Perhaps one of the most striking things about Langford at the moment is the abundance of insects on the wing. A mild winter, followed by a warm spring and early summer has produced excellent numbers of butterflies and Odonata, as well as many other invertebrates. It is encouraging to see this after the relatively low numbers we have been seeing in the last few years. The large numbers of butterflies in particular was proven yesterday, when I recorded the highest number of individuals on a butterfly transect since 2011. The results of yesterday's transect are as follows -
101 peacock - an incredible number of this species, I have never seen so many at Langford
17 meadow brown
14 large white
9 speckled wood
7 green-veined white
10 unidentified white species
5 unidentified skipper species
We also have purple hairstreak on the wing now - look for them on the ash tree above the information boards at the woodland entrance. Common blues are now out in their second generation, as are small copper. Painted lady has been recorded this week and there is also always the possibility of clouded yellow.
The most common Odonata species out at the moment include common blue and blue-tailed damselflies, black-tailed skimmer, emperor, brown hawker and southern hawker. Look out for the first migrant hawkers appearing soon too.
And a bit of bird news....pleasingly, the bittern was seen again from the Beach Hut yesterday (Tuesday 22nd). It emerged from the same fringe of reeds to the left of the pond dipping platform and flew over to the northern most silt lagoon. A common sandpiper was on Phase 1, viewable from the visitor trails yesterday, a kingfisher was seen by Beach Hut volunteer Dave Roberts from the Cromwell trail and I heard another from the first silt lagoon near the woodland and a greenshank was heard calling from the Beach Hut this afternoon. A yellow-legged gull was on silt lagoon 5 yesterday afternoon, with a group of 32 lesser black-backed gulls and black-headed gulls. A nice looking adult bird and one we always look out for in July. Silt lagoon 5 is the second northern most as you walk up to the Beach Hut and is viewable from the public footpath only.
Just a quick one for today to let everyone know that we have had a bittern sighting early this afternoon! The bird flew from the reed fringe to the left of the pond dipping platform (as viewed from the Beach Hut) and dropped into silt lagoon 6 - the northern most lagoon with the large reed block. The bird appeared very pale in colouration, similar to a pale bird that we had back in 2011, so should be quite distinctive if seen again. It is excellent and very encouraging to see a bird using these fringes of reed that are developing around the banks of Phase 1.
This is the first bittern sighting on site since the end of February and most welcome after such a length of time - who knows, it may have been here all along! Many thanks must go to Beach Hut volunteer John Totterdill for spotting the bird.
Please do keep an eye open when at the Beach Hut and walking the trails and do let us know if you see it.
The monthly Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) was upon us once again this morning. July is usually a quiet month for WeBS and this year was no exception, however it won’t be long before autumn migration gets into full swing. Here are this morning’s results….
72 tufted duck
44 mute swan – 10 cygnets remain on site, all doing well and now a good size
6 canada goose
3 greylag goose
18 great crested grebe – two new broods of young on Phase 2 today were nice to see
8 grey heron
7 little egret
137 lapwing – fledging their first chicks here for several years
3 green sandpiper
1 dunlin – a good looking bird still in full breeding plumage
23 black-headed gull
8 common tern – three pairs still doing well with young