Archive for August 13th, 2009
A lot of effort is going into providing bumblebee pollen and nectar, with mixed results. One of the desired outcomes is a field full of red clover, but often the plant does not increase in abundance. Sometimes this is because, having been allowed to flower, the field is either cut for hay or grazed by livestock too soon. These flower heads are not ripe enough
These seed heads, conversely, are Read the rest of this entry »
I have been doing some bumblebee surveys in this area over the past month and was pleased to find a single brown banded carder bee Bombus humilis on Monday. it might not sound much of an achievement but this bee was last recorded in this 10 km square (TQ81) in 1976, and by the late 1990’s was unlikely to be found away from Dungeness. It is hopefully a further sign that meadow creation, and the use of pollen and nectar strips on arable farmland is starting to work for these insects.
On the subject of pollen and nectar, whilst undertaking this survey, I came across this strip of field that had been sown with marsh woundwort*. It was humming with bumblebees. An interesting variation on the more normal legume mix.
* I have now discovered that this plant is actually a hybrid between marsh woundwort and hedge woundwort, and has colonised the strip of field naturally. It is excellent for bumblebees.
A greater variety of waders has begun to frequent the pools. On Wednesday 12th there were single Green & Wood Sandpipers, Snipe, Greenshank and Spotted Redshank, a couple each of Common Sandpiper & Little Ringed Plover, 3 Avocets, 4 Redshanks, 7 Black-tailed Godwits and 16 Dunlin. They were stirred up from time to time by the passage of a Sparrowhawk or Peregrine.
Many Mallard and Teal, along with a few Shoveler were feeding in the shallow water while Black-headed Gulls searched the fresh mud exposed as the brisk westerly wind pushed the roadside pond to one end.
Read the rest of this entry »
Avian highlights over the past few days have included Arctic Skua, Whinchat and 9 Whimbrel from the Beach Reserve. From Castle Water 2 Hobby, Barn Owl, 2 Greenshank, 2 Ruff, 7 Green and 9 Common Sandpiper. A nice find at the viewpoint was a queen cuckoo bee Bombus rupestris, this species parasitises the nest of the Red-tailed Bumblebee. For the deception to work the queens of both species obviously look similar but the cuckoo queen in my mind looks unfriendly and a bit scruffy, rather like its put a gorilla suit on to go to a fancy dress.
Queen Bombus rupestris on Spear thistle at the viewpoint Castle Water