Fox Cubs Etc.

IMAG0083

All of a sudden, Fox cubs are appearing on the trail cameras. By the hide pond..

IMAG0085

IMAG0105

IMAG0106

Over by the Badger sett:

Trail camera

At the peanuts:

Trail camera

And also in the wood:

IMAG0002 2

Trail camera

Here are baby Badgers at the peanuts with a Fox. The mother Badger would never have allowed this a month or so ago:

Trail camera

One of the Red Mason Bee nest boxes is now completely full:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So we have taken it inside and wrapped it in a pair of tights, to protect it from predator attack, and it will now spend the summer under the stairs. During this time, the eggs will hatch and the larvae will feed on that lovely yellow pollen and, by September, will have developed into tough cocoons. At that point we will retrieve the box from under the stairs, extricate the cocoons, clean any predators away and put them in the fridge for the winter.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We also have a summer bee box, with tunnels of varying diameter to suit Bees that fly later than the spring-flying Red Mason Bees.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This summer bee box has now gone out in the place of the Red Mason Box:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Red Mason box on the left and the new summer bee box on the right.

We have had a Lepidoptera ecologist (Butterflies and Moths) visit us at the meadows. Below the meadows is a patch of vegetated shingle that is an extremely precious habitat for two very rare moths, the Sussex Emerald Moth and the Bright Wave. Working for the Butterfly Conservation charity, he came to assess the meadows to see if there is anything that we can be doing to help support these species.

IMAG0011

In terms of the Sussex Emerald, the answer is that we can’t help – the moth needs vegetated shingle and simply having the right larval food plant and being close by is just not good enough. However, we may be able to help the Bright Wave and he will return in a month to see if he can find any signs of Bright Wave activity in our meadows.

I went down to the shingle with him to survey the Sussex Emerald larvae before they pupate on a week or so. The larvae mainly eat Wild Carrot but here is one on Ragwort:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Azure Damselflies are mating down at the pond:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

But the mass emergence of Emperor Dragonflies, which has been such a feature of late May in previous years, has yet to occur.

May has been dry and the ponds are getting low and busy.

IMAG0048

There are a lot of Starlings here at moment, a mixed flock of juveniles and adults. The juveniles look quite different to the adults at this point of the year:

IMAG0046 2
Juvenile on the left, adult Starling on the right.

The Green Woodpecker continues to entertain us with its bathing technique which always appears more like a suicide attempt:

IMAG0018

IMAG0019

Surely this is not normal?

In the wood, the Woodpecker babies were making an increasingly loud noise.

Trail camera

It is thought that baby Woodpeckers are really quite vigorous and would be a threat to anything investigating the hole and so this noise they make is a warning for predators to keep away.

However, is this strategy working, or are they unnecessarily calling attention to themselves? After all, we first heard the nest rather than saw it. Also, there was this on the trail camera:

Trail camera

When I went there today with my mobile hide, I found that the babies had fledged and the nest was silent. I was cross with myself for having missed them. The best that I can do, for this year at least, is a grainy image of a red-capped juvenile from the trail camera:

Trail camera

Another couple of photos from the wood:

Trail camera

Trail camera

And, thrillingly, a Buzzard at the wood pond:

Trail camera

The finale for today are a couple of photos of the Small Blue colony that is doing so well in the meadows this year. These are females on the larval food plant, Kidney Vetch:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s