Sunday, 1 June 2014

Not much about?

Q. Do you know why birds sing?
A. Because they can't play the piano. 

Scarce chaser
In a fortnight of very mixed weather that included a minor tornado that took out several willows on Washout Pit and then torrential rain that must have killed a lot of chicks, you might not expect to see a lot, but you might just get a surprise.

Harlequin ladybird
Birders often expect something fresh every day and will complain if they see the same birds as last week. I think it is reasonable to expect new arrivals during migration time in spring and autumn, but at the end of May we are well into the breeding season and for some birds it is already over. All the same, we seem to have a few latecomers that included a second singing turtle dove and a fire-crest.

As we get into June, searching for insects is much more rewarding, especially if you look for the big ones like dragonflies. Our Norfolk hawkers have been on the wing for a week now, but more are still emerging to join the four-spotted and scarce chasers that are also present. Our first dragonfly of the year was a hairy dragonfly that clung to the side of our new pond-platform in the garden, three weeks ago.

Q. Do you know why bees hum? 
A. Because they don't know the words.
Big bugs can be spectacular, but it is often the smaller ones that are genuinely weird. Have you see any brown long-horn moths? They look very like caddis flies but they are the British moth with the longest antennae. Look on ivy near the houses along the side of the Hayling Pit. The Latin name is Nemophora degeerella if you want to look it up.

Brown longhorn
Ladybirds and bees come in many shapes and sizes (we even sell guides to them in our shop). Why not start your own list of the ones you see?

You can join us for an Insect Safari at the end of June on Sunday 28th during National Insect Week. I will remind you later, but put it in your diary so you don't forget.

The highlight of the week-end was our "Teddy Bear's Picnic" which we put on for very little children. Fortunately it didm' rain and we all had a great time searching for clues, building dens for our teddies, eating cakes and hearing stories.

The Climax of the coming week will be the Rangers' monthly staff meeting at Hinchingbrooke Country Park. We always have "Health and Safety" on the agenda and my colleagues are looking forward to hearing me explain how I was bitten by a cormorant!

Next weekend we are holding an exhibition called "25 Years of Paxton Pits Nature Reserve", in the parish church. There will even be a special service at 9:15 am on Sunday.