Thursday, 6 August 2015

Thick As A Brick - Jethro Tull

Just to draw a line under the recent 'Tot Saga'
(the end of the Royal Navy Rum issue 45 years ago)
it is true to say that I was 'absent from place of duty' on the day,
an onerous crime in the RN at any time let alone in a matter of such importance,
and am currently serving 14 days Number 9's punishment for the offence.
However, in an attempt to make amends a glass of 'one part rum and one part water'
(Grog - Submariners style) was raised the following evening to all
SHIPMATES
who are also in mourning at this time!
Given the time of year, when Bird-life is pretty much 'thin on the ground', and a bout of fairly inclement weather conditions, including unseasonably low overnight temperatures keeping Moth catches low, the day started on something of a negative note. What would we have for our dedicated readership? Not brimming with Insect, but the traps showed some variety including
SMALL SCALLOP
Not new for either the property or the year,
but certainly an improvement on the images we held in the archive.
PLAIN PUG
a pretty much localised creature caught for the first time here last year.
PALE PROMINENT
EAR MOTH
in 3 dimentions.
ROSY MINOR
which is new for the year.
NUTMEG
and the 'migrant' 
DARK SWORD-GRASS
being the Best of the Bunch
while all else included another 'first for the year'
DOR BEETLE
and from a complex division one of the species of
ROBBERFLY
Time to check just how the
video
LITTLE OWL's
are getting on, followed by the usual visit to the 
Irrigation Pond
where the pair of adult
COOT
are still nurturing the only survivor of c7 eggs laid, while at the
Gravel Pit just c2
GREEN SANDPIPER
remain.
With both adult and juvenile Little Ringed Plover now considered well on
their way South, since our return from Kingston there has been little,
or no enthusiasm or incentive to visit the Solar Panel Compound. 
 Most likely a mistake but the decision was made to redressed that
 on Tuesday morning.
A cursory look around found the growth of various species of
 THISTLE
had been prolific as literally 'hundred's of mix Finches
 GOLDFINCH
(not to mention a rather blurred 7-spot Ladybird which went
unnoticed until the photos were edited)
were finding out to their advantage.
video
video
Goldfinch Clips
Having salvaged a number of sheets of old galvanized metal
from this area, and distributed them far and near to attract
Reptile and Amphibian
alike,
it was at that very moment the
'THICK'
element of the day manifested itself.
Visit after visit has been made to this particular Solar Panel Compound
but never once had the thought struck me to investigate beneath these
Redundant Cable Drums
 which to date were only thought to have supported a number of pairs of nesting
Pied Wagtail.
One of the larger drums, for whatever reason, has been dismantled
and so heavy it could only just be lifted.
 Under the first revealed a labyrinth of Rodent Tunnels
and other excavations such as Bolt Holes.
Beneath the second was much more of a surprise
which also brought with it a conundrum.
c2 'tiny' Mammals which did little to try and escape the camera,
but supporting the woodwork as well was not easy!
Quite content just to go about their daily business, and later identified as
'juvenile'
SHORT-TAILED VOLE
they afforded a chance to secure these images
and even
a video clip or two!
video
video
Also noticed beneath were c2 rather large
BLACK SLUG
which my far more learn'ed friend John Gifford informs me come in
all sorts of colours including Fawn/Red/Orange and even sometimes Black,
the Orange 'Skirt' being the identifying feature.
Under another was this
 RODENT NEST
and another a small colony of
GROUND BEETLE
video
only identified as to 'Family Group'.
 There was also a single
video
TOAD
which did beat a retreat. 
Not having seen a single
 GRASS SNAKE
here until recently
they are now becoming like the proverbial No 68 Bus
with c2 today.
Of the c3
SLOW WORMs
also found, this one was by far the easiest as it
video
slithered across the hard-standing directly in front of me
video
and very close to being trodden on!
With all the above going on all around us we very nearly overlooked
a party of c10 young
video
LAPWING
Before leaving the compound there was time to survey
what is hoped to be our next project here.
 This is one of two shallow 'scrapes' which have been excavated
to provide a continuous water source for all the various creatures which use this
Undisturbed Sanctuary.
Unfortunately, the ground is entirely sand and gravel which drains readily.
This 'puddle' will be gone in the morning if there is no overnight rain,
so the plan is to lay a membrane. This very day I have written to
one of the Company Directors at
Silverstone Green Energy
for financial support for this and a winter birds feeding project.
The fingers are crossed!
 More corrugated iron to shelter Reptiles
while on
Merritown Heath
 this
ROE DEER
awaited my arrival and we also found these
 OWL PELLETS
thought to be Tawny?
 and approaching Slight Return II late afternoon there was
opportunity to check out the
MUTE SWAN FAMILY
all c6 Cygnets still present and correct and growing fast.
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