Saturday, 28 May 2016

Leaving on a Jet Plane - John Denver SATURDAY

An evening with the Bat Detectors brought clarity
to one species, Common Noctual, which has long been 
suspected as resident here so was added to the list, while both 
Common and Soprano Pipistrelles were also recorded again.
Without even a hint of an invitation to join them, Hugh and Janet have
now jetted off to the Western reaches of the USA, leaving me with nothing to my name save becoming
LORD LIEUTENANT of the CHICKEN COUP
and 
Irrigation Superintendent of the
STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER
(seems there might be a song in that)
So, having to feed the Chicks and water the Strawbs before setting about the
Moth Traps, we're Puffed Out almost before the day begins.
Among yesterday's meager haul and First for the Year
 MARBLED MINOR (type)
 GREEN CARPET
 PEPPERED MOTH
and the

SOLDIER BEETLE
CANTHARIS RUSTICA
and for good measure we quickly turn to a
Trail Cameras Update with
video
STONECHAT
and
video
PIED WAGTAIL
getting in on the act.
It is thought about time that we also produce an update on the progress of the
LITTLE RINGED PLOVERS
Behind Eco, the problem still remains getting close to the birds,
 which has its own advantages, but in recent days they have obligingly
come a little nearer to us. With 3 having been seen here it is presumed 
that there is a nest somewhere but they are keeping something of a low profile.
Although we do see one or the other of them occasionally,
 at the weekend
video
video
they were seen together but never close enough to get them all in the same shot.
In the Solar Panel Compound, where a closer approach 
is possible without disturbing the birds, the pair there have been seen
video
 taking over 'nest duties', which may include sitting on eggs? 
and titivating the Shallow Scrape.
video
Nest Cleaning.
On 5 consecutive days now one or other of the potential parent birds
 has been watched
 dedicatedly sitting at the same spot until potential disaster struck.
It was the intention of the original Shepherd to back-fill this 5 feet deep pit,
as a hazard to his charges, but the job was never done.
 Soon after the arrival of the new Herdsman, who we have not met, 
these 4 huge cable drums, connected by wammy tape, now serve as a barrier to the Sheep.
The moving destroyed at least one Pied Wagtail nest while in others
PIED WAGTAIL
 do continue to feed young.
All this action did in turn disturb the LRP's which couldn't be located
even after a 40 minutes search, but this was used to our advantage,
 to pay a visit to what was considered to be a nest site,
 where these c4 eggs were seen.
 Having little, or no, option but to leave them exposed we paid a
visit early the following morning to find a sitting bird had returned.
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Friday, 27 May 2016

Too Low For Zero - Elton John

A fingertip numbing ZERO complete with a light grass frost met us at dawn yesterday, which was reflected by the number of Moths taken in the traps overnight, just 15 Insects of 8 Species. However, that was partly offset when Janet showed me this years
 ROBIN'S NEST
 open to view
in one of her stables. 
At the Irrigation Pond it now seems certain that the Coots have given up
their latest and third attempt to procreate, and it was found that the
CANADA GEESE
with just the single Gosling had move in from the Gravel Pit, and
video
Dad was having a Dhobie.
We had arrived about a hour earlier that usual and it seemed
the order, at that time of day, was bathing and preening.
video
video
BLACK-HEADED GULL
and
video
WOOD PIGEON
then at the already mentioned Gravel Pit
there was some indication as to why the Canada Geese had made a move.
 While it seemed strange at the time, but we had once before clapped eyes on an
EGYPTIAN GOOSE
keeping obbo from the top of the mountain (as we like to call it)
which forms an Island in the Lake, with the reason today being the 
presence of
video
c5 other Egyptian Geese, not hanging around for me to take photos.
The pair of Tufted Ducks had also remained with another male joining them,
and as this Duck has never been recorded here during the month of June
we are hoping they might stay - "kiss of death" or what?
Behind Eco, where the BUND is now seemingly higher and longer than the
Great Wall of China,
the long staying pair of Little Ringed Plover are still not showing any signs of
settling down to breed, but seem totally unperturbed at the array of heavy plant
under taking the works, but not so the mob of
 HERRING GULLs
 which are being deprived of both food and nesting material during the process
 and kicking up a mighty racket in protest.
 LAPWING
 appear to be suffering a small amount of inconvenience but,
only take to the wing for a few minutes at a time, do what looks every bit
like a 'display flight' before returning to the same spot which is very likely a nest?
Reaching the Merritown Gate at first glance the Heath looked a little quiet too,
so it was decided to utilise the time by checking the Reptile Covers.
 Under the first were c2
SMOOTH SNAKES
 followed by a third looking all together a different colour, and didn't have such
bold patterning (maybe a juvenile?), followed
 by a fourth which was tiny.
 The first
SLOW WORM
of the day was followed by something a little more interesting.
 The fore-wing of what appears to be that of a 'male'?
EMPEROR (Moth)
 and given the breezy conditions had no right to be just resting on top
of one of the metal sheets laid for the Reptiles.
 This was followed by certainly the biggest
SMOOTH SNAKE
in my limited experience, then a final
SLOW WORM.
By this time our count of
COMMON HEATH (Moth)
had reached 6 (9 for the day) and a single
CINNABAR
(final total 3)
which is when a 'live'
EMPEROR
hove into view. Even with the binoculars on it for a decent time it
could not be said with any certainty whether it was a
 Male
or
Female.
These are very fast flying creatures and for me impossible to catch.
However, what would be the point when photographs have already been secured
and easily lifted from the archive.
If push came to shove it did look rather more like a male?
Finally, a Trail Camera Update with a female
CHAFFINCH
and bringing Great Delight a
JAY
video
which lent itself to a short clip of footage.
video
There was a ROBIN as well.
(Start with a Robin, End with a Robin)
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Thursday, 26 May 2016

The Wall - Pink Floyd

After the Magnum Opus (?) of yesterday,
it's now back to reality with the intention
of returning to a 'DAILY' Post.
This being in recognition of the efforts of those who passed our Link to others.
 THANK YOU ONCE AGAIN
and there is still time to do so if you have not already! 
While the Moth Traps were the first consideration, as ever, this morning having watched the Hirundines arrive over a number of weeks now, and set about the business of procreation, we decided to dedicate much of the rest of the day to them.
Our Little Mate was in Waiting.
ROBIN
and Firsts for Year

 TURNIP MOTH
 COMMON PUG
and one of the few Micros we can put a name to, the immigrant
RUSTY-DOT PEARL
Not the best of starts reaching Parley Pond
 where a fresh dead
BLACK-HEADED GULL
for found with no signs of 'cause of death'?
Only prognosis 'Natural Causes'?
On to the Hirundines and
we found the 2 'nest building' species (in oppose to excavators) taking full
advantage of what few rain puddles are not dried out.
SWALLOW
video
With so many ideal sites in the Recording Area
video
there is no knowing how many pairs the property supports,
but thought to be as high as the mid-20's?
We just have to wait now to estimate the success rate.

video
SWALLOW
About the same with
HOUSE MARTIN
video
which favour one or two of the private dwellings here,
but also nest on the Manor House.
video
Despite the continuous day time clatter associated with the
Eco Recycling Plant
video
they also seem to be very much home there as well.
On the way up to Eco
 we stopped to take a closer look at the mass of
 JACK-BY-THE-HEDGE
 and where was also found a species of
CYSTODERMA
FUNGI
The Wall
was purposely carved out of the bund of 'saleable' top soil
with the residue set aside should a customer be found for it.
The returning
SAND MARTIN
video
took to this readily on arrival
although they did investigate and start some burrowing at the old site
just 100 feet away.
video
Since that time they have been more than happy with their New Quarters
video
and are currently feeding young in 21 active nest holes.
 Elsewhere on our daily wander we found the first signs of
 BIRD'S-FOOT TREFOIL
Hundreds, or just as likely 'thousands of

 FUNNEL WEAVER SPIDER LAIRS
along with the tiniest
SMOOTH SNAKE
we have ever clapped eyes on.
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