Well finally our third brood of kingfishers have fledged! In a year of trials and tribulations this pair have certainly kept us guessing and this third brood was no different. Fledging was due on Tuesday 22 September, but with the male absent for the last 2 weeks (either predated or died of natural courses, we are not sure) the female was left to feed the young on her own. This along with a spell of lots of rain affected the amount of fish being taken to the young so extending fledging time. As each day past the fledging date, so the number of people in the kingfisher hide grew with all our regulars being joined by others, keen to see the fledging, all with there fingers crossed.
Sunday was the day, with 2 fledging before we opened but fortunately hanging around the pool, so every one could see them, when they emerged from the bushes, to try a bit of flying or beg a fish from Mum. Another 3 fledged in the afternoon, making 5 in total, a great success. Sadly this is not the end of the story as a couple of the youngsters were having some trouble flying, one especially got chased by some coots and could not quite make it up high enough out of reach and landed in the water a few times. Eventually getting away from the coots, it was a bit waterlogged and a magpie caught it. So down to 4. The magpies returned and attempted to catch another youngster, this one kept dropping in the water and eventually disappeared in the reeds evading the magpie. Phew!
Punky (affectionately named by Simon) who escaped the magpies. Photo by Simon Hurwitz
At the end of the day, as i came to the kingfisher hide for the close up walk my timing (for once) was perfect as the female and a youngster flew on to a branch and posed for a while before the female took the youngster away towards the river. So a lovely end to another great kingfisher season.
Mum and juvenile before heading out towards the river. Photo by Simon Hurwitz
Everything looks promising for next year as a male had been seen investigating the new bank and digging a new hole in the original bank. So keep your fingers crossed.
Thanks to Simon Hurwitz for letting us use some of his great shots in this blog
After a successful and productive summer of moth trapping using MV (Mercury Vapour) Robinson light trap i decided to try out some new moth recording techniques to support National moth night.
National moth night is organised by Atropos and Butterfly Conservation. It runs annually over a 3 day period Thursday to Saturday with monitoring encouraged on one or all of the 3 days. Each year dates vary to look at different species and each year Moth night has a theme with this years being Migration (with a secondary theme of wine roping and sugaring) and ran 10-12 September 2015. Next years theme is Hawk-moths and runs 9-11 June 2016. Fore more information please see the national moth night website on www.mothnight.info/
After looking at the moth night website i decided to have a go at wine roping and sugaring on Friday 11 September and i would empty the trap where possible over the 3 days. Not really sure how the wine roping and sugaring would work or the best way to run it as an event we decided not to charge for the event and suggested people call for more information.
Using the recipe provided on the national moth night website I got to simmering and stirring before work on Friday. For the wine roping i used 1 bottle red wine and 1 kg sugar, i heated the wine (do not boil) then stirred in the sugar, then allowed to cool. Unfortunately i had to leave for work so my mix was still warm as i decanted in to jars for transport to the reserve. For the sugaring i heated 1 bottle brown ale, (again do not boil), stirred in 1 kg brown sugar (as dark as possible) followed by 1 tin black treacle and allow to cool, again it was warm as decanted in to jars for transportation. Around lunch time i placed 1m lengths of jute (natural fiber) rope in the jars of wine mixture to soak.
The management volunteers had very kindly temporarily installed some post for use so at 7pm we ventured out to attach the wine ropes to the posts (you can also drape them over branches ) and paint the sugar solution on to posts or branches (avoiding lichens). The moth trap was also turned on and placed on a white sheet. We had set this all up out the back of the visitor center where we were close to facilities but also a large clump of flowering ivy which offers bees, wasps and hornets a great source of nectar in the day and at night moths take over.
So were were all set! (a wee bit early i admit) The wine ropes were hung, the sugar solution was running, the ivy was in flower and light trap was on, it was wait and cross your fingers to find the first moth. We ended up with a nice size group of 14 people come to have a look at all the moths! So it was a bit sad that we only had 1 moth, a square spot rustic come to a wine rope and nothing to the sugar. We had a bit more luck with the moth trap as moths were drawn to the light with some heading straight in and others landing on the white sheet. Here we had 1 light emerald, 1 straw dot, a couple brimstone, lots of square spot rustics and a couple of lesser yellow underwing. We persevered until 9.30 -10 ish, but could not improve on our species list. I have plenty of sugar and wine mixtures left over so will give it another go and hope for some more positive results as have been reported elsewhere.
Light emerald (from light trap)
The next morning i emptied the moth trap at 9 am, sadly it was just me and Debs as we actually had a good haul! In the end the total was 34 species with the confirmation later in the day that we had a dark sword grass a migrant from Europe, new for the year were 2 frosted orange, a sallow, 2 lunar underwing, 1 acleris emargana and another migrant a pale mottled willow. Also a life tick for me was 2 latticed heath, so all in all pretty impressive and some beautiful moths.
Pale mottled willow
So thanks to those who came along on the trial event, it was an interesting evening and thanks to the work party for the posts very useful and thanks to those at National Moth Night. I have entered our records on to the recording system along with every one else in the country who took part in National Moth Night 2015. If you are interested in moths hopefully we will see you next year for Hawk moths!
For those of you who noticed a female tufted duck on site a few months ago, with an green/blue bit of plastic over its beak with some lettering on. This turned out to be a nasal saddle, a version of ringing, that makes it much easier to identify a bird, when the more usual leg ring is underwater most of the time. Below we have the report of when and where the nasal saddle was attached. So this Tufted duck has visited us all the way from France!
Thanks to members of the Rye Meads Ringing Group for researching it