Well it really was a mooching type of day here today at KMBRC HQ. With the temperature reaching a heady 22 degrees by lunchtime Tony was in his element as he headed out for not one but two mooches....
"A mid-morning mooch around the less intensively managed grasslands at Brogdale Farm in bright sunshine failed to produce very much of interest other than the diminutive long horn moth Cauchas rufimetrella whose larvae feed on the hereabouts abundant hedge garlic (Alliaria petiolata). However, whilst I was crouched down looking at these tiny moths Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) were busy commuting from their nest sites in the nearby houses into the orchards looking from insect larvae to feed their young, whilst swallows (Hirundo rustica) swooped through and Common Whitethroat (Sylvia communis) sang scratchily from the wind break behind me. The sound of the chattering starlings changed abruptly to a more alarmed and aggressive tone which alerted me to the presence of a large bird of prey just 20m away on the other side of the hedge. It is usual for there to be a handful of Buzzards (Buteo buteo) around so I assumed that this was what it was going to be, but when it lifted above the tree-line I could clearly see the distinctive shape of a Red Kite (Milvus milvus)!
With the temperature raising I decided to take a lunchtime visit to check in on the local Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus malvae) population. Three were seen in a fairly short time along with numerous Brimstones (Gonepteryx rhamni), Speckled Yellows (Pseudopanthera macularia) and another small longhorn moth Cauchas fibulella. Other things of note were Wild liquorice (Astragalus glycyphyllos), Common Twayblade (Listera ovata), Early-Purple Orchid (Orchis maculata),White Helleborine (Cephalanthera damasonium) Osmia bicolor and the impressive (and protected) Roman snail (Helix pomatia)."