Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Denso-Marston Nature Reserve, Baildon - Sunday 9th July 2017

We had another great event at Denso-Marston nature reserve on Sunday 9th July. Despite the reserve's small size, there's always plenty to see here.

Warden Steve Warrillow made us very welcome and invited us to the new warden's office to see what his moth traps had caught overnight.

Scalloped Oak moth - Denso-Marston Nature Reserve, 9th July 2017

Peppered moth - Denso-Marston Nature Reserve, 9th July 2017

Early Thorn moth - Denso-Marston Nature Reserve, 9th July 2017

We also saw Buff Arches and White Ermine moths, and a Sparrowhawk flying overhead, but the star of the show had to be the Poplar Hawk-moth.

Poplar Hawk-moth - Denso-Marston Nature Reserve, 9th July 2017

The star of the show was this Poplar Hawk-moth (on Steve's thumb)

We then headed out along the river to the far end of the reserve. Here, under the trees, Steve has placed up to 50 wooden boards to create living spaces for mammals and amphibians. We were encouraged to lift up these boards to see what lives beneath.

We found evidence of small mammals living under most of the boards, either Wood Mouse or Bank Vole, although we didn't see any this time. What we did see was lots of Toads, most of which were very dark, but at least one was very pale. Steve explained there can be lots of variation in the colouring of toads, and especially in Common Frogs too.

One of the dark Toads we found...

 ...and a pale Toad we found

Finally, we emerged into the the hot sunshine and headed to the pond for some pond-dipping.

Moorhens - Denso-Marston Nature Reserve, 9th July 2017

Two Moorhens were nesting on the pond, and hawking for small insect prey were two large Brown Hawker dragonflies. Around the reeds and irises at the pond edge were the much smaller Azure Damselflies

Pond dipping

We managed to catch a wide variety of species, and learnt to identify many of them too. There were quite a small  young Smooth Newts, some bigger than others. We also caught plenty of invertebrates: Greater and Lesser Water-boatmen, Hog Louse, Blood Worm, Flatworm, Water Mite, Pond Skaters, Leaches and Freshwater Snail.

Greater Water-boatman (aka Backswimmer)
Denso-Marston Nature Reserve, 9th July 2017

Thank you to everyone who attended and made it such a fun event.

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