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Bees, Snakes and Cake

July 8, 2010
A Post by Katrina and Becky.
Sam’s Amazing Super Squad
Friday 2nd July.
The group went to Higher Hyde in the pouring rain to map some ponds and do some pond dipping to learn about pond life. We saw many dragonflies emerging from their nymph form and lots of pond life such as water boatman, pond skaters, nymphs, and newtlets (or more technically – efts).

Female Southern Hawker

We also found a massive female raft spider, which although was amazing, Becky found terrifying.

Raft Spider

Monday 5th July. Corfe Mullen Meadow and Upton Heath.

Bee man Dave came to talk to a room full of eager volunteers and staff ready to learn all about the wonderful world of bumblebees or more technically – bombus bees. Dave gave an enlightning presentation on all aspects of bumblebees and taught us how to identify the different species (as before this quite a few volunteers thought only one species existed…. how silly of us).  There is actually a wide variety of them, including the buff tailed, red tailed, white tailed, garden, common carder and early bumble bee.

Red-tailed Bumblebee

 We  went to Corfe Mullen Meadow to survey the hay meadow for bumble bees. We found many types including the red tailed, buff tailed and also many burnet moths, skipper butterflies, meadow browns and marble white butterflies. However the highlight was finding what we weren’t looking for at all – a roe deer kid hiding in the long grass.  

Baby Roe kid found in Corfe Mullen Meadow.... cue the "Awww's"

 After lunch we went out on to Upton Heath to find some more bees. Including the buff tailed shown below, white tailed and red tailed. We also spotted an Azure Damslefly and a Keeled skimmer dragonfly. Sundews (the fly eating plant) and bog asphodel which had a spectacular display of flowers were also found. All in all a very bee-tastic day!!

Buff-tailed Bumblebee

Tuesday 6th July – staff meeting. so only maintance work at Brooklands.

Wednesday 7th July

The group of intrepid volunteers were joined by Ruby’s new boyfriend Digger, a lovely border terrier. We went over to Bugden’s Meadow in Verwood to carry on with the fencing task which will allow the cows to be grazed on the site. Lots of fencing was put up and a trench dug for a water trough.

The happy couple 🙂

Thursday 8th July

What started out as a miserable day turned into glorious sunshine and a promising day unfolded. First we participated in a moth indentification exercise and recorded over 50 species. The most impressive in our opinions would be the Pine Hawk-moth and the Elephant Hawk-Moth (see last weeks pictures for example). it was certainly an impressive array of moths, from the tiny micro ones, to the magnificent macro ones.

Peppered Moth

Pine Hawk-Moth

We then rocked on over to Upton Heath to carry out a survey of Silver Studded Blue Butterflies and spotted around 62, a mega improvement on the 25 spotted last year. 2 hobbies chasing off a buzzard was also a interesting spectacle.

Pair of Silver Studded Blues mating (left - female, right - male)

Both of us split off from the rest of the group and went with Nigel to hunt for reptiles to use in his guided walk this evening. Neither of us had ever seen a native wild snake before, and we were in luck not only did we see one, we saw 5… 3 female Smooth Snakes, one male Smooth Snake and one Grass Snake (we were unable to identify the sex). We also spotted 3 slow worms, but only managed to catch one – they aren’t always slow!

As you can see Becky was not impressed with Bruce the Smooth Snakes smooth talking

Katrina makes friends with legless Leggy the Slow worm

 We named one of the female Smooth Snakes Jemima and the Grass Snake Puddleduck…. we’re grown up university students honest.

All in all it has been a fruitful week with many many species seen, and we celebrated the whole week with a lot cake.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. the truth permalink
    July 8, 2010 7:28 pm

    amazing blog. amazing pictures… amazing name for the group. Super Squad!!

  2. July 11, 2010 9:35 pm

    Lovin’ the bloggin’!! Keep it up, it’s great reading..

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