If today’s weather is not enough of a sign that the seasons are changing, this Redstart at the pond yesterday shows that the Autumn migration is well underway. It’s a bird that spends its Summers in upland Britain, but has stopped off with us on its way out of the country.
This Migrant Hawker, also called the Autumn Hawker, is a small hawker dragonfly whose numbers are boosted by migrants from continental Europe in the Autumn and it is to be seen working high up along hedgerows, searching for prey. A beautiful thing indeed.
We have received notification from MasonBees UK that they are now ready to receive back the completed tubes. Just to recap, mason bees build mud compartments in tunnels, depositing pollen in each one and then laying an egg on the pollen. We have an observation box which shows what it looks like inside each tunnel:
MasonBees UK supplied us with 25 Red Mason Bee cocoons and a release box in the Spring, along with these tubes shown below, which it was hoped that the hatched bees would then use to lay their eggs, multiplying by many fold the number of cocoons we could send back to them in the Autumn.
Once the bees stopped flying, we took the completed tubes and stored them under the stairs. The eggs will have hatched into larvae who feed off the pile of pollen and then eventually changed into cocoons by this point in the year. Unlike the eggs and the larvae, these cocoons are quite robust and will be able to handle being sent through the postal system.
Well, we are sending them back 45 completed tubes. We guess that there are about 12 compartments in each tube which makes a possible total of 540 cocoons that we will be returning. I hope they will be pleased with that.
Yesterday, as we were out driving, a Collared Dove flew down onto the road right in front of us. It was sadly a fatality but I retrieved the bird from the side of the road and put it over the fence onto the cliff so that some good could come from it all:
I also found a dead vole under the bird table. I think the culprit here was the dog who responds to any movement with a pounce but loses interest as soon as that movement stops (on account of it being dead, in this case). Again, I put this vole onto the cliff but it wasn’t a fox who went off with it this time:
Further cutting of the meadows is now on hold until drier weather returns, but we can still admire how much has been done:
Taking some screen shots from last night’s videos along the cliff path, shows this submissive fox. The video stopped taking before we saw what was approaching but it was almost certainly a more dominant fox:
There was a lot of badger activity taking fresh bedding back to the sett. Here is the male badger with a mouthful of hay:
And after all that hard work dragging bedding, what better relaxation than sitting down and having a jolly good scratch?: