We were back at Farlington again today to continue work on the boardwalk, the aim being to complete the job started on Friday. Today’s volunteers were the Beechcroft team and they so nearly got it done, it was only a shortage of nails that stopped them just two boards short! Whilst they were working on the boardwalk I continued topping the fields and mowing the edges of the bramble clumps in the Bushes. Before I started the bramble cutting I went to check if the ringers had caught any waders on the roost along the Stream, I would not have wanted to flush the birds by charging about in the tractor. Luckily they had already caught and very successfully, catching 12 teal, 17 greenshank and 60 redshank. The waders were colour-ringed, this allows field sightings to be made and if the combination is seen well the individual bird can be identified. This allows the movements of an individual to be tracked and also such data as survival and longevity to be studied. All this is important as we still know rather little about many of the waders that visit us, although we do know that populations of most species are falling. Obviously we would like to be able to take action to help them but to do this with affair chance of success we need to know much more about where the problems are.
As I spent most of the day in the tractor cab I saw rather little wildlife, a small group of sand martin along the Stream and a few yellow wagtail with the cattle in the Hayfield were about the highlights. However as I got back to the Building at lunchtime I found a caterpillar on the hedge and very smart it was too, a part grown grey dagger larva.
They have a most extraordinary “spire” on one of the segments towards the head, it looks a bit like a thorn, but it fleshy, rather than the more usual tuffs of hair that many caterpillars have.