|common carder bee|
|female orange tip|
|orange tip egg|
Had I not been interested in the minutiae of nature, I would not (for example) have found the orange tip egg hiding under the bracket of the ladies smock bloom in the photo above (it's the small orange torpedo sticking out at right angles from the stalk just under the flower). Despite watching the flowers like a hawk in recent days, I have failed utterly to see the female at all, and have only glimpsed the male in passing. Very Rapid passing, which is what male OTs are wont to do when newly emerged. The photo of the female OT came from a walk on Saturday through a nearby woodland.
I was also delighted this week to discover a resident Whitethroat or two in trees next to the house. I love 'em, they are right up there with owls and swallows for me. They are confident, friendly little birds with a forthright expression in that beady eye that's hard to resist, as if they enjoy everything there is in life and aren't afraid of saying so. It's an infectious attitude, cemented by the way they throw out their brisk song while perched at the top of a bush/ tree/ hedge with a confidence and aplomb you really can't help but admire.
The Whitethroats are summer migrants (another reason to admire them in my book- I am continuously amazed at this impressive feat of long-distance flying), as are Swifts who have also just returned (on May 5th). I watched two wheeling in the sky above Romsey while sitting in a traffic jam, their scimitar wings slicing the air, and then saw more at Kings Somborne the following day.
They heralded the return of summer weather- it has been proper hot here the past two days. Red Damsel flies are appearing and the honey bees have decided a hole in the bricks beside our bedroom window is the perfect place to set up home and have been buzzing excitedly about it all afternoon. I warned them not to go in through the window into the house while they were investigating, but of course they did and I spent some time ushering errant bees back outside.
Badger Cam has continued to provide pleasure and entertainment. I add below a selection of videos for your entertainment. I am puzzled by the furious/ indignant spitting in one of them. Not made by the badger in the image, I can only assume there is another one off-shot who is giving something (possibly the fox I recorded in a previous still being chased by a badge) a piece of his/ her mind. Badgers have a wide vocal range.
Foxes are turning up on the camera with increasing frequency. I was concerned that the fox in the daylight video had mange, but having read up on it I think it's more likely he/ she is is summer moult. They can start this from the back forward apparently.
The video with the rook rattling peanuts has a backing track provided by my resident cuckoo, who continues to take enormous delight in cuckooing just out of sight and then flying off whenever I get close.
There will undoubtedly be more of that this week, and hopefully the female will also make herself known by the bubbling call she makes after egg-laying. I haven't heard it yet, but there are certainly plenty of Dunnocks singing at present so hopefully it won't be long. We're also waiting the return of Nightjars on to the forest. Any day now....
And in addition I am about to lay some refugia on a nearby site to survey reptiles. I will let you know the outcome. Although I have never seen them there, I am reliably informed there are adders. I am hoping for slow worms because they don't appear in our garden and I am Very Fond Of Them.
The Moth Box is out tonight. A warm May evening, it should bring in some lovely things. Leanne, watch this space....
Wishing you all a pleasant evening,
PS- I'm very glad to be able to continue blogging on a more adhoc basis, but please forgive me not answering comments and also not always getting round to read all your blogs. Less time spent on the computer has helped my eyes no end and I'd rather do some blogging than none at all :o)