Your Wildlife Spots

First and possibly only ever sighting?

I am thrilled to say that Eric and I have been lucky enough to see a Dartford Warbler whilst out walking.  Ok so we are in Finistere, Brittany, but from what I gather, they are pretty rare here too.  We were in an area known as the Menez Hom which is covered with pines and gorse and we heard it first, then watched it for some time - in fact there may have been more than one. and possibly a nest.  I did have a camera with me, but also two dogs, so it didn't come near enough for me to get a picture.  I may go out again on my own and try again.

 

Greenscombe reserve butterflies

Apparently, this is the best year for a long time to see the Heath Fritillary butterflies according to Richard who monitors the population.

Heath Fritillary, male       Heath Fritillary, female 

The demise of botanical science and why we must not disregard plants!

Pete spotted an article by Michael McCarthy in the Guardian this week about the end of botany as a degree subject at university and why plants are no longer 'cool' when our very survival depends on them. He also describes a new 'State of the World's Plants' publication from Kew and how this may become a global voice for plants.

You can read both online and download the Kew publication which is illustrated and quite readable (but not all 84 pages at once!).

cuckoos

Glad to hear cuckoos back at Laneast over the last couple of weeks - at least 2 birds in the woodland above Gimbletts Mill. Lots of bats out taking advantage of the warmer evenings as well.

First dormice of the year?

This was my reward for not being able to do the Brown Willy walk!

First dormouse nest box check here this month and found these two, torpid still in a box in the field hedgerow. Both female, the larger, heavier but thinner one was 19.5g and the smaller only 12g but she was fatter and still with grey juvenile fur. If they can brave the cool temperatures at night there is food around~ flowers buds (plenty on the oaks), catkins and the first caterpillars. 

Honey bee, hard at work

After that gale from the north, a couple of weeks or so ago, we realised that the large branch had split off our Salix hookeriana, a pussy willow with large male catkins, much loved by bees, Blue Tits, House Sparrows etc and a wonderful sight against a patch of blue sky. You could see and hear the bees but even with binoculars, not easy to ID.

Anyway, I thought it would be good to take cuttings so immersed quite a few branches in water and decided to place some in the front garden where we could also enjoy them.

New Garden Butterfly Survey website

Following on from the Big Butterfly Count, Butterfly Conservation have launched a new web site for people to report on the butterflies seen in their gardens on a more regular basis, say once a week.

Several of us will remember Brian's work on butterfly transects and I know that those of us who contribute to the BTO Garden Birdwatch have the opportunity to record butterflies and other species each week but this might be ideal for those who would like to continue the butterfly count through out the year.

Follow up to our Gonamena valley walk

Several of us commented on the way in which the post industrial landscape was still bare ground in areas yet elsewhere, gorse, bramble, heather was slowly recolonising the ground.

New advice on farm ponds

I know that several of us have an interest in ponds and this week, the Duchy College Rural Business School's Journal arrived ~ the Environmental Advice section had a very interesting article about farm ponds with recommendations on how to avoid them becoming a dark sink hole for run-off full of chemicals and fertilizer.

Instead, think of a pond complex with one deep water pool surrounded by shallower and seasonal ponds all enclosed within a wide drawdown zone, very interesting, I will keep the article.

History & Archaeology of Kit Hill ~ free talks

Thought that this might be of interest although not exactly wildlife (but it is a place that many of us visit, remember the cuckoos?).

The Tamar Valley centre at Drakewalls are hosting a talk by Wessex Archaeology on the History and Archaeology of Kit Hill on Wednesday, March 9th at 7pm to 7:45pm.

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