The Whitlingham Bird Report 2020 is available now (click here)

For previous years (2012-2019) see the links on the Whitlingham Bird List page.

WHITLINGHAM: June WeBS and a selection of interesting insects

7th June 2020

I had carried out the May WeBS count a week late following a relaxation of the lockdown rules (and a change in the BTO advice), but the June count was the first one back on the correct date. The mid-summer counts are often fairly species-poor, but do usually mean large numbers of swans and geese as they gather here for post-breeding moult. Today was no exception, with the number of Canada Geese particularly impressive - I counted 118 although this was an undercount as the shadowy figures of more geese could be seen moving on the main island. Likewise the 179 Greylag Geese, whilst the 117 Mute Swans was probably close to the true amount. Three Common Terns were still present, as was the tame Barnacle Goose. There was a nice flock of hirundines, including overdue first Sand Martins of the year, and some amazing views of Swifts flying along the path, sometimes at waist height.

The weather was showery, which was probably quite handy as it kept the number of other people lower than would have otherwise been the case, but I had initially been disappointed that I wouldn't see as many insects as I would have done if it had been sunny. I needn't have worried, as I found plenty of interest whilst just looking at the vegetation as I made my way round. Highlights included the tortoise beetle Cassida viridis, the caddisfly Limnephilus decipiens, larvae of the sawfly Endelomyia aethiops, an occupied case of the micro-moth Coleophora ibipennella (the latter three species all new to me and the site) and some Mullein moth caterpillars. It was good to be out.

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