Tuesday, 13 October 2015

The weekly update from the cress beds: a pair of egrets, captured by the trailcam, feeding on the scrape

Of course the heron is still there too

And the fox is there at night. Evidenced by a pair of pricked up ears!

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Lazy October days on the Scrape.

This week the heron was patrolling the scrape again. It's often there, foraging for frogs

The little egret was there too, as it has been all summer

But the most videos we had were of the foxes, like this one of a single animal, and the one below, of two foxes.These animals look extremely healthy, but a dead fox was recently found in the cress beds.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Last trapping of the year

Ben Sale and the Trust mothing team carried out the final moth trapping of the year at Gadespring on the first evening of October. As Ben says, "[t]he moth numbers weren't huge which is to be expected this time of year, but we got a great variety of different kinds and some early and late records thrown in to mix it up a bit". Ben mentions the moths particularly attracted to Ivy at this time of year. If you have this plant in your garden, it is well worth going out after dark, with a torch, and seeing whether you too are a host to these beautiful creatures.

For all the details and some lovely photos, head over to Ben's blog HERE.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Latest clips from Gadespring trailcam

The egret seems to be in a hurry. Perhaps it's seen the fox?

The heron and the fox are ignoring each other but I can't help but think they are aware of the camera

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Moths: a first and a rarity!

David K’s systematic moth trapping at Gadespring has revealed a couple of hidden treasures at the site. He sent the following news yesterday:

I recorded the Trust's first ever Crescent moth yesterday [24/07/2015] at Gadespring. It currently only breeds at Tring Reservoirs and Sawbridgeworth marsh. Its food plant is the Yellow Iris. We have lots of this so just maybe a colony is starting here. It’s all down to regular recording to prove. I have also recorded the rare Obscure Wainscot again twice there this year as well and now think they are breeding on our phragmites.

For more on the Crescent moth, see HERE
For more on the Obscure Wainscot, see HERE

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Damselfly addition

I tend to concentrate my efforts on the public areas of Trust land. This means that reports from Gadespring Cress Beds are particularly welcome. Elaine Rushton spotted a new species of damselfly for the site, at the beginning of July (04/07/2015): a male Large Red (Pyrrhosoma nymphal). Last year, at least 4 were patrolling the river Bulbourne, as it runs through Bulbourne Meadow but, as far as I'm aware, there haven't been any other sightings of this widespread and common British damselfly on Trust land.

Over the weekend, Elaine was back at Gadespring. From the hide, she had wonderful views of a Little Egret, feeding up close. Out on the pools, a glistening, golden young Common Frog posed for a brilliant photograph.

© Elaine Rushton

© Elaine Rushton

Friday, 3 July 2015

Kingfishers Fledge

2 Juvenile Kingfishers at Gadespring © Elaine Rushton
(Shot at ISO6400 in very low light)

I wasn’t able to go to the Gadespring Open Day last Sunday but Elaine Rushton let me know the good news that the Kingfisher family had joined in. On the previous day, Elaine had spotted 3 Kingfishers together and was able to photograph 2 of them after the third took flight. It transpired that the 2 posing for photographs were this year’s offspring, maturing well and seemingly catching fish that were rather tricky to a) kill and b) get down! It’s wonderful news that this species continues to thrive on the river Bulbourne and bring that little bit of magic into our days when we happen to encounter them.

    © Elaine Rushton
    © Elaine Rushton

Features of juvenile Kingfishers:
  • Dark brown/red feet rather than bright, light red
  • Dark "mucky orange" breast feathers rather than orange
  • All juveniles have all-black bills so it's not possible to sex them at this age
  • White tip to bill because it can take time for the pigment to develop. This feature can last into adulthood so some caution is needed.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

The heron has a pleasant meal

The heron likes to sit near the outlet to the river and catch whatever comes by. This gives our trail camera a wonderful view of him

Fox families in Gadespring

The foxes have a lovely home in Gadespring and they rarely get disturbed. That's why they look at you with such disdain when they do. This fox was not at all pleased to be photographed by David Warriner when taking a quiet nap.

Our trail cameras have captured a particularly active family of foxes who hunt duck at night. There are at least 2 cubs this year. I wonder whether they can see the light on the camera as they often stare at it.
This pair of pictures shows a mother and her cub in close conversation.
Then they go off to hunt for their dinner.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Gadespring Open Day

Sunday 28th June: Gadespring Cressbeds Open Day 

Hosted by the Trust's conservation volunteers, this is an opportunity to visit this fascinating site and see the new scrape and bird hide.  Times: 10am - 2pm.  Drop-in session - no need to book.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Toad and frog spawn laid last weekend is already hatching after this warm week. Thousands of tiny tadpoles eating the rest of the protective jelly at side of pond. It is a great sight. I am surprised that there were no birds taking advantage of this easily captured feast.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Spawning Frogs & Toads

Discovered at the weekend by David K, both Common Frogs (Rana temporaria) and Common Toads (Bufo bufo) have spawned and are still spawning on site. For a more detailed write up see The Embrace of Common Toads on the main Trust site.

It is important to note that Gadespring Cress Beds is still being developed & due to health & safety will only be available for access, other than to wildlife monitors & work parties, at organised events & at times when there is a weekend volunteer warden on duty. General public access is a possibility for the future & this could only happen once the wildlife hide is relocated after planning permission. Keep an eye on this website & blog, as well as the Box Moor Trust website, for details of open days & organised public events when you can visit & explore Gadespring.