Friday, 30 May 2014

Bees n stuff

The Safari was a bit disappointed to see fewer Gannets doing less on Patch 2 this morning. Little else about and no sign of the dodgy gull.
By lunchtime the tide was in and we were out again on the wall to see three widely dispersed Grey Seals. The same Gannets were still about and doing even less.
A walk down the corridor had us spot a cold bumble bee lurking close to the windows in the Gorse bushes.
Another sighting along the corridor was made by a colleague who pointed us in the direction of our first Cinnabar moth of the year which was sitting on the inside of the window frame.
Back at Base Camp the bee theme continued when we saw another Tree Bee drinking honey, which we've learned we should have been giving them golden syrup or sugar water is better although  it's not strictly for the bees exclusive use.
Minutes later another bee of an unknown species was on the sugar water soaked sponge lapping up the calories. Can anyone tell us what it is from its face?
It was only little so possibly Bombus pratorum???
Where to next? The garden bioblitz starts tomorrow so the mothy is out.
In the meantime let us know who's on the sweet stuff in your outback

Thursday, 29 May 2014

More from Patch 1

The Safari had a great morning on Patch 2 watching about 30 or so Gannets diving for fish. Not much with them, where are the terns? Close in, only a couple of hundred yards behinds the very gentle surf they were diving very shallowly but further out they were plunge diving from way high.
Eight Shelducks went past but little else was happening.
At lunch time most of them had dispersed leaving three Grey Seals in their wake - nice but not cetaceans.
A fascinating Herring Gull was milling around with the other gulls. In all respects it was normal apart from the primaries on its left wing...they were Glaucous or Iceland Gull-like pure white giving it a weird asymmetry. In flight coming directly towards us it look strangely lob-sided. Sadly it was far too far off for a photo but we'll be keeping an eye out for it tomorrow.
While were waiting for for a crack at that gull here's some more pics from Patch 1 the other day
Bird's Foot Trefoil

Common Blue butterfly
Same one
Common Vetch
Perforated Elm leaf
Another one
Mating Water Measurers in the pond
More of the little so n sos
Mouse Eared Hawkweed - not seen this species here before
Parasitised Yellow Dung Fly

Frog in pond at Base Camp
Back to the Common Blue butterfly
Tenthredo sp
Same one
Wolf Spider with egg sac
Where to next? Think we'll be looking for a certain wonky gull and we've got another visit to the 'snake-pit' on the way back to Base Camp after work.
In the meantime let us know who's got the wonky colouration in your outback.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Back in the saddle

The Safari has been busy getting back to work but seeing very little on Patch 2.
A quick whizz round the almost forgotten Patch 1 after family duties the other day gave us our first local damselflies of the year.

Male Azure Damselfly

Female Azure Damselfly

Lots of other stuff too which has been photographed but not yet processed apart from this fuzzy Parasitic Wasp of Lordy only knows what species.
Should have the rest of them ready for your delectation later in the week.
Another brief sortie down the motorway to what is becoming one of our fave reserves gave us the following.
Bee mimicing hoverfly Leucozoma lucorum
Male Common Blue Damselfly
Early Purlpe Orchid

Giant Horsetail
Interlocking Beech and Oak trees
Large Red Damselfly
Redshank again
Ringed Plover
Snipe Fly
Swifts in the rain
 Where to next? Gotta be something on Patch 2 sooner rather than later.
|In the meantime let us know what weird and wonderful wildlife has been furtively lurking in your outback.

Don't forget to have a go at the Garden Bioblitz 2014 this weekend - we certainly are.

Friday, 23 May 2014

A bit of international recognition

The Safari got a Tweet this morning from Arch year-listing rival Monika to let us know we'd been mentioned in a podcast she'd been invited to join about her recent analysis of the apparent recent decline in the number of Orcas visiting her part of the world in spring and summer. 
Read her post here and listen to her interpretation of how she came up with the data and what it might mean here. There are certainly some serious problems for the Southern Resident Orcas, a combination of sucker punches perhaps starting with the capture of many of their number for 'Seaworld' type circuses which has reduced their gene-pool, combine that with over-fishing of the salmon they need, habitat damage and physical injury/death from military sonar and other activities, habitat changes in the river catchment and the flow obstructions in the salmon rivers themselves along with toxic pollutants, perhaps even climate change is shifting the populations of salmon as is happening with other fish species around the world, this unique sub-species (perhaps even a full species Can you enlighten us on the current genetics Monika?) these magnificent animals are suffering at our hands and only time and further research with tease out the most important of those problems - lets hope the animals have that time and they do not become functionally extinct before mitigation and recovery measures can be put in to place and become effective. We say functionally extinct because Orcas in the wild can live over 100 years (unlike Seaworld where about 15 years is all they can expect - please please please never ever go to a 'dolphin' show you are helping promote the capture of wild dolphins) but of course they have to produce viable young which reach maturity, if memory serves from Monika's blog recent seasons haven't seen too many calves born and as with any young animals not all births can be expected to survive until the infant becomes a mature breeding adult.
If you think a small population of Orcas on another continent or the other side of the same continent doesn't matter to you it should as it is a small snap-shot, a microcosm, of what is happening in the seas all around the world and we all, every single one of the 7 billion of us, depend on what happens in the world's oceans. So if you can make a difference please do make a comment on the NOAA consultation.
Anyway her mentioned us was noting to do with Orcas but about our annual bird year-list challenge. Hopefully between us we will encourage some of you other bloggers on different continents to do something similar, have a bit of fun, explore your local area and share your results with each other...and the rest of us too. Check out her Rufous Hummingbird pics at her feeder - brilliant, wish we had something similar here!
Now for some holiday snaps
Temporary Base Camp, complete with chickens
Having a sunbathe and dust bath

Frank wasn't too bothered by them

East Onny river flowing through the grounds

Looking downstream
We broke the moth trap, or at least the bulb holder fell off and we didn't have a suitable screw-driver to repair it so mothing was curtailed, these are all we found.
White Ermine
Just a dark Common Marbled Carpet, or something else?
Common Heath
Peppered Moth
There were some good wildflowers about but there was a noticeable lack of bumble bees. The wall of the cottage was patrolled by an unknown species of mining bee looking for suitable holes of which there weren't any.
Yellow Archangel
Field of Bugle
Badger diggings near the Bugle that led us to placing the stealth-cam in this area
Red Admiral at distance in harsh light
Small Copper - as above
Speckled Wood
Speckled Wood
Tree Bees - what are they doing, excavating a cavity or has a Great Spotted Woodpecker broken in?
Cockchafer - came to the moth light
We'll do views n birdy stuff later saving it in case there there's nowt to report on today due to the miserable weather.
Where to next? got a bit of a safari planned for tomorrow, weather permitting.
In the meantime let us know who's babbling in the brook in your outback.