Saturday, June 19, 2010

Wild flowers are less obvious at this time of year but evident nonetheless when you look a bit harder; yellow pimpernel, wood avens, sanicle and common figwort are all now flowering. In damp areas of Scrag on of my favourite flowers is also in show; ragged robin. This flower has a torn, delicate beauty and I love finding it. In the week, I also spent some time with my wildflower key and distinguished germander speedwell from wood speedwell, both evident at Scrag. The only apparent difference is the coating of hairs around the stem.
Badgers have been out like clockwork this week and I'm proud to say that I showed 14 people badgers this week that had never seen badgers before. They have been putting on a great show with some really close views before dispersing. A couple of days ago I found a rabbit stop dug out; the occupants obviously eaten. Sorry, but badgers do this!
The tawny owls have definitely fledged 2 young in total; I have not heard a third. Their white, powdery droppings are scattered all over the undergrowth within a few hundred square metres of the nest site; they are not up to travelling far yet and just tend to squeak pathetically from branch to branch.
We should get the first purple emperor in the next week or so!!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

I led a private badger watch last night and was pleased to have 3 relaxed badgers out from 8.20pm for a good 40 minutes. I say 'relaxed' because sometimes they have appeared nervous and very jumpy even for badgers. I did notice that Vincent the one-eared dominant boar wasn't present and had to ask myself, is there a link? Does Vincent make the other badgers nervous?
I was also pleased to hear a second fledged tawny owl squawking both at dusk last night and at dawn this morning!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The woodland is now in a period of transition; the soft greens of spring are now hardening into darker shades as the summer progresses. It is a slightly bitter-sweet time for me as the colours of spring are so spectacular and eagerly awaited that they seem to fade just a little too rapidly. these colours were captured fantastically last week when Scrag was featured on BBC's The One Show; it was a 4 minute slot that focussed on bluebells and woodpeckers as well as ancient woodlands in general. It was certainly a fantastic advert for Scrag and hopefully more interest and workshop bookings will result.
Many of the breeding birds' young are now fledging; yesterday I saw a trail of 5 or 6 young wrens, just whirring balls of feathers, desperately trying to keep up with their parents through the undergrowth. Many great tits have fledged and blue tits seem imminently about to depart but still squeaking manically as the parents continue to ferry food to them. It is about now that the sparrowhawk's eggs will hatch so that the adults can make the most of the fresh, easy meat available!
As I've left the badger watches this week, it has been a joy and a relief to hear the squawking of the newly fledged tawny owl chick; I even managed to get it illuminated under the red light. I'm not sure if there is just one or more young owls but it does mean that the pair have successfully reared a brood which means that they should remain loyal to the breeding site.