Apples and Pears

Here in the meadows the foxes love a tasty pear or two and late September is the time that the pears ripen on the trees and the fun begins.

Last year, after they had plucked all the fruit from the lower branches, they went climbing up into the tree for more:

September 2020

This year, they haven’t started climbing yet but, if they do, then we should know all about it:

The most photographed pear tree in Kent?

Badgers are also very partial to a pear but they are at a disadvantage with their short little legs and have to rely on drops:

Jays, Magpies and Crows are very interested too, pecking away at the fruit by day:

In the image below, the pear on the right went rotten first and, because it was touching the perfectly healthy left hand pear, the fungus passed across and produced this amazing effect.

Whilst all this pear mania is going on, the apples are lying mostly untouched on the ground:

I did, however, cut a few apples in half and spread them on the ground in front of a camera and a group of six Magpies came down to eat them. We have noticed in the past that birds are much more interested in apples if they are first cut up and this seems odd since surely most birds’ beaks could easily pierce the skin of an apple?

We willingly donate all the pears on this tree to wildlife because, although we do like pears ourselves, we like seeing the animals enjoying them more.

We are now certain that this is the male of the pair of Herring Gulls who have adopted the meadows as their territory throughout the year. The female is colour ringed and easy to spot but we can also recognise this male by his behaviour (which amusingly includes dive-bombing the dog) and it is only ever him that turns up with their youngster. We do see the female as well, but only on her own.

The male and his now-fledged chick

We have enjoyed observing this pair of Gulls this year but would like to better understand them and an out-of-print book has been recommended to us. Published in 1953 but apparently ageing well, this book was written by the Nobel-prize winning Niko Tinbergen and is a study of Herring Gulls’ social behaviour. It sounds very interesting and we have got a second-hand copy on its way:

The influential Collins New Naturalist series of books is the longest running natural history series in the world with over a hundred volumes published over seventy years

Now that some of the meadows has had its annual cut, we are seeing much more Kestrel activity. A trail camera captured one flying with its distinctive long, thin wings:

I think that this bird is one of this year’s young:
And this is an adult male with his grey head:

There is a lot of variation within the population of Common Lizards that we have here. We saw this beautiful green one this week:

This is so very different to the one we had seen the week before, yet they are the same species:

We also saw a different species on the Isle of Wight last week, the Wall Lizard, although there is also a population of these non-native lizards near us at Folkestone:

Other photos from the meadows this week:

One of September’s jobs each year is to pull reeds from the wild pond. All this vegetation has grown this year and it would soon get out of control if neglected. But this task is much more pleasant since we bought some waders
You can just make out the rufous tail of this migrating Redstart
Luckily we hadn’t yet picked the dog up from kennels after our trip to the Isle of Wight when this Chinook military helicopter came so low over the meadows. The dog would have gone completely crazy at this violation of her territory
I haven’t seen this fox before. Blind in his left eye but otherwise looking healthy
Another Blackbird in moult
First time we have seen a Tawny in the meadows for months
The racing pigeon has now moved on and I wish it well for its onward journey home
The Woodpigeon breeding season doesn’t seem to be over yet
I like this action shot
Such a rich orange on this Comma butterfly
A rare daytime Badger shot
Before a bath….
… and afterwards

In the woodland, I did a double-take when I saw this photo of a fox who looked so much like the Old Gentleman, who has left a fox-shaped hole in my heart:

Owls and Buzzards have been using the wood baths in this long spell of dry weather that we have been having this September:

Long wings

I am pleased to have had a few recent sightings of Marsh Tit:

I like this photo of a mouse trying to reach the water. Surely it is close to its tipping point?

There have been lots of visits of both adults and two juvenile Bullfinch to this pond:

Finally, I often give Magpies a hard time in this blog but now they have found a way to give me their response:

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