A Week in May

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The pair of Mallards continue to fly in every morning for an hour or so. Here they are today:

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They are clearly a breeding pair, so does that mean that they leave the nest unattended while they are both here? The answer seems to be that, yes, they do – but they cover the eggs with leaves or other camouflage. The female lays 10-12 eggs with a 1-2 day interval between each egg which is a total of half her body weight and this makes her weakened and in need of protection by the male while she is egg laying. However, once the clutch is completed, than that’s it for the male and he goes off with other males down the pub and leaves the rest of the work to the female. So they will only be coming here as a pair until her eggs are all laid. Also, look at the colour of his feet – I had no idea they were so bright.

One of the nest boxes we have up is a bit of a gimmicky thing – an upcycled teapot. However, we have a wren building her nest in it this year. How lovely is that?

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The teapot Wren’s nest

I put a trail camera on it and got lots of photos of her building it.

Trail camera

Trail camera

It is the time of year for Mason bees and we have a lot of Red Mason Bees building their nests in our viewing chambers:

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They build a wall of mud and then bring in a lot of yellow pollen and then lay a single white egg on the pollen mound. Then another mud wall to seal the compartment and so on until the tube is full. It is then sealed off with a mud cap.

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They work so hard.

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The meadows are full of Buttercups. So many Buttercups. But also the Red Clover, Common Vetch and Black Medick are in flower.

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Common Carder Bee – the ginger one.

And the hawthorn is out in full and glorious flower:

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And the Jonny-Bed-By-Noon is starting to come out. Its also called Goatsbeard but, since we have a son called Jonny, we prefer that name. Its flowers are closed up by the afternoon, hence the Noon bit of its name:

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And, in the left hand copse, the White Helleborine is coming up again this year. This is an Orchid and unusual for this part of the county and so we were watching for it especially.

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I will photograph it again once it has opened to its full glory.

The twin baby badgers are continuing to romp around. This screen shot of a video is notable since it shows all 5 of the badgers now living in this section of the cliff. Here they all are, bless their cotton socks:

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The next couple of screenshots I have included specifically to look at badger claws – worthy of special attention I feel. This badger is just a year old:

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And here is the mother badger, up and about really early last night:

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The bare earth strip has not as yet enticed any Turtle Doves. However, we are enjoying the Grey Partridge pair that are camping out on it:

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They do an awful lot of dust bathing in the course of a day:

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I will finish this round up of the last few days with this little chap who was flying around this afternoon:

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Very brightly coloured, this is the Cinnamon Bug (Corizus hyoscyami). This bug was historically coastal in southern Britain but has been spreading inland. Found in dry grassland, it is part of a group called the Scentless Plant Bugs.

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