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Author Topic: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald  (Read 46739 times)

ian mcdonald

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Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
« Reply #585 on: May 17, 2019, 04:12:14 PM »
The last few days have been sunny and hot. This has caused an emergence of four spot chasers and green tiger beetles. The extra activity of the dragonflies have given the Hobbys a feeding boost, with acrobatic displays to catch the insects on the wing. A Mediterranean gull was reported to be on site yesterday but I did not see it. The warblers are singing in many parts of the site, often heard rather than seen. I saw my first Red Admiral of the season on Wednesday but failed to get a photo. A hare was feeding at the edge of a field, a rare sight these days. When it cooled down yesterday afternoon the Hobbys dispersed and their place was taken by a large number of Swifts. Five roe deer and five red deer were seen in different areas. I counted 104 Grey Lag Geese on one of the pools. Now that the warmer weather is here there are more butterflies on the wing, those seen were, Brimstone, Peacock, Orange Tip, Speckled Wood and Small Copper. In the next few weeks we expect to be recording Large Heath butterflies. Herons have been putting in an appearance on the site in the last couple of weeks, not a common bird at the site. A Yellowhammer was heard singing from a bush, again this is a decreasing species and not recorded often enough these days, due to habitat loss, i.e. lack of hedgerows and no fields left un-cultivated during winter.   Another bird hardly ever recorded in the area now is Corn Bunting. Again, this is due to habitat loss. Management work on the site is lacking due, I have been told, to DEFRA concentrating on tourism instead of conservation. It seems that a budget of over 2 million is being spent at two local sites in order to involve the public in projects that do nothing for wildlife. Maybe Natural England are no longer giving value for public money and have given up their role as Government advisor for the Environment? Most Science based recording is being carried out by the public. It is a good thing that the public care about wildlife, even if the public organisations do not any more. It is a pity but not unexpected that big business make government policy in most or all countries. When governments are presented with statistics from the Scientific community regarding declining wildlife and destruction of habitats there is much wailing among the politicians but no action. In the meantime, all we can do is record the declining numbers of species. This is happening because hardly anyone can be bothered to comment to decision makers. If they do they are called names, such as "greens" as if they are a different race of people. The losers are the ones who do nothing to protect our wildlife. Having said that, the people who take the time to go out and look at our wildlife and enjoy seeing it, are the winners.

Birds-eye speedwell, Veronica chamaedrys.



Hawthorn, the scent of the flowers is said to be an aphrodisiac.



Crane.

645148-2

Silverweed, Potentilla anserina.



Dandelion clocks.







« Last Edit: May 17, 2019, 04:19:02 PM by ian mcdonald »

ian mcdonald

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Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
« Reply #586 on: May 17, 2019, 04:26:38 PM »


Red deer.



Small Copper.





Field forget-me-not, Myosotis arvensis.



Tormentil, Potentilla erecta.

ian mcdonald

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Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
« Reply #587 on: May 17, 2019, 04:34:49 PM »




Creeping cinquefoil, Potentilla reptans.



Orange tip.



Common yellow sedge, Carex demissa.


ian mcdonald

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Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
« Reply #588 on: May 17, 2019, 04:47:06 PM »


Birds foot Trefoil, Lotus corniculatus.



Finally, not a common plant on the site, Daisy, Bellis perennis.

Birds seen or heard were, black headed gull, gadwall, coot, mallard, teal, black necked grebe, shoveler, shelduck, garden warbler, whitethroat, blackcap, chiff chaff, crane, willow warbler, sedge warbler, magpie, wood pigeon, grey lag geese, reed bunting, cuckoo, lapwing, crow, robin, wren, marsh harrier, sparrow hawk, hobby, buzzard, tufted duck, little grebe, swallow, swift, meadow pipit, stonechat, heron, redshank, yellowhammer, kestrel, chaffinch blackbird and moorhen. Also seen were, small copper, red admiral, brimstone, peacock, speckled wood and orange tip. Red deer and roe deer.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2019, 04:50:42 PM by ian mcdonald »

Maggi Young

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Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
« Reply #589 on: May 17, 2019, 09:06:04 PM »
 Lotus corniculatus is  one  of  my  favourite  wildflowers. I think most  folk overlook it.
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!


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ian mcdonald

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Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
« Reply #590 on: May 17, 2019, 10:13:45 PM »
You are right, Maggi. Many people, myself included, tend to see "ordinary" flowers and don,t give them a second look. This is why I,m starting to include the more common ones in the article. I suppose this might bore the more dedicated botanists but it may also encourage everyone to look again at our native plants?

Maggi Young

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Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
« Reply #591 on: May 18, 2019, 11:05:08 AM »
I think your  whole  diary  is encouraging folk to  get  out and  pay  more attention, Ian!
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!


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Robert

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Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
« Reply #592 on: May 18, 2019, 09:48:37 PM »
Hi Ian,

I agree with Maggi.

You are accomplishing a great deal and certainly must encourage and inspire others with your diary.

We have no control over what others do, so making a positive impact, as you do, is the best anyone can do.  :)
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos Robert Barnard

Maggi Young

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Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
« Reply #593 on: May 18, 2019, 10:23:24 PM »
Well said, Robert - and the  same  can be  said  of you  and your  diary reports.
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!


"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye."

ian mcdonald

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Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
« Reply #594 on: May 23, 2019, 05:08:47 PM »
The last few days have been sunny and warm. This has encouraged the flowers and insects to appear. This in turn has meant dining opportunities for predators, such as Hobby. The going has been very slow in order to notice the increase in wildlife activity. Bushes have been searched for the various species of caterpiller feeding on the leaves, such as woolly bear (garden tiger) and scarce vapourer. Also seen were yellow tail and lackey. I found an additional colony of Adders Tongue Fern, about sixty plants. The black headed gulls are sitting tight on their nests and hatching must be close. They will have to keep a sharp watch on their chicks or they will be taken by marsh harriers which will also want to feed their young. Shelduck are still on site and maybe nesting here. Also Redshank. There are fairly large numbers of Grey Lag Geese in flocks and these are perhaps non-breeding birds. Sedge Warblers are commonly heard singing in reed beds but are a secretive species and seem to stay low down most of the time. The flowering plants are now growing fast, after the cold start to the season. Common Twayblade, Listera ovata, are showing along one of the paths but are still in bud. More sedges are beginning to flower on tracks. Sedges are a group of plants easily overlooked and thought of as grasses.  As a rule, sedges usually have a triangular flowering stem. Sedges can be difficult to identify, sometimes minute details need to be observed, such as the shape of the fruit. One orchid was seen in flower, a common spotted, D. fuchsii. A water scorpion was seen on the track.



A woolly bear.



A heath moth.





Marsh arrowgrass.



Male catkins of Bog Myrtle.

ian mcdonald

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Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
« Reply #595 on: May 23, 2019, 08:13:09 PM »
Hawthorn has a range of colours between white and red. The scent of the flowers is very strong.



Hawthorn.



Two Green Shield Bugs.



Soldier beetle, Cantharis livida?



Mouse-ear Hawkweed.



Common Twayblade, Listera ovata, in bud.

ian mcdonald

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Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
« Reply #596 on: May 23, 2019, 08:25:25 PM »
Carex sylvatica on a path.





Adders tongue.



White sedge, Carex curta.



Long horn beetle, Rhagium bifasciatum.



Cranberry.

ian mcdonald

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Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
« Reply #597 on: May 23, 2019, 08:30:40 PM »
Young fronds of Royal Fern.





Water scorpion.



Hobby hunting dragonflies.



Scarce vapourer.



A carpet moth on daisy, Bellis perennis.

ian mcdonald

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Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
« Reply #598 on: May 23, 2019, 08:38:39 PM »
A male Marsh Harrier taking a rest.



Birds noted were, black headed gull, coot, mallard, marsh harrier, buzzard, whitethroat, meadow pipit, hobby, linnet, stonechat, cuckoo, shoveler, willow warbler, water rail, shelduck, lapwing, blackcap, robin, tufted duck, sedge warbler, teal, swift, crow, redshank, grey lag geese, wood pigeon and black necked grebe. Many 4-spot chasers and green tigers were about as well as several small coppers.

ian mcdonald

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Re: my local patch and wildlife - Ian McDonald
« Reply #599 on: May 31, 2019, 04:12:14 PM »
The weather has been mixed this week. It started off sunny and warm until Wednesday afternoon, when it clouded over with a cold wind. We checked a site, a grass field, where we found a colony of Northern Marsh Orchids in 2011. There were 89 flowering spikes at that time. As far as I know this was the only existing colony in the district. By 2016 the colony had increased to around 1300 flowering plants. The field has been mowed in past years but not for a couple of years, by Natural England. The field is being taken over by more aggressive species of grass due to the lack of management. We struggled to find 12 flowering spikes of the orchid, with several non-flowering rosettes. On a better note, I mentioned scrub clearance work over several days during the last winter. This work was carried out on private land adjacent to the main site. The clearance was to encourage a rare plant to spread its range. The species was found there in the past by a local Naturalist. A visit to record the plants in the 1980,s found about 120 plants.When we re-found the species in 2012, there were about 25 plants. The site was overgrown and it was difficult to record the area. In 2016 I visited the site and could only find 16 plants. Likewise a visit in 2017 only turned up 11 plants. It seemed that a last ditch effort was needed to improve the chances of the plants survival. We visited the site on Wednesday and at first there seemed to be little difference in the overall state of the habitat, ( apart from the lack of dense vegetation). However, on careful inspection, we started to find small plants. We started a count and were surprised at the number of plants we were finding. The overall count stood at 147. In the past we may have missed some plants due to the "jungle" but I don,t think we missed such a large number. It shows that with such a little effort a great deal can be achieved. I wonder why NE are not carrying out Conservation management and are concentrating on visitor numbers? I have asked several times for the grass field, with the Orchids, to be mown to no effect. There are three colonies of sedge on the main site, which have been recorded as Carex riparia, greater pond sedge. Each colony has different characteristics. I have noted each detail in the plants and apart from the difference in habitats cannot be certain that they are the same. So far, the conclusion I have come to is that Carex riparia is variable. The cold wind on Wednesday meant that many of the insects were sheltering in bushes away from the wind. This made photographing the invertebrates slightly easier.  Not being an Entomologist I relied on my companion to provide names. The Scarce Vapourer caterpillars were very colourful, some variation in their patterns were seen.



An old willow which had fallen over and sprouted new stems.



Celery leaved buttercup, Ranunculus sceleratus.



A ditch through one of the woods.



The opposite view.



A looper caterpillar.

 

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