Monday, 22 June 2015

Hare Today Gone Tomorrow

Took the dog for a walk on the eastern edge of our patch this morning, through some lovely farmland. It was wonderful listening to singing Skylarks, Yellowhammers, Linnets and Whitethroats galore.  Most of the land was clearly for dairy farming, and I often find these farms still quite good for wildlife with hedges left to flourish, as apposed to the intense arable farming of this day and age.

The highlight though was this lovely adult Brown Hare.  This is the first Hare I've seen in this area for over two years, my last sighting was of a small group of leverets not all the far from where I saw today's animal...



Friday, 19 June 2015

Scarce Chasers

Having failed to see Scarce Chaser on the Estuary the other day, I went to Lower Bruckland Ponds yesterday and had much better success. There were at least five males on three different ponds, the most mature males I have ever seen here...


There are three different individuals pictured above, the male in the upper two photos complete with mating scars. As usual there were plenty of other dragonflies and damselflies on show but nothing out of the ordinary.

I also had the good fortune to walk around the corner right into this gorgeous fox cub...


Understandably it scarpered the second it noticed me, so it's a good job I was quick with the camera...


Thursday, 18 June 2015

Migrant Moths

I've seen a few migrant moths this week, presumably thanks to the warmer weather and the death of that horrible northerly wind.

First up was at work, with a Silver Y resting on a metal shipping container earlier this week...



Then came this Bordered Straw in the moth trap at Mum and Dad's on Wednesday morning. Usually quite an irregular migrant, but there seems to be an influx of them going on at the moment...



In the same moth trap was a much finer moth though, a first for the garden and a much rarer migrant species. This stunning Striped Hawkmoth...



I trapped again last night, and amazingly caught a second Striped Hawkmoth!  And how do I know it wasn't the same one? Well I gave the first to Karen who released it in Sidmouth, and it had some wear to the tips of its wings having spent a day in a pot. So two in two nights...



The eighth species of Hawkmoth for the garden, I just love 'em!

Both nights of trapping produced decent hauls of moths, with 104 moths of 35 species on Tuesday night and 118 moths of 42 species on Wednesday night.  As well as a couple more Silver Y's, I've mentioned the migrant species, but it was nice to see some of the locals again too...

Eyed Hawkmoth

Scorched Wing

Green Silver-lines

Figure of Eighty - so well named!

L-album Wainscot - a local speciality

Ruddy Carpet - another local speciality

Purple Bar

Alder Moth

Whilst on the insect theme, I had a look along the upper reaches of the Axe Estuary mid week.  Couldn't find any Scarce Chasers, but it was nice to see plenty of White-legged Damelflies...



And Banded Demoiselles...


Friday, 12 June 2015

Previous Post Plus Photos

I keep going back to our new open heathland-type habitat, it's proving such a diverse site! It's clear the removal of the trees has greatly increased the variety of birds here. On the last couple of visits I've taken my camera too...



The Tree Pipit wasn't very obliging this morning, and I've still not seen more than one bird. Last year there were three (two males and a presumed female)...



The Stonechat family were still present, along with a couple of Willow Warblers, a Spotted Flycatcher, several Siskins including at least five juvs and a pair of Kestrel that I really hope are breeding nearby...



And back in some of the remaining thicker conifers, it was good to see one baby Tawny Owl still along with a brief adult...



And it's not just birds.  Am yet to note any different butterflies here, but a couple of Painted Ladies were good to see this morning...


Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Heathland Habitat At Home

In the last couple of years we've been blessed with Nightjars on patch, thanks to the clearance of a load of larch near Morganhayes Wood. Usually I advocate leaving trees and woodlands as they are, but this has proved such a positive bit of habitat restoration - even though this wasn't the intention! 

Not only have Nightjars moved in, but for the second year there's singing male Tree Pipit here (haven't seen a pair yet unlike last year but she could be sitting), and this year a family of Stonechat.  There were also a few Willow Warblers singing yesterday and they certainly wouldn't have been there if it was still a larch plantation. The surronding conifers still hold several Siskins, and yesterday I was surprised to see a flock of eight Crossbill fly over before landing near where I had parked my car.  Seeing as they were so scarce last autumn and during the winter I don't think they have bred here, but more likely my first autumn migrants.... (yes that's me wishing this cold and windy summer away already!).

It was nice to see two baby Tawny Owls as well making a right racket and looking pretty clumsy. Typically I didn't have my camera with me though...