Posted by: cullaloelnr | July 15, 2007

Local group outing

Today was the day of the local SWT group outing to the reserve and i was surprised just how high the attendance was! I’ve never seen the car park as full as it was today!
I decided to turn up about an hour before the outing just to get a spot of birding in before it started. I’m quite happy i did. I got probably the best view of a male blackcap i’ve had all season on the reserve. Normally when i’ve seen them they’ve been partially concealed and hopping about. This one was showing himself off really well!
The outing itself was very good and very informative, although i did have to leave early to go to work. Bearing in mind the weather was overcast, there was still a fair amount of butterflies to be found. While i was there there was Ringlet, Meadow Brown. six-spot burnet moth, a couple of other moth species which i can’t remember and a whole host of toads to be found. There was also plenty of flowers and plants which i hadn’t noticed or had overlooked previously (most of which i’ve completely forgotten the names of, unfortunately!).
I had moved on ahead of the group just before leaving, just to see if there were any woodpeckers on the feeders (which there was – one juvenile) and i bumped into a man clearly carrying a fishing rod. I suggested he might want to take a different route as he was heading straight for the main group, including Alistair the new reserve manager and Ross the convener for the reserve (whom I had been discussing the problem of illegal fishing on the reserve with). The guy seemed to ignore me, but when i went back to the group he was nowhere to be seen and hadn’t returned back the way i was. He’d obviously done a runner!
Apparently the rest of the outing after i had left was quite interesting with dragonflies, caddis flies and devil’s coachmen being just some of the things that were seen. Hopefully i’ll get an update on what was seen and I’ll update this post if and when I do.
My parents had apparently gone to the reserve this evening (at least i assume so, since my dad sent me a picture which i’ve posted below – he has a habit of over-sharpening images, so it’s not as nice as i’d like) and had a few insect encounters of their own.
It was a very informative outing and i wish i had been able to stay for the whole thing. A big thank you to the organisers and to those leading the outing. It’s certainly given me food for thought and i think i might have to invest in some field guides so i can get a better understading of the insects on the reserve.

Photo of a pair of mating beetles, taken by my father

As an additional note, i was speaking to Biddy, one of the group leaders who had gone to the reserve to do some reconnaissance of the reserve the day before, and she mentioned she had seen a bird which she thinks may have been a Ring Ouzel. She saw a bird of a similar size to a blackbird flying across, but had white on it. It certainly is a possibility. Migrant birds tend to be seen about this time of year on the east coast. If so, it was a pretty great sighting! Very interesting, and you can be sure i’ll be keeping an eye out for potential sightings myself! She wasn’t sure, though and suggested it may also have been a dipper, which would also be great, since I haven’t sighted those on the reserve since i started recording, either!

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