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. http://mapperton.com/   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:                     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCm1XNVD_0c

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