Mark is away on holiday to sunny Portugal, so Lizzie the reserve warden is writing this week’s updates.
With the bird song starting to quieten it’s the season when I start to look more at the reserve insects.
Dragonfly numbers are starting to build with a good selection flying around the reserve. Last week I was lucky enough to find a Scarce Chaser. This was only the 7th record for the reserve; most likely it has flown up from the River Ivel. There have also been sightings of Emperors, Broad Bodied Chaser, Four Spot Chaser and Black Tailed Skimmer. With their wings held vertically back lots of damselflies are being spotted as well including: variable, azure, blue tailed, large red, red eyed damselfly and the banded demoiselle. The Old Heath and Galley Hill ponds are particularly good for dragonfly watching.
Butterfly numbers remain low, most likely because of the weather but the first meadow browns and marbled whites were spotted this week. The marbled whites can mainly be seen around the hill fort area whilst the meadow browns are on the more grassy areas of the reserve.
This weekend why not come to the Lodge and see if you can spot a few yourselves and let us know what you have seen.
Tomorrow (Saturday 18th June 2016) the Saturday work party will be replacing the steps between Jacks Pond and the driveway. This short section will therefore be closed. Apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.
After the grey skies and heavy rain of the last week, I have just looked out of the window and thought it would be nice to post a couple of pictures of the reserve and the Gatehouse flower bed looking lush and verdant in the sunshine! The Lodge gardeners, Val and Nick, planted the wild flowers when the wall was rebuilt and they do look glorious now. Volunteers and staff from headquarters come and look after the window beds to add a splash of colour to The Gatehouse. These plants are also full of nectar for the bees, butterflies and insects!
We aren't sure what's happened to the spotted flycatchers. They made a nest close to last year's tree near the hide, but it was very exposed. We didn't see any young or signs of feeding, so they may have failed at this site and found another, hopefully safer tree to nest in. The hobbies are out on the heath and a family of ravens has been seen a few times, so they have bred in the vicinity again.
We have a jay that is visiting the bird feeders on a regular basis and although the dawn chorus is getting quieter by the day, there are still plenty of garden warblers and blackcaps in song around the site. Eight crossbills flew over the new heath on Tuesday and mistle thrushes, buzzards, red kite and singing skylarks were still busy dodging the showers!
The weather looks more settled later in the week, so why not come along and enjoy the birds, flowers and lovely scenery on the reserve for yourself?