The Bright Wave

Bright Wave is an unassuming little moth that is extremely rare in this country. It has a few, very localised breeding populations in South-East coastal locations, one of which is on the vegetated shingle below the meadows.

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Internet photo of a Bright Wave

We received notification that the Lepidopteran (Butterflies and Moths) ecologist, working for Butterfly Conservation, wanted to visit the meadows to survey them for Bright Wave breeding activity. Unfortunately we missed his visit but we have subsequently talked to him to discover that he didn’t find anything but that the meadows were a potentially good site for their breeding, particularly the more nutrient-deprived upper slopes of the second meadow. His advice was to carry on doing what we are doing – cutting the grass annually and taking off the cuttings – and he will visit again next year to try again.

In the meantime, I will see if I can capture one in my moth trap during the flight season which is from now until early August.

Here is another small and unassuming animal:

Trail camera

Just a blurry image from a trail camera taken in the dead of night on the summer solstice. But it is one that got us excited because in the five years we have been here, this is only the second ever glimpse of a Hedgehog. I think there are reasons why we don’t get Hedgehogs and two of these reasons are pictured below:

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One Fox climbing over another one – reason unknown!
Trail camera
The young twin Badgers (and an added Bat)

Now that I have started on photos of Foxes and Badgers in the meadows, let me continue with some more:

Trail camera
A Fox cub acquainting itself with a fellow animal-of-the-night
Trail camera
Fox checking out the Badger sett

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Moving on to birds now, the pair of Grey Partridge continue to visit the seed on the strip:

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A good enough photo to notice the red spot behind the eye.
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Walking around the meadows, the view we most often get is of them flying away. The noticeable things then are the rufous sides of their tails, not otherwise visible.
Trail camera
The Tawny has not been visiting the meadows very much recently. But here it is on midsummers day.
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Male Sparrowhawk on the gate.
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Juvenile Jay
Trail camera
Juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker (red cap)
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Mistle Thrush

Two newly-appeared Butterflies are now flying around the meadows. The Large Skipper, with the slight checkerboarding on its wings:

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and the Small Skipper, with plain orange wings and orange antennae:

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We also get Essex Skippers here which are very similar to Small Skippers but have black undersides to their antennae, but we haven’t seen one of these yet this year.

Like the Hedgehog earlier in this post, below is only the second ever Toad that has been seen here. This one was sheltering under one of the sampling squares at the top of the second meadow.  There is a breeding population of Toads in the grounds of Walmer Castle nearby and so our best guess that this is a posh royal Toad come visiting.

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The meadows are starting to clothe themselves in their full summer glory:

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But I leave them for now with a photo of one of the only two Pyramidal Orchids that we have growing this year:

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The bird ringer visited the wood today to check the Owl and Kestrel boxes. It is a two-person job with one person deploying a hole blocker – a stuffed bag at the end of a long pole – while the other ascends the ladder:

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The results were that there was a definite leafy Squirrel drey in one of the Barn Owl boxes, but the other Barn Owl box and the Tawny box had sticks in them suggesting Jackdaws or Stock Doves. The Kestrel box had some bedding in it but we are uncertain who was using it.

So, no Owls or Kestrels then but we are not downhearted. Positions for two additional Tawny boxes and several more little boxes were identified and these will go up in the autumn.

The Fox cub is still around in the wood

Trail camera

and there are occasional glimpses of adult Foxes:

Trail camera

The Buzzard was again at the pond and it is such an enormous bird when viewed up close. For scale, here is a Jay which in itself is a fair sized bird:

Trail camera

and, cropped to the same amount, here is the Buzzard:

Trail camera

It is now the end of June. We have been so busy recently juggling lots of things but are looking forward now to spending quiet time catching up and getting on with stuff in the meadows and the wood.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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