets by Roger Tidman. From left to right: Little owl, long eared owl, barn owl and red kite
Owls swallow their prey whole, digest the tasty bits and the fur and the bones are coughed up in a surprisingly large pellet. By dissecting one of these pellets you can have a fascinating insight into the diet of the bird. Just be 100% sure that it is an owl pellet you've picked up before you start rummaging!!
As our buzzard chicks have all now successfully fledged and don't seem to want to return to the nest, we are in the process of swapping over our live feed. All being well, we'll have a live streaming of our barn owl box starting tomorrow. A few checks are being made tonight to ensure all is well, and fingers crossed, they'll be up and running by this time tomorrow!