Lockdown Diary: Tuesday 23.6.20

I got up early this morning, to search a small green in Peterborough on which three giant Black Poplars stand. These mighty trees are hosts to the boring caterpillars of Hornet Moth, one of the great British insects; and I have found the newly emerged ...

I got up early this morning, to search a small green in Peterborough on which three giant Black Poplars stand. These mighty trees are hosts to the boring caterpillars of Hornet Moth, one of the great British insects; and I have found the newly emerged adults on a few occasions before, here. Hornet Moths are harmless Hornet mimics and are spectacular in yellow and black, with ‘clear’ wings.
Sadly, none were about today, so I popped up to Deeping Lakes LWT for a pootle. The highlights were seven Egyptian Geese, plus, best of all, the first tiny Common Tern chick of the year.
The east pit of this site has a colony of 30-40 Lesser Black-backed Gull nests. But it seems none of these have any chicks at all this year. I believe this is down to predation by Red Kites, which seem very efficient at swooping down into the colony to grab what they want without fear of retribution from the adult gulls. Some local birders dislike the gulls for their predatory nature, but here they are the ‘victims’.
Eventually, I suppose there is a balance between predation and breeding survival, but with people constantly altering the conditions of this big natural experiment, what the eventual outcome is is anyone’s guess.