This morning, during the Wildlife Walk, a Common Sandpiper was seen on one of the islands on the Slurry Lagoon. It was later flushed by a Heron and flew to the sloping platform in the Deep Pit. The female Pintail is still present and an Oystercatcher flew over. There were signs of an emergence of Common Blue butterflies along the Deep Pit bank. PS.
This morning two Hobbies were seen during the Butterfly Census. Fifty-five Common Blue butterflies were counted. SC.
On the Orchid Walk today the Common Spotted Orchids were still not in flower. Several Southern Marsh Orchids were found however, and lots of hybrid Spotted/Marsh. On the Deep Pit bank opposite the Junction Box there were several Bee Orchids and plenty of Common Blue butterflies. A Large Skipper was seen and a Painted Lady dashed through. PS.
The first Common Blues of the season were seen this morning with twelve males being seen. Quite a relief after last year’s dismal showing. Also seen was a Small Copper, several Orange Tips and Small and Green-veined Whites, and a Small Tortoiseshell. PS.
Five intrepid orthopterists met by the footbridge at the alloted hour to see what orthopteran delights the site held in store for them. The weather was warm and sunny, just right, and a great improvment on the rain that cancelled the Wednesday walk.
As usual the first insects were searched for by the bench, at the top of the steps. Here we very soon found Meadow Grasshopper, Field Grasshopper and Long-winged Conehead. Attention was drawn to the pronotum on the two grasshoppers so that the differences in the two species could be seen. I managed to persuade a Long-winged Conehead to sit on my finger so that everybody got a good view of one.
The other main target was the Roesel’s Bush Cricket, which prefers the banks around the Deep Pit, so we set off along the south side of the Slurry Lagoon. As we progressed, opposite the railway embankment, the path was beside a wide grassy area where more Meadow and Field Grasshoppers were seen. In the brambles at the top of the bank a Spiked Shieldbug Picromerus bidens was found and several hoverflies, including Helophilus trivittatus and Sphaerophoria scripta. Further on, as we passed the Deep Pit there were Common Blue and Small Copper butterflies to see.
We were fortunate to have one member of the party who could actually hear the crickets stridulating (We have tried ‘bat boxes’ but they are non directional and frustratingly tell you there are crickets about but not where they are.), its normally a good idea to have some kids in tow to do this for you. Soon there were Roesel’s Bush Crickets being found by the bucket load. They were mainly at the top of the grassy bank as we looked towards the gravel pits and we were soon getting excellent views of them.
With the excitement of seeing so many crickets, the walk leader forgot to search for Slender Ground Hoppers, which are fairly common on the site and often found on the edge of the Small Gravel Pit. Other than that the group had an enjoyable walk and were well pleased with the insects that they had seen.