Our wildlife over the summer carried few unusual reports and our resident species maintained their usual numbers. Of the rarities we still see a good population if Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers. Little Grebes (Dabchicks) once more bred in Dulwich Park for the third year. As reported in the last issue House Martins were down to half the previous year’s numbers which appears to be a national trend. They came late and left earlier than usual perhaps due to the early onset of some cold autumnal weather.
The most frequent contact I have had concerned sightings of the Jersey Tiger moth which is becoming more common year on year. Patrick Spencer has provided this most excellent photograph. The striped forewing gives it camouflage on settling but the brilliant orange of its underwing and abdomen when it flies surprises us and is a flash mechanism that may attract mates of the same species to get together. Hopefully it will remain as a further feature of our summer gardens.
As readers will know there is now a vigorous campaign to preserve and save the Herne Hill Velodrome. Quite apart from its great value as a cycling facility it is a remarkable wildlife oasis. Over many years I have recorded seventy five bird species in and around the Velodrome and it is particularly valuable as a drop-in refuge for birds migrating over London as well as in cold weather. Most of the birds have been the small migrants such as Warblers, Wheatears, Redstarts and Whinchats but the most unusual record was of a Quail, usually heard only in Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony. So there’s a thought as you sign your pledge to keep the site open.
Please keep your reports and records coming.
Peter Roseveare Wildlife Recorder (Tel: 020 7274 4567)