Swallows Arrive-Summer’s Here !

 

 

Swallow arrive

Swallow arrive

Spring flowers are emerging, insects are moving, birds are nesting, toads are ‘courting’ and some of our summer bird migrants are being to appear. Swallows were seen on 11th April and on the 14th, a female black redstart was photographed at Cobbs Woods Farm. Generally these birds like derelict buildings for nest sites – they’ve got it right at Cobbs Wood Farm !.  Black Redstarts have been seen for about two years in the buildings but so far no proof of nesting.

Black Redstart

Black Redstart

Black Redstart

Black Redstart

 

 

 

 

 

Along the newly laid hedgerow a wren was caught singing out against what I think was a blackcap in full voice

Singing Wren

Singing Wren

Blackcap Warbler ?

Blackcap Warbler ?

 

 

 

 

 

Cobbs wood seems to be the place to be, but take care crossing the road, these two toads were lucky as I spotted them in the middle of the farm road, heading I think for a small pond in the Wood Stackyard

Common Toad

Common Toad

Common Toad

Common Toad

Common Toad

Common Toad

 

 

 

 

 

Insects are beginning to show with plenty of Bee Flies around, this one settled on a leaf and allowed me within an inch using a Canon G16 camera slowed the speed down maximum but it doesn’t seem to make any difference

A couple of hoverflies more to come hopefully as we get warmer and more flowers

Eristalis Intricarius

Eristalis Intricarius

Eristalis Pertinax

Eristalis Pertinax

 

 

 

 

 

Spiders are creeping out slowly, on the 17th April a Walnut Orb and a Crab Orb web spider

Walnut Orb Web Spider

Walnut Orb Web Spider

Crab Orb Web Spider

Crab Orb Web Spider

 

 

 

 

 

Lastly adding to the Butterfly list, a Holly Blue flitted around the garden

Holly Blue

Holly Blue

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Marsh Harriers with Red Kite

On the dog walk today I saw a long and spectacular display from the Marsh Harriers, in fact I thought initially that there were two pairs – wrong- the second pair were Red Kites, there was a short rough and tumble to sort out who owned the reed bed area with the kites departing.
The pictures and 6 second video do not do the event real justice.
Shame I had the dogs !!

Marsh Harriers

Marsh Harriers

 

 

Marsh Harriers

Marsh Harriers

Marsh Harriers

Marsh Harriers

Marsh Harriers

Marsh Harriers

Marsh Harriers

Marsh Harriers

 

 

 

Marsh Harriers

Marsh Harriers

This last photo is particularly nice (in my opinion ) as it shows the female completely upside down during the courtship display.   The six second video below is of one of the Red Kites which were eventually driven off

Spring Days

Pair of courting Marsh Harriers

 

Pair of courting Marsh HarriersToday it was warm and Sunny, I went down to the Bason Reed bed to check up on the Marsh Harriers and they rewarded my efforts with a courtship display with the female dropping into the reeds, perhaps their nest site? The following day I went down to the ‘Bason’ reed bed again, this time much flying by no less than four birds, definately two female and one male, the other I couldn’t get a good look against the bright sky.

Red Kites have been around for four or five days and win one occasion there was a group of four at 6.30am !

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Red Kite

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Going back to Friday, there were plenty of butterflies out, Brimstones,

Tortoise Shells, Peacocks and Commas, Bumble Bees and a solitary Hoverfly

 

Tortoise Shell

Tortoise Shell

Comma

Comma

Peacock

Peacock

Brimstone

Brimston

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hares can be seen on a regular basis in the fields but not in the numbers that were around two years ago and more, in one very large field I gave up counting when I got to 40 of them. Some leverets have grown well but they do look a bit clumsey with their slim bodies, long back legs and big feet

 

Brown Hare Leveret

Brown Hare Leveret

Brown Hare Leveret

Brown Hare Leveret

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Violet

Silver Washed Fritillary

Silver Washed Fritillary

 

 

 

 

 

Whilst there have been a few violets out, they are now out in force, an important plant as they are the larval food plant of the Silver Washed Fritillary. Over the past couple of years the numbers of these wonderful butterflies  has has been on the increase at Wimpole.

Cowslips are showing in the warmer areas of the estate, this photo was taken on the beetler bank behind the Gloucesters Wood. I was hoping for pictures of the fritillaries in Victoria Drive but unfortunately they have been trodden on and effectively ruined for this year, perhaps temporary fencing of the track could be done for 2017

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Cowslip

Other wild flowers are present in the fallow fields, all of these early flowers are a vital source of nectar for insects flying on the warm sunny days. Ground Ivy much disliked by gardeners, looks good in the wild

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Red Dead Nettle

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Ground Ivy