Wednesday, 15 June 2011

A swift demise

The Safari saw the Peregrine on the tower again last night – have we had a failed breeding attempt somewhere, would have thought that any young from this season would still be dependent on both parents bringing them food. Unless of course this one is catching locally and flying off to wherever, he’s long gone before we get to Patch 1 for our ‘early’ morning visit.
This morning was a warm muggy drizzly morning after yesterday’s beautiful sunshine which ended up being almost hot! Great Spotted Woodpecker – check; tail of Sparrowhawk – check; several broken-off branches and smashed saplings – check...all present and correct then after a warm evening of chavviness.
Also present were lots of uncounted juvenile Woodpigeons, they seem to have had a good year. And we saw four Swifts overhead briefly when the weather got a little wetter than drizzle. Don’t know about your outback but around Base Camp and Patch 1 they are in very short supply this year. Not been able to find any nests, barely even seen a bird – hardly had a single one around/over Base Camp yet and certainly not seen any anywhere near our lovely nest box! The brilliant sound of them screeching round the houses in the evenings hasn’t been heard at all, in fact can’t recall having heard it anywhere this year! It’s all a bit worrying – please tell us they are doing OK in your outback.
Patch 2 wasn’t brilliant, drizzly dull would be a better description and the only sighting of any note was a single Common Tern.
A school group came down to learn about habitats and do a bit of pond dipping which they engaged in with plenty of gusto! One of the classes managed to pull two Water Mites, of perhaps two different species; a red one and a black/dark at least, one out of the pond which were a good find as we’ve not seen them in there before. Our pond is isolated from other fresh water by some considerable distance so how did they find it? It’s a long time since we seeded it with mud from other ponds and there are a lot of 3-spined Sticklebacks; too many probably as they do tend to eat anything smaller than themselves.
After the group had gone back to school and we had put the kit away we took a few pics of the flowers they’d been bashing about in searching for mini-beasts – just to let our ears settle down to normal noise levels!

Viper's Bugloss - great name for a good bee attracting plant.

If the Gorse hedge hadn't have been so severely hacked by the window cleaners we'd probably have a family of Linnets who would enjoy ripping the seeds off this Prickly Sow Thistle.

This year we have had nobody to attend to our veggie plot and the soil hasn't been dug at all but against all the rules of cornfield annuals this Field Poppy has appeared from ??? and no we haven't sown any seed. It was in full flower at lunchtime when we first noticed it and thought of getting a pic but by the time the group had gone and we'd tidied up all the petals had fallen off.

Meadow Cranesbill - we had loads of this super bumble-bee attractor until the grounds maintenance gang came and sprayed it with weedkiller - numpties! Now we'll have to wait until the end of the season and find some able-bodied volunteers to split the small remaining clumps for replanting

Lesser Trefoil or Black Medick? The tiny spike at the end of the leaf means it is Lesser Trefoil.

Where to next? More patchy news and yet more pond life, with maybe a pic or two, tomorrow.
In the meantime let us know how many decibels were heard in your outback today.


Warren Baker said...

Plenty of Swifts here, but no nests sites! Not that I can find anyway.

LaurenceB said...

Swifts seem to be doing very nicely here too!