Thursday, 19 September 2019

Lytchett Bay Patch

It's alway hard sometimes to know what to write in the blog after the summer break, for us it's continuing trying to record and add species to the Lytchett checklist whether mammal, avian or invertebrate. Adding to this the reptile survey for RSPB and ARC keeps us busy.  In our last post I wrote about a few rarities that had cropped up locally, well I'm going to continue here a little bit in the same vein.  Though between the patch watchers we haven't found any nationally mega rare species, we have recorded some less common patch species.
Great White Egret - Sherford Pools © Nick Hull
Lytchett Fields hasn't produced a rarity as yet but we've had recent visits from Wood Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper and Little Stint and Little Ringed Plover.  There has been regular Osprey and Marsh Harrier sightings over the the fields and bay more or less on a daily basis which is very nice indeed. Shaun and Ian found a Cattle Egret this one I managed to get to see.  Shaun managed to net a Wryneck at the ringing station, the third patch record and a very nice bird it was indeed. On the 15th September I managed another catchup patch tick with Great White Egret on the Sherford Pools field I'd only had the briefest flight view of one previously so it was nice to see one resting and having a preen out in the field.
This was taken just before its release doing what Wryneck do best.
Little Stint on the Approach Field Pools © Nick Hull
August is always a good a month for moth trapping and I had the trap out on a few nights and I've now managed to record 525 species in my garden. The surprise was a Hummingbird Hawk-moth that visited the honeysuckle for about two minutes before being seen off by a bumble bee.  This is the first one recorded since 2017 so it was very nice to see.

Steve Smith whilst carrying out a botany survey came across the first record of White-legged Damselfly, and Ian Just yesterday sent me a shot of a female Red-veined Darter that he had photographed on a visit to Lytchett Heath, this was also a first for the patch which brings the patch list up to 25 species of odonata.  The photograph below is an archive shot of mine take when on holiday in Spain, Ian photo will appear in the Lytchett Report early in 2020.
female Red-veined Darter © Nick Hull
The August reptile survey went well and we recorded the most Adder numbers so far this year and many were only just adult which means there is a fairly healthy population.  We also found a few large Grass Snake one or two looked like they were about to slough as they had blue eyes.  One of which was over 1.5m in length and was probably a female but she didn't stay long enough for us to catch and make sure.

I've included a few shots taken on my iphone hence they aren't the best of shots but I've included them to show the differences in colouration. Though there is some generalisation in colour between males and females you can''t presume and a rusty brown immature will be a female as they all start off with this colour and as the become older they tend to change but there are still exception to the rule which doesn't make it easy.  These shots aren't really good enough to identify the individual snake as they aren't detailed enough.  This is something I think I'll try to do in future and see if we can follow the life of a few of the individuals on the heath here.

Male Adder Lytchett Heath © Nick Hull
immature Adder Lytchett Heath © Nick Hull
Adult male and female Lytchett Heath © Nick Hull
















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