Still going wild

Another week in to 30 days wild, I can’t believe we’re over half way through already! It’s been another busy week, but luckily I’ve still been able to take some time to spot all sorts of wonderful wildlife whilst out getting jobs done. On the 11th I was at Blashford Lakes for the Tuesday volunteer work party. In the morning we were doing some cutting back along the paths and tree checking. In the afternoon we were planting some devils bit scabious near the Ivy North hide. Whilst struggling to dig a hole for one, this shiny bronze beetle caught my eye. After spending some time later identifying it, I settled on Crysolina banksi.

Chrysolina banksi

Chrysolina banksi

Day 12  and I was strimming the vegetation back from the permissive path, all the rain was causing the long grass to flop down over the path. After finishing the strimming I walked back down the permissive path to see what was around. The permissive path has a great display of wildflowers which is keeping insects very happy. I recorded a video of 2 bumblebees enjoying the tufted vetch and a cetti’s warbler singing a few seconds in as an added bonus. Unfortunately I can’t add the video to the blog, but here is a still from the video.

bumblebee and tufted vetch video still.MP4

2 bumblebees enjoying the tufted vetch

Day 13, back at Blashford for the Thursday volunteer group, in drizzly conditions (a rarity for the Thursday group). we were doing a lot of therapeutic sorting in the yard, making it much neater and tidier. Right at the end of the session after having moved another load of metal, the volunteers showed me where some of the bee orchids are. They are a beautiful orchid, sure to brighten even the greyest day. Bee orchids self pollinate in the U.K. as the bee they have evolved to mimic isn’t found in the U.K. Our native bees still get lured to them thinking they’ve found a mate, but have to leave without success.

Bee orchid

Bee orchid

Day 14, a Friday and I held a work party at Fishlake Meadows. There isn’t typically a huge amount of work to do at Fishlake Meadows through the summer, other than strimming the path edges. However I ended up with several odd jobs to get through, mainly in preparation for the cattle. The volunteers did a great job, getting 2 pasture pumps set up, checking a fence line, cutting back larger vegetation from the canal path, clearing the views from the screens and putting up 4 frames with bird identification tiles in. The tiles are interchangeable so can be updated through the year.

Bird tiles on screen 2

Much clearer views over the large lake and bird ID tiles

Bird tiles on screen

Improved view through to the smaller pond and the bird tiles

Day 15 was a day off at home, carrying out some “life admin” as I like to call it. Fortunately I was able to sit with good views of my back garden and our bird feeders, which have been very busy recently. Several of the neighbours have lovely mature gardens, so there are families of blue tits, starlings and house sparrows nearby. The house sparrows are particularly numerous, and swamped the bird feeder, at one point there were 7 at the same time, not leaving any room for the collared dove.

bird feeder in my garden

House sparrows and collared dove on my bird feeders

Day 16 and another busy day at home, when returning from the shops I noticed a foxglove growing just under the kitchen window. A first for my garden, presumably from some wildflower seeds sown a few years ago. I find it very pleasing to see some different species appearing in the garden, I don’t manage as much time out there as I’d like. As we know however, this is often just the ticket for our wildlife, if I managed more “tidying” and “sorting” maybe the biodiversity and invertebrate numbers out there would drop.

Foxglove in my garden

Foxglove in my front garden

This week is a bit of a strange week for me, I have 2 evening meetings, so 2 late starts, but that does give me the chance to have a walk around Fishlake Meadows in the late afternoon/early evening. I don’t normally manage to have a walk round at that time, so I’m intrigued to see if I see anything a bit different.

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