Despite some rather challenging weather conditions - relentless rain and gale force winds - over 150 teams submitted their sightings lists during our big wild stock take week, along with countless others who added their top spots to our master list in the visitor centre.
I’ve now collated all the records and we made it to 398 species (pending a couple more insects I need to identify from photos). Not quite the 500 I was aiming for, but when a June moth trap yields only 5 moths you know you’re on an uphill struggle! I’ve attached a spreadsheet with everything listed in case you want to take a peek. A copy will also be left by the sightings book in the centre for your perusal.
I particularly enjoyed receiving the gifts of photos and creatures in pots that some of you brought for me to identify. I don’t consider myself a hoverfly expert yet, but have added a few to my repertoire! I think the highlight for many people was the timely arrival of a splendid spoonbill, who seemed to enjoy feeding on the North Brooks despite the rain. Perhaps my personal favourites (other than the spoony) were the mullein moth caterpillars that were the final addition to the stock take list on Sunday evening.
Thank you to everyone who came along, contributed their records and supported our event!
Arriving too late for our stock take list was last night's great white egret... Pete and I were looking out over the South Brooks feeling a bit disheartened about the water coming over the river bank when we both paused and said 'that egret looks very big'. Pete scurried off to get a closer view and yes, it was a great white egret . It then flew and settled a little further off towards the river bank to be seen later on in the evening by one of our volunteers roosting in one of the trees on the river bank alongside a couple of little egret.
No reports of the 'big bird' yet today, just lots of water. The section of the trail between West Mead and Winpenny is really rather soggy now so wellies (or at least walking boots) are recommended. The water levels here are continuing to rise so we'll be keeping you updated on trail conditions throughout the week. A sign that water levels are astonishingly high for this time of year is the appearance of a great crested grebe...a sight rarity at any time, but in June ....