Friday, 6 June 2014

Thursley Common NNR and The Blue Tit Babies Have Fledged

We had our final College Day Out yesterday before we all scattered to the Far Corners Of The Globe (slight exaggeration) and we went to Thursley Heath, the largest remaining area of natural heathland in Surrey.

Now, as those of you who've been reading for a while will know, I am at heart a Chalk Girl. Acid soils don't suit me and I'm not a big fan of heaths, however I do recognise their value and importance on an ecological scale, so off I went with the others in the minibus.

We were blessed with a beaut day weather-wise which meant all the Wild Things were out and about too and we saw lots...

Four-Spotted Chaser Dragonfly

A Buzzard with a Snake

 Latticed Heath.

Common Lizard. There were SOOOOO many of these little chaps about, sunning themselves on the board walks. You could get so close- the camera is very nearly touching his nose in this shot.

The Gang, eating lunch on a tree trunk

Female Redstart

Another Four-Spotted Chaser

Dead tree on the heath- important habitat for insects

Hobby, hunting

And again...

Male Redstart

Stonechat

Wetlands among the heath

Interesting wood

We popped in to Magdalen on the way home and caught up with Various Flutters....

Beech

Common Blue on Sanfoin

Grass Rivulet Moth

Large Skipper

Large Skipper again

Meadow flowers and grasses on the hill (which is why there are so many flutters)

Rock Rose, food plant for the Brown Argus, which we also saw

I got home after a long and enjoyable day and went out to check on the Blue Tits, only to be suddenly very certain that they wouldn't be there. And in fact they had fledged, all but one, who was sitting inside the box calling for his mum in an indignant way that reminded me forcibly of L when he's lying in bed in the morning demanding that I fetch his school uniform, as if he's somehow lost the use of his legs overnight....

We have a Regular Conversation at such moments which goes something like this..
Me: What's wrong with your legs?
L: I'm tired.
Me: But you're twenty eight years younger than me!
L: Exactly- my muscles haven't developed as much as yours have yet and it's important that I rest them or they'll grow up wrong.
Me (grumbling): What did your last slave die of?
L (grinning): Answering back

Mummy Blue Tit was sitting in the tree replying in a firm voice that it was time he got off the nest and learnt to do things for himself (so not a terribly dissimilar conversation to the one I have with L). When I went to bed later I could still hear him calling, although a little more plaintively (usually a sign in L of imminent capitulation) and by this morning sure enough the nest was silent.  As I type, there is a lot of shouting going on in the trees, not to mention Increased Activity around the feeders....


Apols for the blurriness, but I just loved the expression in this shot. I suspect somehow that this is the one who was last to leave the nest...

The nuthatches are still around, although No Sign of their children yet...

Some people are more interested in food than posing for the camera. We have four wood pigeon's nesting in the garden, two up on last year, so the Pigeon Watcher's Club is in full swing. Poppy and Dylan are the newest members...

And Mr GSW is around a lot too, looking extremely uncertain about having his photo taken. Presumably, he has heard from his wife all about her Terrible Rescue Experience a couple of days ago...

I'm off to look for flutters at college in the sunshine that's forecast for this afternoon. Wish me luck...

Have a lovely weekend all,

CT :-)

16 comments:

  1. Large Skipper already! Looks like a great place to visit with some interesting birds and butterflies. I'm still laughing about the bit where L who I assume is one of your offspring telling you his muscles haven't developed as much as yours yet.... lol!
    Baby blue tits fledged here recently and I just love watching them on the feeders, perfectly able to feed themselves until mum comes by then they go all helpless. :-)

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    1. Magdalen is a great spot, run by Butterfly Conservation. I do some voluntary work there for them so I have a vested interest making sure everything is hunky-dory :-)
      Yes, L is our youngest. He has me in stitches much of the time... And you are SO right about the baby bt's waiting to be fed, but only if parents are there :-)

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  2. Something about the common blue on the flower was quite striking ~
    actually so was the flying snake !

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    1. The buzzard with the snake was amazing to see, and I am a sucker for blue flutters- have seen so many this summer and I never tire of them :-)

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  3. HiYa Folks - I wanted to tell you that I save "Countryside Tales" for my last read of the day. The time when I get to sit down and relax in my favourite chair - the time when I finally get to relax from being busy all day. Some folks say "You save the best for last" - well, its true. I love the discovery I find in each and every one of your post. I know the time it takes to put it all together and the research, etc. I appreciate at the end of my long day to save my best read for this relaxing part of my day. Thank you and have a great day.

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    1. You are a dear, thank you very much indeed for such a lovely comment. I write about the things that interest me, and try to keep it light and humorous where possible, but you never know whether other people will also enjoy it, so it's really lovely to hear such nice words back. Have a lovely weekend SK. :-)

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  4. What a great day out :) - the photo of the buzzard with snake is amazing! Good to hear the Large Skippers are emerging. I'm glad to hear the blue tits have all fledged successfully (there always seems to be one that doesn't want to leave!!! ).

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    1. It was an interesting place to visit, with a different set of wildlife to what I'm used to- had never seen a Hobby hunting before and didn't know they hunt dragonflies, so a worthwhile trip.
      HUGE relief about the BT babies- I was worrying about them with all the predatory birds about, but their parents did a top job and all was well :-)

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  5. Lovely post and pictures, especially... well especially everything, really!
    I'm an Old Red Sandstone girl myself, but visit the chalk (and heathland) of my ancestors in Dorset when I can.
    Wish I saw more butterflies around these days...
    All the best :)

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    1. Dorset is a beautiful county and not far from us here. The Purbecks are a regular haunt for us. Flutters are doing well here this year so far- hope you get to see some more soon x

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  6. Oh how I love to read your countryside tales, there are always beautiful things to see and funny stories to hear, a great way to cheer yourself up for sure. You will be glad (I hope!) to hear that I have now started identifying moths on other peoples blogs now - but only a Cinnabar which is one of the four that I now know! xx

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    1. I'm very proud of you, Amy- that's great news that you are IDing moths for other people :-)

      The moth box is going out tonight, so hopefully tomorrow I will have some more new ones to show you, and you can extend your repertoire :-) xx

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  7. Wonderful wildlife images and had to smile at your comparison with the Mother of the blue tits! Sarah x

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  8. Good grief you must be quick on the draw with your camera. Any tips?
    Leanne xx

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    1. Superglue it to your neck and ignore your family when they tease you about taking endless photographs of bladed of grass... :-) x

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x