House Martins or House Sparrows?

To try to persuade House Martins to nest here, we put up this House Martin box a few years ago which comprises two fake mud nests.

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The box has remained unloved and empty until this year when House Sparrows rather than the intended House Martins have decided to nest. We are pleased that the nests are being used by whatever species, but we would like to point out to these Sparrows that, close by, there is a terrace that had been built especially for them and that it is sitting completely unoccupied:

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Fox cubs are appearing a lot on the cameras at the moment. They need to learn how to form relationships with the other animals that inhabit the meadows alongside them, such as Badgers…

Trail camera

…and Magpies:

Trail camera

because when Foxes are about in the daylight, they often have Magpie attendants:

Trail camera

Trail camera

A trail camera captured an interesting interaction below between a Magpie and the bathing Green Woodpecker:

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I am not sure quite what was going on there but it looked slightly menacing and I feel like the Woodpecker got the upper hand.

We have been a bit busy with other things recently but the trail cameras have been working behind the scenes on our behalf. Starting with Foxes:

Trail camera

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Screenshot from a video of a cub suckling.
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Mid yawn.
Trail camera
Three cubs
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Cubs fascinated by frogs at the hide pond.

We have not had a Mistle Thrush on the cameras before:

Trail camera

Quite a few racing pigeons have been dropping by recently, presumably on their way home having just crossed the Channel. Note the rings on the legs:

Trail camera

Other birds that have been caught on camera over the last few days:

Trail camera
Male Sparrowhawk
Trail camera
Sparrowhawks scare me.
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Male Grey Partridge on the strip which is now getting really quite overgrown.
Trail camera
Are the Woodpigeons still building nests this late?
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It is oddly unusual to see Gulls landing in the meadows given how close we are to the sea. However, this one has taken to coming for a daily drink.

There are still a few Small Blue Butterflies around:

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The first Marbled White was seen in the meadow on 16th June:

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and the first Burnet moth today, the 17th:

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Narrow-Bordered Five Spot Burnet Moth

This next photo is a contender for my all-time favourite insect, the male Swollen-thighed Beetle (Oedemera nobilis)

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In the wood, there are Fox cubs here as well:

Trail camera

Trail camera

And a baby Squirrel:

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Our family came and visited us in the wood and for first time we had a cook out and some of us then slept over in these completely enclosed hammocks shown below. There is also a rain-proof, sail-like tarpaulin that goes over it.

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Although I was not one of the people that stayed over, I can report that they are very comfortable, although I can also report that the dawn chorus started at 3.40am! For toilet arrangements, we bought a simple portable one which is basically a loo seat over a bucket, into which we put some wood chips. After each use, the bucket was emptied into a nearby pit and earth thrown over.

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Although we have plans to build a toilet that is much more in keeping with its woodland setting, this arrangement seemed to work very well for now.

I cannot finish this evening without including this serving platter that has been painted for us by one of our family. All the images on the plate are from photos from this blog and I am completely delighted and impressed with it.

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