Wet Wet Wet

The air and the long grass were wet, the dogs were wet, my trousers from halfway up my thigh were wet, the water ran down my trousers into my wellies and my feet got wet, the camera got wet. Should have gone swimming instead of walking and got wet properly.

Odd I didn’t see anyone else out walking !

Here’s today items of interest, mid April I took some photos of a mass of Cowslips at the Folly, yellow colour for a large area.

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Today, six weeks later, I took another photograph from a similar position only this time it was a mass of Yellow Rattle.

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Hopefully this growth will be good for other wild flowers as Yellow Rattle is semi parasitic and will depress grass roots, this in turn allows other flowers to flourish.

Just alongside this area is a sparsely vegetated place against the Folly Copse where you can find, Common Spotted, Pyramidial and Bee Orchids, today there were some of the Common Spotted already starting to come into flower. More on these as and when the others appear

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Later in the day I went into Victoria Drive and the grassland was covered in flowers, apart from the flowers in the general shot there were plenty of  Common Spotted Orchid

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No blog is complete without something other than flowers and here’s todays candidate . A fairly common moth but quite striking in appearance – The Silver Ground Carpet Moth found in the Fell Ponies paddock

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Whitsuntide Bank Holiday

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe name Whitsunday ( Whitsun ) seems to have been dropped by a lot of people and its now called …. just ‘Spring Bank Holiday Monday’. This thought prompted me to look up what Whitsun was all about and why is it a holiday.

To start with its the name Whitsun, for the Sunday prior to the BH monday in the UK,  is used for the Christian Festival of Of Pentecost, the 7th Sunday after Easter when the Holy Spirit descended onto the disciples.

It was also co-incided at a time when there was a pause in the  medieval agricultural year when the villeins were free from service to have a break from work.

As Whitsunday – like Easter is a changeable date in the Christian Calendar, the government decided in 1971 to take away traditions in the Church and farming and fix the date to the last monday in May and to give it a new and exciting name…… Spring Bank Holiday.

After those deliberations its time to get on with the ‘Spring Bank Holiday Walk’.

Today I saw my first ever Small Copper Butterfly, they have been around in Wimpole Park but its just that I’ve never seen one here, even better, I saw several which is another very encouraging sign for butterflies in general.

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There’s been a  pair of Little Owls in the Woodyard Area for some years but I’ve never located their nesting tree nor been able to get a photo as they are usually only around at dusk, but this morning at around 1100hrs here one is sitting on a post in the Community Allotment, I await the arrival of their young.

The House Martins are still collecting their mud so I took the opportunity to use the ‘sport’ setting on my camera to get a few in flight shotsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

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Up in the woodland belts one of Wimpoles’ Orchids is showing itself, a Helleborine, positive ID to follow when its fully develop

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My first Common Blue for 2014

In this period of changeable weather it was nice to have a good dry walk and it was encouraging to see several Common Blue Butterflies, my first sighting of them this year. So far generally it seems to have been avery good start all round for the ‘Butterfly Year’.

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I also saw some damsel flies, it’s quite difficult without catching them, for me to tell the difference between the Azure and Common Blue damsel fly. So I’ve relied for my identification on their usual habitat – the common Blue prefers larger expanses of open water whilst the Azure is happy in small ponds or wet ditches ——  so I concluded these were Azure ones as they were far away from any large expanse of water.

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Never a day passes when I don’t get a surprise of some sort. The photos below are of seed on a maple ? tree, the bright red in the sunshine was absolutely stunning

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In among the grass there are lots of small flowers, see previous blogs, adding to them is this quite common flower in fields and on the field margins – The Cut Leafed Cranesbill

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After a Nights Rain

I’ve always looked at wild poppies – and assumed that is simply what they are, however today I discovered there are four types of wild red poppy. The Rough Poppy, The Common, The Prickly and the Long Headed Poppy . Here are photos of the Common and the Rough.

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In the track sides in the long grass and general growth, Bryony flowers are appearing to later produce their bright red berries.

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I put in a photo the other day of a Goats Beard Flower and mentioned its seed head- well here you are, a more geodesic appearance than that of the Dandelion ‘clock’

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Not a lot of insect movement about due to the wind and last nights rain, but the were a few, an early Small Heath butterfly in the long grass.

 

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On 21st May in the bright sunshine I found two interesting insects, a soldier beetle and a wasp beetle.

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There were a good few different worker Bumble Bees feeding on Chive flowers

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A Very Early Morning Walk

We , me and the dogs, set off at 5.30 am for the daily walk. Apart from crows and wood pigeons there wasn’t much moving so I concentrated on the ground for flowers and insects, not a lot new here either, some Sainfoin added itself to the flower list and I found a spider ( not yet identified – help ) just waking up in the early morning sun. (Added on 22nd) I found a very useful site on face book and a participant produced the name “Agalenatea redii” for the spider. I ran this name up on google photos and I’m sure thats what it is

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There were some other insects but before I could take a photo, they released their grip and dropped into the general vegetable mat on the ground where they couldn’t be seen. I presume this is an escape from predator mechanism, I have the same problem with lily beetles in the garden when I’m trying to kill them off.

The hedgerows are in full leaf with the dog rose and Viburnum Opulus ( Geulder Rose ) blossoms replacing the blackthorn and hawthorn. Already many of the plants are producing their fruits, plenty of sloes developing for the sloe gin makers

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Tree Bumble Bees

There’s a small area of rough damp mall area of rough damp ground where some old farm machinery has been left. Simon was clearing the area and discovered the nest. This piece of equipment is now left undisturbed for the benefit of the bees. You can get very close to Bumble bee nests, they don’t seem to be as aggressive as the normal honey bee.

 

 

Two weeks worth of rambles around Wimpole 19th May 2014

More flowers have begun to appear as summer develops, some not really where they should be and some quite early.

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Several Ragged Robin flowers have appeared on top of a hill on very dry chalk, normally these plants are found in damp meadows. Alongside the Ragged Robin were Salad Burnet and Wild Mignonette, you would expect to see these where they were.

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Goats Beard Flower are now showing, once they have started to seed they produce a ‘Dandelion Clock’ type of seed head only a lot bigger and better.

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The House Martins have just stated arriving and nest building- a very cheerful and happy looking bird.

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In my Fell ponies stable there are several nesting birds, swallows, house sparrows, wood pigeon and pied wagtails. The wagtails have now fledged and left the nest

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Down on the River Rhee its been a busy time, several broods of Mallard Duck,The swans have produced six cygnets.

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At night I got some film at the same area of a heron fishing, but perhaps most dramatic are the presence of otters. The film and photos are not the best but you can see that they are otters. More to follow when I get some better shots.

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On the Fox front the litter of five are doing very well and growing fast, I did put out a ‘road kill’ pheasant for them but they refused to touch it !!!

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