Mersehead Recent Sightings 20th – 26th July 2019

This week started with the reserve having to be closed as the heavy rain on Sunday caused the entrance road to flood. The flood only lasted a day as the water disappeared completely overnight. Which then lead to the hottest day of the year, it was 28°c at Mersehead on Thursday.

Tuesday saw our usual local volunteers coming down to help for the morning. Our volunteers are a great help and a real asset, getting involved with whichever job needs done. This week we were whitewashing the cottages on the reserve. There were two birthdays celebrations on Tuesday as well which meant plenty of cake to enjoy at lunch.

The weekly Bee Walk survey shows which bees are buzzing around the reserve. This week’s survey was quiet with only a handful of bees noted however it was a windy day. The Red-tailed and White-tailed Bumblebee were both noted around the reserve.

Red-tailed Bumblebee. Photo credit: Dave Jackson

The moth trap was the busiest its been, with 59 different species recorded and 204 individuals. The trap isn’t complicated. It is simply a bright light which attracts the moths overnight into the box underneath. Once the moths have been recorded, they are set free. The process is very simple, and it shows what amazing creatures are flying around at night in your own garden.

As with last week, Common Footman was the most abundant species with 48 individuals found. The extraordinary Poplar Hawkmoth and Elephant Hawkmoth were both present. As were some less frequent species Gothic, Antler, and the long-winded Dark Barred Twin Spot Carpet.  

Gothic Moth. Photo credit: C. Pollard

Antler Moth. Photo credit: C. Pollard

Dark Barred Twin Spot Carpet Moth. Photo credit: C. Pollard

A Kestrel has been spotted several times this week, hovering over the reed near the Sulwarth centre. Kestrels hover about 10-20m above ground to spot prey before swooping down to catch it. They tend to prey upon Voles and other small mammals and birds, worms and insects.

Other sightings this week include a Buzzard from the hide, Swallows sitting on the overhead wires, and two Stonechat near the sand dunes. Yellowhammer, Tree Sparrow, Goldfinch, Chaffinch and Greenfinch all visited the feeders at the Visitor centre. It’s a good time on the reserve to spot butterflies:  Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Painted Lady, Ringlet and Meadow Brown have all been seen recently. There is also a noticeable increase in the number of Dragonflies and damselflies around the reserve.

We have plenty of events to get involved with for August. Build a super sand castle or be a creature creator and enter our Sand Creature Competition for the month of August;  Let the kids run free at Playtime in the Garden; Discover night-time creature of Mersehead with Bat detectors at On the Night Watch; or discover what Mersehead has to offer on a guided tour Summer Discovery Walk.

 

Cheye Pollard

Residential Volunteer

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