Spring Surveying

Finally it feels as if spring is starting to poke its head out from out of the relentless winter gloom…! This week, as the weather starts to show some promising signs, I’ve been busy spending some time starting the surveying season. I spent most of Monday evening into the late hours wondering around the lakes of Swanwick with some HWT experts and a torch, looking for allusive Great Crested Newts. Typically this time of year newts would be busy coming out of hibernation looking for ponds and lakes in which to find a mate and spawn. This year however, with the cold weather, we think the spring season has been knocked back by a good few weeks so numbers of newts on the move at the moment was much lower than normal. Yet we managed to see one Great Crested and two Smooth newts over the two and a half hours we were there. They were all males, which is typical as the fellas are usually the first ones to move out of hibernation into the ponds. We have three more surveys planned so hopefully the numbers will increase as the season gets into full swing in the coming months – stay tuned for pics after future bottle trapping surveys.  

Brindled Pug (Eupithecia abbreviata)

Brindled Pug (Eupithecia abbreviata)

 While walking around Swanwick I saw a fair few moths on the wing, attracted to the light of my head torch – probably more than I had found in the moth trap for the whole year until that point.

Oak Beauty (Boston strataria)

Oak Beauty (Boston strataria)

After seeing some encouraging signs that moths were on the wing I put the trap out at Beechcroft last night. Im glad I did, it was the best mothing night of the year so far for the head office based trap. Even though the trap had a couple of centimeters of water in the bottom it managed to attract in 19 individuals across 5 different species; Common Quaker, Hebrew Character, Chesnut, Oak Beauty and a Brindled Pug.

Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica)

Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica)

A promising start to spring and exciting to be getting different species in the trap. I just hope that this cold snap begins to break and we begin to get more seasonal temperatures allowing more butterflies to get on the wing.

Trap count
10/04/2013 (week 15)
Common Quaker (13)   
Hebrew Character (3)
Chestnut (1)
Oak Beauty (1)
Brindled Pug (1)

Rob

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One thought on “Spring Surveying

  1. Hi! This is a fantastic blog. I found out about it on a birdwatch at Farlington Marshes on the recent sightings board. I have advertised this blog on my own blog (see the website) because I thought it was great. Feel free to comment on my blog and email me stuff about birds. I saw the Marsh Harrier and the Black Brant among the Pale-bellied Brents. Plus a Bearded Tit and a huge amount more! How do I get involved and be a volunteer because I’d like to. By the way I am twelve years old if there is an age thing. I am deeply interested in birdlife and would be very committed to any voluntary work. I aspire to be a bird-ringer for the BTO in the future! Keep it up! :o) ( *)> Yay my bird face worked! lol

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