Sunday, 11 March 2018

Morden Hall Park Urban Rangers, 11th March 2018

Today's session was another good one, and we completed a mini BioBlitz of the paddock, since it was a year since the group began working in it. We started on the small pond in one of the corners, and after some fishing other than tons of mayfly larvae a few water boatmen, some snails and worms were recorded along with a few other bits and pieces. We were again being filmed as part of a video being made (see previous post 25/2) about the ranger group. 

While last time the paddock was bustling with birds, as expected things were back to normal and other than yaffling Green Woodpeckers only common species were seen - no Black Redstart or Mipit. We moved onto the 'bug hotel' and the bits of cardboard and metal put down beside it. Beneath one was a caterpillar which immediately rolled up - would appreciate ID help, along with quite a few slugs and snails and some bugs. The other yielded several Millipedes and centipedes, as well as lots of minuscule white bugs. Meanwhile the bug hotel was oddly bugless - I have a theory...

The first butterfly of the year was also recorded - a Small Tortoiseshell - the earliest I've seen one. Afterwards, we set off to get a few tools, to return to find a toad looking quite calm. We then continued working on the mounds of grass that were still building up along the Wildflower meadow, and while correcting them counting and recording every animal that we saw. Before the end of the session another Caterpillar was found, as were a few other spiders. We packed up, cleaned the tools, finished the trademark biscuits, recorded the last few bits and pieces, and finished the session. 
caterpillar sp.

Caterpillar species...

I went for a quick walk, deciding to cover the other side of the site a bit more, though I whizzed around the reedbeds. While my phone was pinging with alerts of a Spoonbill, I was hoping it might head south. A white bird flew onto the marsh and then into a sheltered area - Little Egret. A Water Rail was calling from Grid Reference TQ260689. For all those looking to find one of the rails generally it's best to listen out for them, either calling and maybe even singing, and try and get to a location looking downwards - I've only had fleeting glances so far. The pair of Kestrels were mating and displaying from the boardwalk, and a few Redwing were flying over. I then moved on to the Rose Garden pond, and while a fortnight ago had near 80 Black-headed Gulls, only 2 were there today. I carried on and 3 Teal, 1 Chiffchaff and 2 Grey Wagtails were the only other things to be seen. I left soon after, meaning I didn't get time to try and find the Kingfisher. Not a bad session. Hoping to head up to Staines at some point - hopefully!

m Kestrel

Grey Wagtail

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