A Hectic Week and a (Small) Triumph

A very hectic week or so and what with one thing and another I never seem to have got around to a post. At the end of last week I attended a course on Hayling Island looking at the management and creation of flower rich grasslands run by Flora Locale. At Farlington we have quite rich grasslands but they are at risk of loss so ways of making similar sites on other land to keep some of the species is of interest. We have made some headway at Southmoor, but I suspect could do more. I walking some of the Hayling fields we came across a great green bush-cricket, the first I have seen for some time, although I hear them regularly as I drive up the M27 over Portsdown Hill.

great green bush cricket

great green bush cricket

We ended the day at Sandy Point, a great little coastal heathland site with a fore-dune and shingle and one of rather few places in Hampshire with sea holly.

sea holly

sea holly

During the last week I have been out on the fields most of the time it seems, the Tuesday task was to start cutting around the Deeps and I was also over at Southmoor, where the cattle are to be changed over in the next few days. Although a somewhat undesirable plant in a meadow the bindweed at Southmoor is attractive, both to insects, as this soldier beetle demonstrates as it dives in for a feed.

diving in

diving in

and just to look at.

bindweed

bindweed

On Thursday we had a big sort out of the cattle at Farlington, rather a hot day to have been chasing cattle about the marsh.

the round-up

the round-up

Some animals were moved to the north of the A27 and I had to go and clean out the trough for them, as I did so I found a great diving beetle in the trough and in the field a clouded yellow, I even got a bad picture of the butterfly.

clouded yellow

clouded yellow

The hotter weather has been good for insects generally and numbers are , at last looking good. Mind you it is not all good news, the cattle are not so keen on the large numbers of horseflies that are now about, luckily most species do not bite humans.

tabanid, (a horsefly)

Tabanid, (a horsefly)

I have also noticed a large increase in the number of leaf and frog hoppers, these small insects are very fine, if difficult to identify a lot of the time as they are often very variable in appearance.

frog-hopper

frog-hopper

However the event of the week was last Saturday, towards the end of the wader count, as we approached the Deeps thought I saw something move on the raft, yes something was actually on our raft, it was only a juvenile black-headed gull but I was delighted.

gull on the raft!

gull on the raft!

I was still celebrating this triumph, somewhat to the bemusement of the other counters, when a pair of common tern flew over the seawall, one with a fish and both landed on the raft and started displaying! So perhaps it does have some potential after all, mind you it was short-lived as the gull chased the terns off, but maybe next year…………

 

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