Friday, July 11, 2008

Well, it hasn't been the most summery of weather this week; my boots are still drying on the windowsill from Wednesday's torrential rain! However, from the badger's perspective it is probably very welcome. One of the main dangers to badgers, especially young ones, is drought. Dry weather forces the earthworms deeper and ultimately leads to starvation because at this time of year there still are not many fruits or nuts available. That being said I am finding fallen wild cherries and the odd wild strawberry that hasn't been grabbed by the mice or voles! So, this week of wet weather has probably guaranteed the badgers survival for a few more weeks and then hopefully there will be more alternative foods for them.
In between the wet periods however, I managed to record a new butterfly for the wood; a
couple of purple hairstreaks were chasing each other around the top of an oak. Admittedly, I have been scanning the canopy level for elusive purple emperors and after unsuccessfully searching the most likely spot with high oaks and a few sallow in the shrub layer, I went to the shed for a cup of coffee. Leaning back in my chair and looking up at a couple of unlikely oaks I was surprised to see 2 purple hairstreaks chasing each other. This butterfly is not particularly rare in the right location but they are difficult to see due to their habit of staying up in the canopy layer. I cannot offer you an image I'm afraid as I have never photographed this beautiful little butterfly before. I also saw yesterday 2 silver -washed fritillaries and one of my favourites the white admiral (pictured). These butterflies will come down to areas of bramble in clearings and are a little easier to photograph. It is a weekend of bracken bashing and pond digging this weekend and so I'm going to make good use of the coffee breaks and try to get a purple emperor!

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