July Wildlife Top Trumps Drag Your Wellies from the Swamp

(55 Posts)

I declare one common newt. Who's going to bring out the basking sharks?

GrimmaTheNome Sun 01-Jul-12 21:39:39

We need Ariel - although maybe we'll get some holiday spots soon.

I've not seen anything new or remarkable recently, but have been enjoying some gorgeous dog roses along various paths.

MooncupGoddess Sun 01-Jul-12 22:31:17

I saw a stone curlew yesterday! They are very rare in England these days, but there is a site in East Anglia where they come every summer to breed, and I went to have a look with my father (v. accomplished birder). After quite a lot of fruitless scanning of the heath where they hang out my father finally spotted one, camouflaged in the grass and just moving its head a little from side to side. They are strange creatures, very prehistoric-looking with big yellow eyes.

Nothing else to report but a large frog, hiding under a brick in my garden. Hope it's OK, there are certainly lots of insects around for it to eat.

chixinthestix Sun 01-Jul-12 23:38:07

Today's spot was a dipper, posing very prettily until DCs came piling along the riverbank and it shot off. Lots of heath spotted orchids and bog asphodel too.

I've also learnt the difference between a dog rose (hooked thorns) and a field rose (straight thorns) and realised that we have both in the hedgerow opposite the front door. smile

GrimmaTheNome Mon 02-Jul-12 08:47:45

Strong early entry there from MCG, and my 'learn something new every day' from Chix about the wild roses.

Just back from run jog ok well mostly walk along the canal - got really close to a heron before it put up, and glad to see 'my' swans have 6 strapping cygnets.

iseenodust Mon 02-Jul-12 09:52:39

Driving home last night we were assailed by the scent of peas. Summer has arrived at last for the farmers at least.
<knows it's not wildlife but hopes marginally more interesting than a marking spot post>

GrimmaTheNome Mon 02-Jul-12 12:30:42

That is interesting, if you didn't realise there was a pea smell. Do you live in one of the agricultural areas where Birds Eye owns vast tracts of pea farm?

The only non-animal agricultural smells I've been aware of are rape and brussel sprouts (my DB lives in the Bedfordshire, which is very sprout-scented at times)

violetwellies Mon 02-Jul-12 13:39:53

Sprout scented Bedfordshire smile I'm looking forward to using that at some point smile

iseenodust Mon 02-Jul-12 15:05:00

The pea smell comes when the viners are doing their thing. It is pure scent of fresh pea. grin Farmers own the farms round here. Interestingly they have formed a collective purely for negotiating prices - and the approach has paid off I'm told ! Farmer's wife also told me it is far less than 12 hours from picked to bagged frozen.

GrimmaTheNome Tue 03-Jul-12 15:22:38

Just went down to the kitchen for a cuppa and spotted a woodpecker - haven't seen one in the garden for a while so that was nice smile

Pair of siskins on the sunflower hearts

violetwellies Tue 03-Jul-12 21:14:16

pair of red legged partridge started turning up with all the little birds @ hen feeding time. And a cursed fox.
I have lost an arucana, a faveroll, two croad langshan cockerels and am down to six from 9 croad hens. As well as assorted xbred bantams. All in broad daylight.

chixinthestix Thu 05-Jul-12 18:33:55

Big lazy buzzard circling above the garden in the sun (yes sun! For a whole hour!) this afternoon. Despite the failure of 'our' buzzard nest my neighbour has heard young calling from the other well hidden nest further down the valley. Very happy about that. smile

GrimmaTheNome Thu 05-Jul-12 18:50:39

Walking by the Ribble - big black-backed gull wheeling overhead (can't compete with the buzzard) while below, a pair of ducks hitched a ride on a log floating upriver with the tide.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 05-Jul-12 18:51:24

Right now, songthrush giving virtuoso performance accompanied by drumrolls of thunder.

Had to stop the car whilst a duck and 6 ducklings crossed the road. Tiny ones. A relief to see them as most of the duckings were washed away in the great rains exactly two weeks ago.

And now it is doing it again. Nature hardly stands a chance this year.

Saw a very strange small frog on the bridlepath yesterday - must do some research.

It wasn't a frog, it was a baby toad blush

GrimmaTheNome Sat 07-Jul-12 21:24:24

My spot today is singular but numerous - a swarm of bees. It was shaped like a pine cone but about the size of a football, hanging from the branch of a neighbour's ornamental plum tree; the branch had been bent nearly to the ground by its weight.

violetwellies Sat 07-Jul-12 22:07:14

Ohh wow bees, it must be the weather for it, our builder couldnt come last week as his bees were swarming, I've never seen a swarm.

GrimmaTheNome Sat 07-Jul-12 22:21:35

I'd never seen one before - it's quite a thing! There were bees buzzing round it -peaceably, minding their own business; but when DD came back this evening from the neighbour's house (daughter is her friend) she said it was all quiet and still.

chixinthestix Sun 08-Jul-12 20:55:00

Well, finally some top spots worth posting about. Fantastic walk today out into beautiful limestone grassland with 5 species of butterflies including a silver washed fritillary and a silver studded blue. Also a huge green bush cricket, an emperor dragonfly, moths, lacewings, golden ringed dragonfly and lots of blue damselflies. And 39 species of flowering plants, although could have been more...or less...DD was counting.
<admits Nat Park handicap> Was lovely and even a bit sunny at times. grin

PorkyandBess Sun 08-Jul-12 20:58:25

We've got a fair few bees in our garden.

Our baby bird flew off today.

Then, 2 hours later, he flew onto dh's head.

So now he's back in his cosy box for the night confused

whojamaflip Sun 08-Jul-12 21:02:22

Had the most gorgeous neon pink and brown striped Elephant Hawkhead moth in the kitchen last night - the honeysuckle is just coming into flower by the back door and I think it got confused and flew in. smile

GrimmaTheNome Sun 08-Jul-12 22:06:32

Chix - very impressive esp ID'ing the various dragonflies.

Looks like July is Insect month.

The swarm was today near lunchtime but was gone when we got home about 5.

iseenodust Mon 09-Jul-12 10:36:35

Spotted the albino pheasant ! He's been around a couple of years but I've not seen him since I found these threads. He was just mooching in a field.

violetwellies Mon 09-Jul-12 22:13:30

* fox (insert your own rude word) has had another three hens. Do suggests I leave them shut in for a few days. sad

violetwellies Mon 09-Jul-12 22:14:54

Dp, auto correct almost as swear inducing as fox

chixinthestix Tue 10-Jul-12 23:37:41

Sorry to hear about your poor hens Violet. I think once the foxes have been successful they'll keep coming back for another try so your DP is probably right.

I wonder where the swarm went Grimma? We saw one in a hedge on holiday last year and it stayed there the whole week.

NaturalNatures Wed 11-Jul-12 01:11:31

Golden Eagles grin 2 of them, out on a hike, walking down the road after taking photos of a white foxglove when this bloody great bird burst out of the hedge and flew onto a telegraph pole with another. They'd been eating rabbit. Absolutely huge birds but magnificently beautiful had eaten a pregnant bunny though

iseenodust Wed 11-Jul-12 12:56:45

Golden eagles - awesome ! Only seen one once - on Mull.

We saw two wolves by the side of the road a couple of weeks ago. They were really big! Not seen them in the wild before.

Disclaimer - I live in Canada so we have some pretty interesting wildlife

chixinthestix Fri 13-Jul-12 13:18:23

Eagles, wolves !! The July thread is suddenly starting to take off! What amazing things to see.

GrimmaTheNome Fri 13-Jul-12 16:45:20

Chix - yeah, but if those magnificent beasts present themselves, there's not much skill in spotting them - I still think your collection of insects is the best yet! grin

Haha yeah that's very true!

violetwellies Fri 13-Jul-12 21:24:42

Exceedingly envious of the golden eagle, not so sure I want to spot wolves, enough problems with old Reynard.

NaturalNatures Sat 14-Jul-12 19:27:43

blush hang on, sorry, there's rl debate over wether they were eagles/buzzards/owls pub debate sorry, insects and wolves are amazing though.

Very excited - saw a hedgehog in my Dad's garden this evening - but how sad is it that I am excited about seeing a hedgehog. Used to be commonplace - you don't even see the fecker squashed on the road anymore sad

violetwellies Sun 15-Jul-12 09:16:50

My esteemed dp days They are eaten by badgers, along with ground nesting birds. We have no hedgehogs, no gardens within half a mile (so no slug pellets)

violetwellies Sun 15-Jul-12 09:17:17


MooncupGoddess Sun 15-Jul-12 12:33:50

I just saw a spider entrap a large bumblebee in my conservatory, just a few feet away. It was a swift and terrifyingly efficient procedure, although the spider now looks slightly intimidated by the enormous lunch it has in store.

I have read about the threat to hedgehogs from badgers, but we have no badgers that I know of.

chixinthestix Sun 15-Jul-12 22:22:56

I didn't realise that, we have loads of badgers and no hedgehogs at all, perhaps that's no coincidence.

Saw the most beautiful little lizard in my garden today. I have a v nice potting bench with a shelf above it with small potted plants on it. As I stood potting up a container on the bench the lizard appeared from between the flower pots on the shelf and sat basking about 18 inches in front of my nose. It stayed for about 10 minutes, while I quietly carried on with what I was doing.

GrimmaTheNome Mon 16-Jul-12 11:26:01

I've seen quite a lot of squashed hedgehogs round here recently - I was wondering if there was some season when they're more likely to be on the roads, either searching for a mate or youngsters dispersing. ( I've only once seen one in our garden, but that could be because when the last dachshund was a pup DH blocked up all low-level holes to prevent escape).

Don't think its a badgery area.

Lizards! Basking!

That all smacks of sunshine and warm stones.

chixinthestix Mon 16-Jul-12 22:38:29

It was sunny here on Sunday! Ok well, mostly cloudy but a bit sunny and not wet . Back to normal this morning. Splish splosh.

Selks Mon 16-Jul-12 22:59:55

Saw a six spot burnet moth on the window at work, 'twas very pretty. Said I, to colleagues " oh look a six spot burnet moth!". I got a row of faces looking like hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm
at me...... sigh

GrimmaTheNome Tue 17-Jul-12 07:53:39

Selks - ah, we appreciate it though.

Yesterday we saw....compound eyes and antennae.

DH went aloft to deal with - as he thought - another invasion of mice. But finding a heap of little poops in one place (right under the apex of the roof) rather than scattered around, at my suggestion he brought them down to examine under the microscope. Definitely the output of insectivores so it looks like the soffit bats are coming a bit further in.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 19-Jul-12 14:22:15

Yesterday, a lot of shelducks and shelducklings. Also oystercatchers, redshanks, cormorants, swans - the usual estuary gang.

chixinthestix Fri 20-Jul-12 23:04:00

I love shelducks and the haunting sound that waders always seem to make. Been a bit short of decent bird spots here lately.

Sounds like your bats are making themselves at home Grimma. Still they are probably the least obnoxious mammal to have living in your house!

Saw another fab dragonfly today - a male broad bodied chaser, bright blue and v big. It sat nicely on a twig while I took a photo before zooming off. Then took DCs pond dipping in the nearby pond and found several huge dinosaour like dragonfly nymphs and a tiny newt. Fantastic watching the dragonflies ruthlessly hunting and eating the midge larvae in the bucket. Nature in the raw. Had to quickly rescue the newt and pop it back in the pond.

GrimmaTheNome Mon 23-Jul-12 13:15:37

Dragonfly nymphs are amazing - the top predator of the pond I guess. We first found one when dipping in an Exmoor stream, it was on a totally different scale to everything else we'd found, a water dragon indeed!

violetwellies Mon 23-Jul-12 21:43:10

Sun glorious sun :-) grin ladies bedstraw in profusion and butterflies, ringlet I think, they were fluttering about.

reluctanttownie Wed 25-Jul-12 13:18:21

Quite new and only just discovered this bit!

Not very expert but went recently went to Iceland where we saw Harlequin Ducks. First time we were next to some real twitchers who were beside themselves with excitement although they were miles away and tiny even through binoculars. Second time they were really really extremely close, so we were lucky.

MegBusset Wed 25-Jul-12 21:03:11

I saw a sparrowhawk the other day, flying over a field. Never seen one before!

I saw seals (Atlantic greys) and a lovely blue jelly fish, and I looked hopefully for basking sharks but no luck. Loads of lovely wildflowers on the Cornish road sides but hardly any butterflies. Can we have a butterfly spot? I can start with one Ringlet and one Large White.

violetwellies Sun 29-Jul-12 09:28:35

Loads of ringlets at the bottom of our lane, lots of little birds taking advantage & in the hair dressers a dragon fly. I dont go for a haircu t very often( first visit this year)

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