The weather forecast for Tuesday morning was for heavy rain and sunny intervals. Fortunately for us our timing was perfect and we enjoyed a three hour sunny interval! However, our luck did not hold for viewing the black headed gull colony. The gulls had moved to a different pool, taken all of their friends with them, and were nesting out of sight. We did, of course, catch up with all of the species – black headed gull, mediterranean gull, common tern and avocet, but we missed the noisy “spectacle”. Whitethroats were singing well and we were fortunate to hear two rather late singing nightingales. But the birds all seemed to be a bit laid back. Perhaps they knew that they were shortly to be in for a real soak. The one exception to this was the oystercatcher which played havoc with my hearing aids!
Small beasts were active. Few of the group had seen a Lackey moth caterpillar before, even though, in the good old days, it was regarded as a pest of orchards. An Oak Eggar moth caterpillar and web nests of caterpillars of both small tortoiseshell and peacock butterfly were also seen. This Yellow Tail moth caterpillar was a splendid find.
This spring, ladybirds have been conspicuous by their absence. However, this morning we found 7 spot, 10 spot and 14 spot ladybirds – all native species. And the two non-native species, Harlequin ladybird and Bryony ladybird. The latter has only been in Britain for a few years and is, as its name suggests, associated with White Bryony. This is the third year running that we have found this species at Cliffe. Previously we had only seen one or two individuals but, as you might surmise from the photograph, their numbers are increasing rapidly. Julie counted 29.
Thanks to everyone that joined the walk. Thanks to Steve and Sally for the photographs.