Saturday, May 17, 2008

There has been a definite change to the woodland this week. The bluebell's once green photosynthesising leaves are now yellow and sad looking. But, other flowers are at their peak especially bugle, yellow archangel and garlic mustard on which I found several orange tip butterfly eggs which are conveniently orange and easy to find once you know where to look.
While bashing the evil spawn of bracken sprouting up I very nearly accidentally walloped a mistle thrush fledgling sitting tight on the ground. I grabbed the camera and lay down next to him and grabbed a few shots while the adults called angrily from the trees.
I've observed adult mistle thrushes respond to the alarm calls of the other birds when a raptor such as a sparrowhawk streaks through the wood, it would appear long before the thrushes could possibly see the hawk themselves. They loudly scramble like spitfires and chase off the intruder who could easily pick off their helpless fledglings. I know I've mentioned this before but just investigating the alarm calls of woodland birds can alert you to many events going on such as the presence of tawny owls or sparrowhawks and is always worth using this early warning system to look out for somewhat elusive predators or witness some interesting behaviour.
I did two badger watches this week for Sussex Wildlife Trust each with 6 people. The first night had a lovely cub coming right up to us and snuffling around just 1m away from the feet of the viewers before he got a view of some loud trainers and bristled up and ran back to the sett. On the second night we had all 4 cubs and the dominant sow on full show for a whole hour!
Although the weather this past week has been fantastic I am glad that we've had a drop of rain over the past 2 or 3 days, I could really do with a strong downpour just to fill the ponds and streams up. Oh well, the things you wish for when you have a woodland to care for!

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