With thanks to Jamie and James, we ran a couple of moth traps up at Binn Green car park for a few hours earlier in the week. The bright lights of the traps lure the moths in, and once inside they have a rest on an eggbox for an hour or two, then released to continue their nighttime adventures. It was a good night, in that it didn't chuck it down, and despite a bit of a breeze we recorded more than 30 species of moth.
Highlight was an Elephant Hawkmoth (see below), which we have seen before at Binn Green, but always good to see. We had some other new species for our moth nights - the dull sounding but quite attractive Dot Moth, and the Blackneck, a moth with a very distinct... black neck
There were of course a few quite plain looking faded moths to bamboozle the moth identifiers. A few midges got down the shirt, but couldn't have been too bad - we're planning on another evening in a week or two...
If you are interesting in joining a moth evening, let us know.
A fungal first for Dove Stone, sent to us by local naturalist and RSPB volunteer Ken Gartside, who found it while out and about with his grandson.
Found on a stump of Corsican pine, near a pond, this is the interestingly named Skeletocutis amorpha, and only the 476th UK record of this species (making it quite a rarity!). Leaving the stumps quite high when we are felling conifers, allows fungi like this to grow.
Thanks Ken & Travis - well spotted!
Other news - the helicopters flying above Dove Stone at the moment are helping with bog restoration, delivering stone and heather bales for gully blocking and sphagnum moss which is being planted by an amazing army of local volunteers and RSPB wardens Kate & Jon.
Spring is showing the first signs of springing(!) with frogs and frog spawn appearing in ponds and spillways, willow and hazel catkins emerging (providing a vital food supply for early queen bumblebees) and mountain hares beginning to change from white to mottled brown.
The resident peregrines are also showing the first signs of getting ready to mate - Mrs. P was keen on Sunday but Mr. P was being reluctant! Maybe the weather is still a little too chilly, though the Nottingham pair are already incubating.
Our next family event is Discovery Sunday on 29th March, 11 - 3 at Ashway Gap picnic area, but come up most Sundays and chat to volunteers or staff about the work going on at Dove Stone or to find out how you can help or get involved!
There is a full list of events on Dove Stone's webpage rspb.org.uk/dovestone
Last Saturday we were joined by local qualified bird ringers for a Valentine's Day bird ringing session.
Despite the damp weather around 30 birds were successfully ringed including a great spotted woodpecker, jay and wood pigeon.
Ringing birds can help our understanding of what is happening to birds in the places they live and how this affects population increases and decreases, this knowledge is vital for conservation. It also gives information on the movements individual birds make and how long many live for. You can help by looking out for ringed birds and reporting them (for more information on how to do this see the BTO webpage http://www.bto.org/volunteer-surveys/ringing/ringing-scheme)
You can see some photos from the day below.