I spent most of the day at Farlington trying to finalise details of the tern raft, I think it is starting to look more or less as we intended and, with a bit of luck, could be ready to float on Tuesday.
It was very pleasant working in the sunshine, although the incessant roar of the eight lanes of the A27 gets some getting used to. This is very much an experimental project and as we have gone along I keep thinking of potential improvements, some of which I have incorporated and some that will have to wait for Mark II. I trialled the finish on the foam bund , it is a bit pale, but not far from the colour of the pumice.
Although I was in the yard for most of the day I did manage to see my first red admiral of the year, one of five species that flew past me there during the day.
I did take a walk down as far as the Deeps to try and confirm that all the cattle were present and correct, which I am pleased to say they were, we now have 76 on the Main Marsh as well as the 16 in the Bushes, probably about half what we will have later in the season. On the way a male yellow wagtail flew over heading northwards. Sadly the days when they used to breed at Farlington are now long gone and I doubt they will ever return, though I would be delighted to be proved wrong. I also noted a number of new lapwing nest sites, on Saturday I will have another go at mapping them.
I had to go to the office at the end of the day and on my way out of Farlington I checked the alexanders growing by the gate for insects. Umbellifers are generally good nectar sources for flies and alexanders especially so as it flowers relatively early. There were the usual drone-flies and a few solitary bees and one Eristalinus aeneus. The last is a typically coastal species with larvae that live in piles of rotting seaweed.
They are fairly unremarkable, being overall a glossy black, but they do have very splendidly spotted eyes.
This particular one is a female, the give away is that the eyes are separated on top of the head, in the male they meet in the middle.