Another 30 Days come to an end, not that it is not possible to do wild things other than in the month of June. A lot of people have realised how much they value the wild, or at the very least green space, over the last year or so and especially the benefits of contact with nature close to home. We have never needed people to appreciate nature more, it is rapidly slipping away from us, something that is now widely recognised, but as yet which has not resulted in genuinely positive action.
I was at home for Day 30 so spent a little time in my garden and especially the mini-meadow, as usual I was amazed by just what there was to be found.
Ornate digger wasps are quiet common in S. England, especially where there is sandy soil. They are regular in my garden, not because I have sandy soil but because I have lots of flowers for nectaring. The smartest sighting was of a cuckoo wasp, it was very difficult to photograph as it never stopped still and even when it slowed down the antennae were still twitching, this was the best picture I could get.
In the evening I went down to Ashlett Creek on the shore of Southampton Water. There is extensive saltmarsh with lots of thrift and sea lavender on the upper shore, the thrift is mostly past flowering now but the sea lavender is looking good.
Lower down the shore, or where there are lower spots there are patches of glasswort.
Saltmarsh is a very specialist habitat and almost entirely restricted to the coast, with a whole caste of specially adapted plants and the insects that live on them. The saltmarsh plume moth is one of these, a very distinctive moth and very common on saltmarshes, but nowhere else.
I saw a fair few birds including a flock of oystercatcher, several curlew and a whimbrel. These are mostly likely to be failed breeders, although some of the oystercatcher could be young birds as they do not breed in their first few years. The curlew are likely to be birds that had attempted to breed on the New Forest. The Forest is one of the only remaining nesting areas in S. England, but nesting success in recent years has been very poor with almost no young being reared, despite increased efforts at conservation. Curlew are restricted to the bogs of the Forest in our area, however oystercatcher are less fussy, although most nest on coastal shingle, some nest inland on gravel pits as they do at Blashford Lakes and a few use flat roofed buildings. This may be why the one in the picture seemed quite happy perched alongside a couple of black-headed gull high on the ridge tiles of Ashlett Mill.