June 22- I was at home today but the weather was not conducive to spending time outside. It chucked it down, sheeting rain at times and gusty winds. I guess this was what I hoped for, and the 2nd water butt is almost full, preparing us for some (hopefully) sunny weather ahead. I still fitted in my normal daily “wild” tasks, filling the bird feeders and bird baths, checking on the bee waterer and making sure that there is enough sugar water in there, gazing into our pond to see what is happening in the watery world- legs are appearing on the tadpoles now, they’re getting bigger, watching the bees buzzing in the garden in dry moments, watching the wood pigeons on the fence and bird feeder, comically hopping along the fence, marvelling at a kestrel hovering and diving over the waste ground beyond the car park, checking on our garden plants and seeing if anything new is coming into flower- the first of our lilies has burst into bloom, the pyracantha flowers have faded and berry production is underway, it’s interesting to see the small day to day changes that take place- it won’t be long until the scabious and the salvia are in bloom .
Yesterday we found a moth in the garden, which we disturbed when we were fitting the new water butt, I had forgotten all about until I downloaded the photos from the camera. I spent some time this morning identifying what species it was, and have come to the conclusion that it is a common carpet moth. It has very beautiful markings on its wings, and a furry face.
As today was more one to be inside, I took up the Wildlife Trusts’ suggestions to watch a wild webcam and read a wild magazine. I tuned in to the Dyfi Osprey Project’s webcam to watch Glesni sitting on the nest with the three Osprey chicks underneath her, and popping out. I watched on and off during the evening. The chicks are getting big now, and they looked restless, shifting and stirring under their mother, a head popping out here, a bottom there. Corvids could be heard cawing in the background, you could see Glesni’s head raising as she tuned in to the sound. We visited the Dyfi Osprey Project in 2013, and its great to be able to follow the stories of the Ospreys at Dyfi on their blog and webcam.
As it happened, the wild magazine I picked up, the RSPB’s Summer edition, which came some time ago, but hadn’t been opened yet, also featured Ospreys, focussing on the RSPB’s work at the Abernethy Reserve in Scotland.
It’s wonderful to read some positive stories about Birds of Prey. Ospreys are now beginning to recover, thanks to the hard work of organisations like the RSPB and the Wildlife Trusts and their dedicated staff and volunteers. We love watching another conservation success story, the red kites, soaring above our home, and I am often distracted by them at work. Not all Birds of Prey are doing well though, with five breeding male hen harriers disappearing in England in this May alone, in all probability due to persecution from grouse moor managers. We’ve seen hen harriers just over the Scottish border, on Langholm Moor, when we were visiting Northumberland and it would be wonderful to see them thriving across the Trough of Bowland and other moorland areas. I also read about gardening for wildlife, an amazing little “phonescope” gadget to turn your mobile phone into a microscope, which you can use to ID and photograph insects, plants and so on, and an interview with the lead singer of my current favourite band, Stornoway (loved seeing them and the Guillemots on Springwatch Unsprung this year, great music and great wildlife combined).
We had a moment of excitement tonight when I saw an aurora alert indicating that it may be possible to see the Northern Lights as far south as we were here in Berkshire, plans were hatched to head out to somewhere dark in the hope of seeing them, then we looked outside and realised that we were blanketed in cloud again, after it had cleared earlier in the evening. Disappointing!