A Mixture

Sunday, July 27th 2014

Looking through photographs from previous years, highlights our changeable seasons.  There is little we can do about our weather, but we can enjoy the spectacle of summer, be it early, late, warm, hot, cold and or wet! 

Purple Loosestrife is in full flower in the Scrapes, providing food for bees.

Purple Loosestrife

Another flower found in the Scrapes is Fleabane and it too is just coming into bloom.  Many butterflies, bees and hoverflies enjoy the food it provides.

Fleabane

Angelica is an ideal site for Soldier Beetles to sit and await prey.

Angelica with Soldier Beetle

Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies hibernate over winter.  Warm sunny days in spring wake them and they feed on spring flowers.  Many of them look very battered after several months hiding away.  They lay their eggs and their life cycle is complete.  We have watched the caterpillars of Peacock Butterflies eat their way through Nettle leaves, shed their skins and disappear!  They have pupated.  We are now seeing these pupa releasing beautiful adults.  Many can be seen on the newly opened Hemp Agrimony.

The large eyes on this Peacock act as a warning to predators, even more impressive when the wings are opened and closed quickly.

Peacock Butterfly

This brightly coloured Small Tortoiseshell stands out with the blue marks along the edge of its wings.

Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly

Not as beautiful but just as amazing are the water boatmen that frequent the ponds.  This one actually cleaned its back legs before being phtographed!

Water Boatman

While some flowers are just opening their buds, some seeds and fruits are ripening.  The first Hazel Nuts have been found by the squirrels.  Raspberries are just waiting to be eaten - by animals of course!

Raspberries

Each season can be seen in the ringing room.  Earlier in the year the winter migrants disappear and their place is soon taken by the summer birds returning from the south.  In late spring/early summer it is mainly male birds passing through the ringing room as the females are sitting on eggs.  Mid summer sees the juveniles appear.  Few adults are caught as they are keeping a very low profile while they moult.  Any adults that are processed are usually in less than pristine condition!

Rarely seen but often heard, the Sedge Warblers let us know that we are in their territory as we pond dip in the Scrapes.   These birds have bred in the area and some of the juveniles have now been ringed.  It will be interesting to catch some of these youngsters next year, or for someone else to do so if they choose another site.

Several people had reported hearing Reed Warblers calling during the last few weeks.  No one had seen one.  That was all to change during CES 9 today.  A call on the radio said there was a surprise arriving!  A juvenile Reed Warbler just out of the nest was brought to the ringing room.  This is the first breeding record for Foxglove.  Absolutely brilliant - and it was soon followed by two more!!

Another juvenile that made its appearance was a Redstart.  Juvenile Coal Tits are beginning to return to the reserve after fledging in the surrounding conifer plantations. 

The warm sunny weather looks set to continue for at least a few more days so flowers and insects will continue to brighten our ambles around Foxglove.


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