Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Saturday 19th July
Sat outside an outlier sett this evening in the hope of discovering where the cubs are. Sadly, it was a cold, fruitless wait. In the night, however, I did hear a badger pass through the woodland near to my tent and the barn owl screeched.
Sunday 20th July
Set up to take photographs at the main sett but again by 21.30 there was no sign of a badger!!! However, tonight I slept, for the first time, on the badger platform. I tied a tarpaulin over the railings in case it rained and slept on the platform in a sleeping bag and under a duvet. It strangely felt less vulnerable being 3 metres up than being inside a tent unable to see anything. Throughout the night I was woken up twice by noisy badgers, one at 2am and the other sometime before. It was quite magical looking out at the woodland illuminated by the blue-white moonlight from an elevated position.
Monday 21st July

It seems that today there are more silver-washed fritillaries than I have seen in the wood before. I even saw 3 males on one sprig of bramble blossom. At one stage I witnessed a female on a bramble blossom being courted by a male who was quivering his wings slightly. After a couple of minutes she flew off slowly but was pursued by the male who made rapid and repeated vertical loops around her as she went up and down the ride. She was not trying to get away and it appeared to be some sort of dramatic courtship flight. After 5 minutes or so, with me actually running after them, they just split and went their separate ways! I was a little disappointed as I would have liked to have photographed the mating.
As the sun got lower there were purple hairstreaks in the tops of the oaks but no emperors; it may now be the end of their flight time sadly.

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