Sunday, 25 October 2015

Gardening for Wildlife

The garden is small but I try my best to make it wildlife friendly by having a small pond, a few trees and plenty of bee friendly plants.  These pictures I have posted are from my garden of this year.
This is a rambling rose called 'Pink Blush' a beautiful rose and the bees love it, especially the White-tailed bumblebee and the Buff-tailed bumblebee, they buzz, vibrating inside the flower to get the flower to release its pollen.

This is a Salvia called 'Sensation Deep Rose' the Common Carder bumblebee liked this one.  I bought this from a garden centre because I noticed the bees all over it.  I hope this one will survive the winter.

I have posted this picture before, it is the Dog Rose which the Tree bumblebees loved, they were nesting in our roof.

The Tree bumblebees did a good job of pollinating the Dog Rose, absolutly loaded with rose hips, well done to these bees which was first seen in Britain in 2001 and is very successful, it has spread from South of England to Wales and all the way up to Scotland.
Did not have many butterflies this year, I have four different buddleias which are attractive to butterflies, bees and moths.  Managed to capture this Comma on my purple buddleia.

The Green Veined White butterfly was a surprise, first time I have seen this butterfly in my garden.

Jewelled Beatle

Thursday, 1 October 2015

A Touch of the Silhouette

 A couple of pictures of silhouetted birds.  The first one was taken in Poole Park of a Kingfisher.  I was really surprised to see a Kingfisher in the park, not just one but two, they were flying around the reeds and calling to each other.  It was their calling to each other that alerted me because it was a bird sound that I have never heard in Poole Park before.  The second is a cormorant in West Bay. 
The Kingfisher, a big surprise, Kingfishers in Poole Park!

The Cormorant, as you can see, the sea is going down hill abit ;-)

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Happy Dipping at Lyme Regis

Had a great day at Lyme Regis and what made the day was the Dipper :-)  We had coffee at The Town Mill  and on our way out going over a bridge we saw the Dipper in the river (if you can call it a river)  Malcolm, who seems to have an eagle eye, spotted it first and I manage to quickly get a few pictures of it, first time I have seen a Dipper and never expected to see one here in the South especially in a coastal town. 
View of the Cob

The Dipper

This seagull stole four sachets of different sauces from a table nearby, it swallowed two, the other two it had dropped which I picked up and dumped them in the bin before it ate anymore.  Maybe this seagull can survive on sachets of sauces, maybe its digestive juices can breake down the plastic wrapping.  Fortunately, the juvenile did not get fed with these sachets, it got tired of begging and flew off.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Bad News for Dorset

I thought I would post this on my blog as I am totally against the badger cull and it has now been extended to Dorset.

Brian May, founder of the Save Me Trust, calls on the government to halt the badger cull and confirms legal action.
Friday 28th August
Brian May, founder of the Save Me Trust, calls on the government to halt the badger cull and confirms legal action.
The Save Me Trust confirmed that the lawfulness of the decisions to issue the licences today will be challenged by a Judicial Review in the High Court. To continue the culling of badgers is unlawful as it does not rationally serve the statutory purpose which permits the killing of badgers only to achieve the aim of preventing the spread of disease. Additionally, there has been a fundamental failure in the consultation process, a logically flawed approach in calculating badger numbers and a failure in Gloucestershire - in any event - to meet its minimum targets in 2013 and 2014.
Dr May said, “We are all hugely disappointed that the Government has decided to continue its cull policy, despite Natural England's Scientific Advisor branding the badger cull 'an epic failure’. The government should quit now, and save the tax-payer more fruitless expense”.
The Government's own Independent Expert Panel (the IEP, now disbanded) damned the cull as 'ineffective and inhumane’. The British Veterinary Association also condemned the free shooting of badgers, but all this advice continues to be ignored.
The legendary Queen guitarist and founder of the Save Me Trust said “The badger cull has been a disaster and has cost British taxpayers over £5,000 per badger, worse still, it’s certain that most of the murdered badgers are perfectly healthy, and free of bovine TB, but since the government has refused to test any of the dead badgers in the pilot zones, this cannot be proved”. He continued, “This is a tragedy for our farmers, cattle and wildlife; the scientific advice has been ignored by Ministers with more badgers set to die again this year. This awful policy must be put to bed now, in favour of a policy that really will address the TB problem in cattle.”.

Anne Brummer CEO of the Save Me Trust said, “The science categorically does not support the continuation or widening of the cull to new areas – many areas within the Government’s ‘high-risk zone’ for bovine TB, including Dorset, have seen a statistically significant fall in bTB outbreaks over the two years. In Dorset, the number of bTB outbreaks has fallen from 36 to 20 during that time. In fact, across the South West region there has been a year-on-year fall in the number of cattle slaughtered of approximately 12% from 2012-2014. These reductions have occurred in the absence of badger culling across the vast majority of the region.”.

The cull companies in both Gloucestershire and Somerset fell short of achieving targets set as conditions of their licenses during the first year of culling. In Gloucestershire, the contractors also failed to meet the considerably reduced targets in the second year.
Anne Brummer continues, “The worrying increase in herd breakdowns on the periphery of the Somerset cull zone would appear to mirror the situation experienced during the Randomised Badger Culling Trial (RBCT) around proactively culled areas, where the incidence in bovine TB in cattle increased significantly.”.
Vaccination of badgers has now been proved to be viable and effective. The Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales has reported that “incidents of TB have fallen by 28%” without badger culling. The reduction has been achieved with cattle-based measures and badger vaccination.
Science has conclusively demonstrated the effectiveness of vaccinating wild badgers, which makes them 76% less likely to develop progressive TB.
The government should drop its cull policy and instead develop its support programme for vaccinating badgers. The badger cull is a failed policy and it needs to be consigned to history.

Anne Brummer
Save Me Trust
01344 625800

Friday, 28 August 2015

A Moment of Being Close

Close enough to get this picture with my Lumix camera :-)  We walked along the river Stour into Wimborne and on our way back saw this Kestrel, lovely bird. 

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

The Cute and the Headless

We took a trip to Fontmell Down, stopped at Compton Abbas Airfield for coffee and cake.  There was a few Chalk Hill Blue butterfly and a couple of the Common Blue. 
This is the cute, a Chalk Hill Blue who was quite happy to sit on my finger

This is my attempt to get a picture of a headless cow, if you squint at the picture you can just about see that the cow is headless ;-)  The markings on this cow is quite unusual.

Not quite sure what this fly is, doen't look pretty, quite large.

Mint moth

Thursday, 13 August 2015

I Guess That's Why They Call it the Blues

Elton John's song 'I guess that's why they call it the blues' came to mind when I thinking about the Chalk Hill Blue butterflies at Tout Quarry in Portland.  I have not seen this butterfly for a couple of years and when I did see one, it was just the one, but at Tout Quarry, the Chalk Hills were everywhere, hundreds of them.  I was spoilt for choice photographing this butterfly :-)
I read about Tout Quarry and the butterflies in the Independent recently, it is a disused quarry and is now a nature reserve.  We parked our car at the small car park opposite St George's church and then we took the path that runs alongside Tradecroft Industrial Estate to the quarry.  This quarry also includes a Sculpture Park. 
Chalk Blue on the edge of the cliff, don't worry, I was careful when taking this picture :-)

A pair of Chalk Hill Blues making the next generation

So many of these butterflies, lovely to capture two on a flower 

Like the Adonis Blue, when the butterfly is at a right angle, the light bounces of it's wings.  The flower is Carline Thistle.

A Chalk Hill Blue on the Wild Marjoram, here the light is reflecting off it's wings

I include this picture because that is where we were seeing most of the butterflies, we walked from St George to the Sculpture Park.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Captured Moment

We went to Edmondsham for a walk through the woodland and wildflower meadow, there was hundreds of butterflies fluttering around particularly on the bramble along the edge of the meadows.  The large number of butterflies was the Gatekeeper, I have never seen so many of these butterflies before and I have visited these meadows now for twenty-one years.  I say meadows in the plural, there has always been one wildflower meadow but it appears that another, a field that we walk through on our way back to the car is slowly becoming a wildflower meadow, it has taken years to go from purely grass to a wildflower meadow.  I hope that is the case as we have lost so many wildflower meadows throughout the UK, 90% I believe.   I have visited a few wildflower meadows in Dorset and when you see them and see them at different stages of flowering it makes you realise what we have lost, such treasures that are pricless.
This is my captured moment, a hoverfly hovering near the flowers of Yarrow

This meadow is dominated by the Betony


Gatekeeper, hundreds of these, they are having one of their best years

Silver-washed Fritillary, I think these are having a good year, I saw four of these today
Marbled White

Skipper, not sure which, not often see these at this meadow, saw two today

Friday, 10 July 2015

At Long Last! Found it! Got it!

The Little Owl.  Thanks to one of my blogging friends, Richard Pegler  who found a Little Owl on one of his trips to Portland Bill.   So ever since, every time we went to Portland Bill, we were looking out for the Little Owls and yesterday we found one in one of the old quarries along the coast from the Lighthouse.  Malcolm my partner was the one who saw it first and I did manage to get a few pictures of it :-)  Thankyou Richard for discovering that Portland had these owls their old quarries  :-)

My very first picture of a Little Owl! 
The Little Owl flew off onto some rocks near the edge, trust me, that little blob on the rock is the Little Owl 
There was someone else who was looking at me, a Wall Lizard
Need your help here, anybody with an expert eye, what is this bird? it looks like to me a pale Common Buzzard.  It was in the same location as the Little Owl.  Not a brilliant picture but I hope it is enough to identify this bird.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Little Gems

I am not a great fan of the heathland, often it seems to be desolate but there are little gems, the Silver-studded Blue butterflies.  As I walk along the paths through Morden Bog I often see flashes of blue, the blue of the butterflies and the damselflies.  There are plenty of wildlife on the heathland but they are very often hidden.  You hear the birds more than you can see them, the Meadow Pipits, I am guessing here, I do hear a beautiful birdsong on the heath, I think it maybe the Meadow Pipit.  I have seen a Hobby and have heard and seen the Cuckoo.  Another bird I have heard also is the Nightjar, not seen yet.  Stonechats, seen and heard.   So if I made a list of wildlife seen and heard at Morden Bog, I think the list will be surprisingly long.   There has been some rare birds seen at Morden Bog,  a couple of winters ago, a Short-toed falcon was seen and also a Great Grey Shrike, I saw and heard neither.
Silver-studded Blue

Silver-studded Blue

Silver-studded Blue

The Green Hairstreak, another little gem

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Tree Bumblebee or Should it be Roof Bumblebee

We have bumblebees nesting under our roof, the Tree Bumblebee.  During April and May we had the Early Bumblebee flying in and out of our roof, we could hear them in our lounge, the humming of the bees in our roof, then this last week the bees appear different, instead of being small black things with a yellow stripe and orange tails these are ginger top with white tails and they are bigger.  It seems these Tree Bumblebees have taken over the nest site in our roof and the Early Bumblebees seem to have disappeared although I do still see them in my garden.  We have a Dog Rose which we bought from the Woodland Trust about six years ago and this year it is absolutely covered in buds which are now opening up, these Tree Bumblebees love it, they don't have to fly far for their food, it's almost right underneath the roof where they are nesting.  I have read up about the Tree Bumblebee, it takes about six weeks for the queen to raise her first worker bees,  so our queen must have been in our roof raising her first young while at the same time the Early Bumblebees were nesting.  This bumblebee was first discovered in the New Forest in 2001,  it has now spread throughout England and Wales and has now reached Southern Scotland.  It is remarkable how fast they have spread and how successful they are when so many of our own are struggling.  I do find it is a privilege to have them.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Swimming Pool Turned Pond

We went to Mappperton House and Gardens yesterday, a lovely place to visit.   Their swimming pool is fascinating, it has not been used as a swimming pool for many years and as you may guess, wildlife has taken over, there were hundreds of tadpoles in the pool, also there was newts.  Many people ask the staff of Mapperton 'how do the frogs get out of the pool'  They do somehow, even we have wondered how they manage to get out. 

A few tadpoles, some are starting to sprout legs.  You can see my reflection, my hand and the ring of my camera taking this picture :-)

They do have a pond as well as the swimming pool, this contains gold fish, no tadpoles.

This picture was taken in July 2012, the reason why I added this picture to my blog is that Mapperton House was one of the location for the recent film 'Far From The Madding Crowd' This area of the ground was turned into a farmyard in the film:           

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Wonderful Meadows

We went to Durlston Country Park, they have wonderful wildflower meadows, each one is different.  When you see the meadows it makes you realise what we have lost in this country, 98% of our meadows are lost to intensive farming.   So much of farmland is monoculture and our wildlife, especially our bees, are suffering.  What wildflower meadows we have left are valuable and need protection.  There is a verse of Scripture I love, Luke 12: 27
Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these'
Solomon, in his day, had everything he could wish for (1 Kings 10:14-29) and I think the same with our modern life, with all our material possessions we have does not compare to the beauty of the natural world, it is life not things.
One of several Durlston Country Park's Meadow
Oxeye Daisy