By Graeme Lyons
Alice and I had a recording day yesterday for the volunteers of the new Flatropers Wood volunteer group to excite them about wildlife and biological recording. For a site with no designations that's so far away, Flatropers is really well recorded so to record at least four species new to the site was pretty good. Including one that is nationally scarce that I have only seen once before.
Why is that? The answer: recording in March. It's a great time of year to find stuff that many naturalists and even entomologists don't usually pick up. It's also a time of year I am at my most DESPERATE to do some recording. It's also the time of year I (usually) have the most free time before the field season starts.
I love finding moths at rest. It's such a rare event, I'm certain that is the first time I have ever found a yellow-horned moth at rest (and might even be the last). Although it's a well known location for moths since the Victorian era, this early spring species (along with Tortricodes alternella) were also new to the site. We swept a tiny (almost) mature male spider which I am pretty sure is Dipoena tristis (which IS known from the site). Turning logs in the wood provided only my second ever record of the Nb weevil Caenopsis fissirostris. The only other time I saw this was on the 17th March last year under a damp log looking rather soggy and dead, just like this one. I wonder if it is typically found like this?
We had a new bird for the site too. Hawfinch! At least five of them that took a bit of stalking but eventually perched high at the top of a tree. At the start of this winter we had records for 6/32 sites, it's now at 11/32 sites and that's just the ones we know about! It's now been recorded on as many reserves as greylag and teal and marsh tits were also good value.
So why not get out there and do some early spring recording? You never know what you might find!