No pictures but I need to write this down somewhere before the memory fades…
On September 25th, I went up to top up the bird food trays for the smaller mammals that live around my garden. Wearing a red head torch, I often stay to watch. First in were two adult wood mice then two small juveniles appeared, scurrying around and exploring rather than feeding. The first dormouse appeared, lunging at the wood mice until only one was left. They kept to opposite sides of the tray. I then realised that a second, smaller dormouse had appeared; the wood mouse ran off as a third juvenile dormouse jumped onto the tray.
I had been aware of a large moth fluttering about my head, attracted by the light which the mice had ignored. Something large shot past my ear… it was a bat that proceeded to chase the moth around my head, several times before following the moth through the branches. It returned but too quickly for me to see if the moth had been caught. I wonder if this was a Brown Long-eared bat because it was flying through some pretty narrow spaces between the branches.
Throughout all of this, the dormouse remained on the side of the tray, eating sunflower seed kernels and taking no notice of the action!
The People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) have announced a new hedgerow survey underlining their importance for wildlife and connectivity through the landscape and their benefits to farming. Good hedgerows must be managed; some have been with us for a thousand years or more!
And of course, Mary has reminded me (thank you) that moth scales show refracted colour from their surface structure, not pigment as such. Which is why old and damaged scales which collect in moth traps, look greyish brown…
From Alison: ” Last night Eric & I saw a recently fledged (presumably) Barn Owl in the village. It had been born in an owl box put up by a neighbour right in the village itself, with the box sited on a large tree bordering one of the roads. It had already been found in the road a week or so ago and rescued. Eric & I saw it sitting on top of its box making the eerie noise a barn owl makes. It watched us looking at it before flying off down to the road surface a few metres in front of us. It took off again and flew around a corner before, presumably, returning to its box. What a treat, not only to know that we have a Barn Owl living so close to us, but also to see its young and have such a close encounter. I will notify the Barn Owl Trust.”
Thanks Alison for sharing that and what I find so interesting is that the box has been used in that kind of location. I’m hoping to put one up near the top of Stara Woods where it is more open.
One of the most successful ‘citizen science’ surveys, the count actually started on the 19th July but carries on until August 11th so there’s plenty of time to take 15 minutes off and settle down somewhere nice to count the butterflies. I’ve seen the first of the late summer Holly Blues this morning. Always worth repeating counts at previous locations to compare from year to year but so much depends on the weather. But we need to get our area included!