Badger Cubs On Wimple Estate May 2016

Two cub families at the Gloucesters Wood Sett, there’s probably more in other areas of the sett which will need cameras to be placed out again. Its nice to see the confidence of some of the cubs appearing in daylight

More video to follow I hope

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Moths and Moth Traps

Moths come in all sizes and types, micro moths, macro moths, day flying, night flying etc. I regularly see them on my walks and manage a few photos of them. However, bit difficult at night so I’ve bought my own moth trap, called a Woodland Heath Trap.

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The power for the light is a 12 volt battery which means its quite portable and can be  used around Wimpole Estate. With a bit of imagination and advice from someone like Maplins I’m sure I could convert it to operate from a mains supply in my garden mains.

On my first attempt at using the trap it was a chilly night and I caught 3. One escaped before identification, but the other two were an Ermine moth and a Hebrew Character moth.

Ermine Moth

Ermine Moth

Hebrew Character

Hebrew Character

 

 

 

 

 

The second outing I found four, again one escaped but here are the others

Common Swift Moth

Common Swift Moth

Lead coloured Drab?

Lead coloured Drab?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not Yet Identified

Not Yet Identified

Third night with the Trap — Bingo– a big one, the Poplar Hawk moth, check the size against Olga’s finger.

Poplar Hawk Moth

Poplar Hawk Moth

Poplar Hawk Moth

Poplar Hawk Moth

 

 

 

 

 

I also caught a Chocolate Tip Moth, both have similar larval food plants, Willows , Aspen etc, There are some of these trees in an  ‘across the road’ neighbours garden, so no surprise really.

Chocolate Tip Moth

Chocolate Tip Moth

There was also a Green Carpet Moth in the trap, the other ‘carpets ‘ below, I have photographed in  the daytime.

In the Park – The Lattice Heath moth is day flying and when disturbed has a flight very similar to a small butterfly along with the carpet moth

Silver Ground Carpet Moth

Silver Ground Carpet Moth

Latticed Heath

Latticed Heath

Silver Ground Carpet

Silver Ground Carpet

Apart from the ‘standard size ‘ moths we have micro moths, here’s a few I’ve found own the estate during the last few days Flying and creeping around the base of long grasses and rushes I saw this Silver Ground Carpet Moth (above )

Mint Micro Moth

Mint Micro Moth

Nettle Tap Micro Moth

Nettle Tap Micro Moth

Longhorn Moth Nematopogon sp

Longhorn Moth
Nematopogon sp

Grapholita Cosmolitella

Grapholita Cosmolitella

 

 

 

 

 

 

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All of these are body length of less than 1cm long.

Finally I have to add that all moths trapped are released alive near cover so that they are not easy pickings for the birds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Locum Shepherd

Tecla

Tecla

Eldest son Simon has gone away on an adventure trip in sailing boat called Tecla. The trip started in Ullapool and will eventually reach Iceland, calling in on lots of the Northern Isles on the way there.

Norfolk Horns

Norfolk Horns

As a result I have become a temporary shepherd looking after his small flock of Norfolk Horn Sheep. The sheep are currently conservation grazing on chalk grassland in a disused Clunch Pit.

Clunch is avery hard chalk stone which has been used in local buildings, churches, some local walls and the ‘Folly” in Wimple Park. This particular quarry area has been used as since the 13th Century

The Folly at Wimpole

The Folly at Wimpole

Clunch on St Andrews Church, Wimple

Clunch on St Andrews Church, Wimple

Clunch in church Wall

Clunch in church Wall

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clunch used on St Andres Church. Orwell Cambs

Clunch used on St Andres Church. Orwell Cambs

The Clunch Pit is a nature reserve and designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, it is home to many chalkland plants and  has a good colony of Chalk Hill Blue Butterflies among others

The Clunch Pit

The Clunch Pit

Flowers in the turf

Flowers in the turf

Hounds Tongue

Hounds Tongue

 

 

 

 

 

Close Up of Hounds Tongue

Close Up of Hounds Tongue

On the way up the ‘1000 steps’ to the Glebe Field next to the Clunch Pit, a newly emerged Holly Blue appeared, you can see that the wings have not yet fully inflated, anyway a ‘Blue’, hopefully a forerunner to the Chalk Hill Blues emerging

Holly Blue

Holly Blue

More on the Clunch Pit as the day s advance, especially butterflies

 

 

 

 

Insects, Spiders, Arable Plants and Birds

There’s been a wide variety of mating insects around and it makes photography easier as they have their minds on other things and not on escaping. It also fits in with easy food for the nesting birds !

Bee Flies

Bee Flies

 

Ladybirds

Ladybirds

Corizus Hyoscyami

Corizus Hyoscyami – Plant Bug

Large Red Damsel Fly

Large Red Damsel Fly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nursery Web Spider

Nursery Web Spider

Nursery Web Spiders

Nursery Web Spider

The male of the Nursery  Web Spiders presents the female with a ‘gift wrapped fly’ before mating, a distraction technique?

More flowers have appeared. I found, forget me nots, and field pansies in the arable fields and plenty more Red Campions

Forget me nots

Forget me nots

Field Pansy

Field Pansy

 

 

 

 

 

Red Campion

Red Campion

 

Salad Burnett

Salad Burnett

 

 

 

 

 

Insects generally are now appearing at a good rate, there’s always something new to see. One of the pleasures of walking as opposed to running, is having the time to stop, look around and note what you see.

Leucozona Lucorum

Leucozona Lucorum

Very Young Bush Cricket

Very Young Bush Cricket

Soldier Beetle

Soldier Beetle

Solitary Wasp at dinner

Solitary Wasp at dinner

 

 

 

 

 

Now there’s plenty insects to eat, 10 days ago or so the House Martins have arrived, although I like the swallows, I find theses birds very cheerful chaps.

House Martin

House Martin

House Martins

House Martins

 

 

 

 

 

Yellow Hammer

Yellow Hammer

Yellow hammers are around in good numbers and when out walking I see several every time

The Web, Salad and Spiders

 

Is this The Web ?

Is this The Web ?

Garlic Mustard is now out in full force and reading up some detail, it has medicinal uses and can be used in salads. However be careful, some grow along roadsides and footpaths, not recommended to pick from these areas, dogs and car exhausts !!!

I read some where that you could buy mustard garlic leaves for salads from a delicatessen in the London area, the price was exorbitant !

Garlic Mustard

Garlic Mustard

Garlic Mustard

Garlic Mustard

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wild Garlic - Ransoms

Wild Garlic – Ransoms

 

Wild Garlic or Ransoms can also be used in salads and for flavouring. It’s a plant of damp woodlands an can often be found where bluebells grow.

Agalanatea Redii

Agalanatea Redii

Agalenatea Redii

Agalenatea Redii

 

 

 

 

 

Xysticus .. Crab Spider

Xysticus .. Crab Spider

Plenty of spiders about with more to come. Trying to identify spiders is quite difficult, I have the only two realistically useful books, the Collins one and  a Country Life magazine produced book. However colour variations and very minor differences still make the job quite difficult – actually almost impossible for the amateur

When all else fails with id’s you can always post photo’s on a  Spider Group Face Book Page – A group of very helpful experts are there to help.

Pisaura Mirabillis

Pisaura Mirabillis

Pisaura Mirabills

Pisaura Mirabills

 

 

The two above are the same but with a colour variation, they are also known as Nursery Web Spiders

Pardosa Sp - Wolf Spider

Pardosa Sp – Wolf Spider

Tetragnatha Sp

Tetragnatha Sp

 

 

May is Here

A Sudden change in the weather, temperatures going up to the mid twenties, a rapid change from the frosts of last week.

The stars off this week are the badger cubs at both the Claypits and Gloucesters setts. The short video shows some cubs but not all in these areas. Badgers are lovely creatures made even nicer by Kenneth Grahams’ book ” Wind in the Willows” but we are getting a huge number on Wimple Estate, perhaps even heading to ‘over population’ but I’m not an expert in these matters.

I’ve often heard it said that the dead badgers you see on the roadsides are dumped there by people who carry out the cruel and appalling practice of Badger Baiting. However this is very doubtful as the offenders put themselves at risk of being caught.

The most likely explanation is that last years male cubs are being driven out of the their birth sett and are on the loose, most dead ones I see are small and therefore probably young ones. There must be an expert somewhere who can supply the answer.

Badgers need anything from 70 to 150 ha territory and normally roam up to 2000m from their setts which could also account for some road deaths.  Wimpole Estates badgers seem to be increasing in numbers- no main roads near most of the setts so not much danger

More flowers appearing following on from the bluebells and cowslips

Red Campion, Bugle, Wild Arum Wood Anemone.

Red Capion

Red Capion

Bugle - Ajuga

Bugle – Ajuga

Wild Arum

Wild Arum – Arum Italicum

Wood Anemone

Wood Anemone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At last there are showings of plenty of insects, good for the blossom and good food for the young birds. I read somewhere that it’s not a good idea to leave feeders out now as some large bits of nut fed to the young birds can choke them. Its also a waste of money when there’s plenty of natural food around and a bonus – the birds get rid of a lot of garden pests less pesticides needed.

The St Marks fly is the rather strange fly usually in flight at head height with trailing legs, they always remind me of a jet landing on an aircraft carrier with its arrester hook down’

 

St Marks Fly

St Marks Fly

Sehires Bicolor Pied Sheild Bug

Sehires Bicolor
Pied Sheild Bug

 

 

 

 

 

Sloe Shield Bug

Sloe Shield Bug

Butterfly this week a mating pair of Green Veined White

Green Veined White

Green Veined White

Last year I spent some time trying to get a decent photo of a Nomada bee and not many of them around – this year hundreds of them about

Nomads Bee SP.

Nomads Bee SP.

Adrian Scotica

Adrian Scotica

Mining Bee Andean Chrysosceles

Mining Bee Andean Chrysosceles

Plenty of hoverflies around and there should be a lot more to come

Epistrophe Elegans ( lighter form)

Epistrophe Elegans ( lighter form)

Epistrophe Elegans

Epistrophe Elegans

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eupeodes Luniger

Eupeodes Luniger

Syrphus Sp

Syrphus Sp

 

 

 

 

 

Whilst using the IR cameras, it seems the badgers invite others round for a meal or drink, here’s two of their chums, incidentally foxes often share a sett with badgers, usually in a sett hole thats not in current use

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This Years First Damsel Fly

In spite of the night time frosts some insects are prepared to give it ‘a go’
The frost had gone with and in the warming sun whist casting a fly for trout, I noticed an insect struggling past and lo and behold a freshly emerged Large Red damsel fly
Usually the thoracic stripes are red but there is a variety which has the yellow stripes as this one, the Large Red is the first damsel fly to be seen, appearing in latish April

Large Red Damsel Fly

Large Red Damsel Fly

There are a few hoverflies about but according to my records we have to wait for a mass appearance of other varieties along with more flowers

Platycheirus sp

Platycheirus sp

Epistrophe Elegans

Epistrophe Elegans

 

 

 

 

 

Other insects one in my garden and the other at Decoy Lake :-

Adrian Nitida Grey patched mining Bee

Adrian Nitida, Grey patched mining Bee

Gastrophysa Viridula

Gastrophysa Viridula

 

 

 

 

 

 

This mining bee is common in gardens and the small 5-6mm beetle tends to be found around ponds and wet areas.

More flowers about mostly smallish, one of the many Speedwells, this one I think is the Common Field Speedwell and the other a woodland favourite, Herb Robert

Common Field Speedwell

Common Field Speedwell

Herb Robert6

Herb Robert

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another Early butterfly has been about, the Orange Tip and its larval food plant, Ladies Smock

Male Orange Tip Butterfly

Male Orange Tip Butterfly

Ladies Smock

Ladies Smock

 

 

 

 

 

Finally we had a brief visitor to the garden pond !

Moorhen

Moorhen