Thursday, 11 August 2016

Newtown NNR

One of the places I was very keen to revisit on the Isle of Wight was the National Trust's  Newtown National Nature Reserve, a large estuary on the north of the island. I last visited this reserve back in 2002, when I was last on the island, looking for a very special bird, the Little Egret. At the time, this was a new species for me, and still a relatively rare bird in Britain. We managed to see one then, after quite a lot of searching. This year's visit was much easier, with 4 birds seen.

Newtown Estuary and Little Egret

The tide was well in when we got to Newtown, so we didn't see too many other coastal birds, except a couple of Oystercatchers, 3 Curlews, Redshank (heard) and 2 Greenshank.

As well as the birds, we also spent some time looking at the insects on the reserve. Butterflies seen were: Comma (1), Peacock (1), Gatekeeper (dozens), Meadow Brown (dozens), Speckled Wood (3), Small Skipper (1), Common Blue (3 - 2 males and a female) and Marbled White (1).  

Common Blue (male)

Two other insects of note were both new to me and Jayne, namely Wasp Spider and a type of horsefly (nice!!) called Tabanus autumnalis.

The Wasp Spider is a relative newcomer to Britain, and is still confined mainly to the south of the country (see here).  We saw 3 webs within a small, 1m patch of grass near the public bird hide. The pictures show the upper and underside of a female. She sits in the middle of the web. The male is much smaller, and less colourful, and  is usually eaten by the female after mating.

Wasp Spider (upperside)

Wasp Spider (underside)

The final picture is of the horsefly Tabanus autumnalis. This "beauty", about 2cm long, landed on my bag, and then flew into a bush, where I was able to get this photo. Luckily, it didn't manage to take a bite out of me or Jayne.

Tabanus autumnalis

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