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.

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.