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Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Goodbye Winter migrants – March 2014

Well after the poor weather early this year we have had at last some spring-like weather.

Dark-spotted Sedge
I walked as section of the coastpath in Morwenstow and found invertebrates about – Bloodynose Beetle, and two bees Buff-tailed and Red-tailed.
What I though was a micro-moth turned out to be an adult Caddis-fly – Dark-spotted Sedge Philopotamus montanus.

I also put my moth trap out one night an caught nothing but the following night caught 6 moths of 4 species – Early Thorn, Hebrew Character, Early Grey and Common Quaker.
I keep get glimpses of butterflies, but never close enough to identify and not very many. Being at the 140m contour line a mile from the sea seems to prevent me seeing the butterflies that everyone else is seeing.

I used the trail camera and managed to capture a small video of or our resident Bank Vole although I do get good daytime views and pictures. Other than a grey squirrel at Lower Tamar Lake a couple of day's ago, I have not seen any other mammals.

Last week the quarterly Bude Marsh transect was completed for Spring despite the patchy mist. We did see a mammal there, a rabbit on the west side of the canal. Near Petherick's Mill the mist really thickened up and a passing dog-walker commented on our slender chances of seeing birds in such weather. No sooner had he gone than through a break in the reeds we saw 7 species within a 10metres stretch of water – Grey Heron, Wigeon, Teal, Moorhen, Mallard, Snipe and Goosander. We took great delight in relating this to him when his circuit brought him past us again.

It was good to record two Willow Warblers – early harbingers of spring and during the same week as we saw them last year. Dare I say it – we have said goodby to the Starlings? We saw none on the transect and at hope apart from two that seem to be residents, we have not seen any for a week. We can put our washing back outside again!  And the WeBS survey at Lower Tamar Lake six Swallows were darting in and out of the mist over the water.

Puccinia smyrnia.

Spring flowers are beginning to bloom – Lesser Celandine are everywhere, Primroses are still to be seen and I have seen occasional Creeping Buttercup and Greater Stitchwort in the hedgerows. On the cliffs were Danish Scurvygrass and Violets. Alexanders are beginning to flower everywhere and come complete with a rust Puccinia smyrnia.

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