Six legged creatures!

We have had a really lazy weekend and enjoyed every moment of it! Yesterday we enjoyed the sun in the garden and shared a BBQ with family whilst trying something new in our mothing experience! We had trapped the night before and got a few moths including a Powdered quaker and one new for us, the Least black arches.

I have read of  lots of people lately having Emperor moths in their gardens and I rather fancied the idea myself. The males, which are the most spectacular looking ones, aren’t attracted by light traps but they can be lured with pheromones. The excellent ALS (suppliers of all thinks mothing!) sell lures, tiny bits of rubber soaked in the sent which we hoped would bring one to our patch.

A few hours after hanging the lure I saw an Emperor moth but it just wouldn’t land and after a little while I watched as he flew over the fence and away, very frustrating. An hour or so later and he was back, fortunately by then Peter was here and he kept into action, net in hand and he was caught, that’s the moth not Peter!

IMG_2726 Emperor moth

Now honestly isn’t he a beauty? Not quite the image most people have when you mention moths is it?

After just a short while we saw another one and again Peter leapt into action and again the moth was netted. So at our first attempt to lure an Emperor we now had two.IMG_2706 Emperor mothsIMG_2714 Emperor mothThere was quite a difference in the colour, the second being quite a bit darker. They posed for photos and then were off maybe they will return another day. Another couple of visitors were the common green shield bug and a Small white butterfly both pictured below.

 

So without mention of birds we have still been pursuing wings this weekend, back to birds tomorrow I think!

 

A day of two halves!

After saying our farewells at Godalming we decided to visit another WWT site this time at Arundel. Another beautiful day with blue skies and very warm, we were getting used to those conditions!IMG_0835

Arundel seemed to be a fairly small site compared to other WWT places we had been to previously but it was still a lovely place and had something to offer that the others hadn’t; a boat ride and it was included in the entrance price! It was definitely the highlight of the day we both enjoyed it so much we went on it twice. We got a year tick from the boat, not a bird but a snake! We saw something swimming in front of us and it turned out to be a small grass snake, first reptile of the year!

 

 

From the boat we had good views of a Peregrine falcon flying overhead along with several Buzzards and a Red kite. We saw nesting ducks, swans and geese as the boat went silently through the water. It also provided us with good views of Arundel castle looming in the background.

We’d had a lovely day as we set off for our next stop in the New Forrest a place neither Ian nor I have ever visited.

On our arrival we found a lovely little cottage set in a beautiful garden and at the bottom of the garden a gate led straight out into the ‘forest’ itself. A somewhat dramatic change in weather saw for day one saw rain, rain and more rain until about 6 o’clock when we ventured out for a brief walk. Ponies all around and yet more signs of spring.

Today has been a very mixed day and most of the morning is best forgotten! We did at one point put our destination into the satnav and were surprised when it announce that in a quarter of a mile we were to ‘board the ferry’ of well it made a change from driving!

The afternoon was spent at Blashford Lakes a wildlife trust site and what a lovely afternoon they provided! We added three ticks there, one bird, one mammal and one moth an excellent variety! Our first tick followed a chat with the warden about moths and he was able to show us our first Emperor moth, what a stunner, hope we get one of them in the garden one day.IMG_0873 Emperor moth
We visited one hide which was surrounded by bird feeders so gave good views of all the typical feeder visitors including Siskin and one I was particularly pleased to get a picture of, a Redpoll.

We decided next to go for a good walk around the place as we seemed to have done an awful lot of sitting still today. We got back to the beginning quicker than anticipated so went down another track and into one more hide and we were pleased we did. We got a lovely sight of a Kingfisher, saw up to about 150 Swallows swooping over the water, got two Common terns (a year tick) and a little Bank vole another year tick.

IMG_0933 bank vole

 

I think it fair to say that our day did not begin perfectly but it certainly improved rapidly, I wonder what tomorrow will bring.