Roe deer, Woodpecker, Emperor, Spectacle and my Oxeye Safari
We are now well into Spring, and with Summer approaching, there is so much going on.
I put a picture of a Roe buck on my last blog and here is a Roe doe at the end of the garden (image 1); so good to see them so close. I understand that we now have Muntjac deer in the parish and look forward to seeing one.
Red kites are just so brilliant and when they fly right over your garden you just have to grab your camera (image 2). We have seen one juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker so far and which appears to be moulting into its adult plumage already (image 3). Barn Owls are about and Mary saw one hunting over the village green a few days ago. Our nestling blue-tits, sparrows and starlings have now fledged and there are plenty of baby birds around.
We have been keeping an eye on the Emperor Dragonflies emerging from the farm drinking trough. The nymphs were having difficulty climbing the steep sides and as the adults (unable to climb out) were dying, I put some sticks in the water. It was so pleasing to find the nymphs climbing the sticks and adults emerging safely (image 4) leaving their exuviae behind (image 5).
Two amazing moths. The Spectacle Moth seems a rather dull brown job, until you look at it face-on and see why it has been so named (image 6). The Buff-tip Moth is also rather special with its buff-coloured head and wing markings which, with its silvery cylindrical resting position, make it a perfect mimic of a broken birch twig (image 7).
Every year I take an oxeye safari to the wonderful show of flowers on the A272 Winchester Road / A3 Petersfield bypass roundabout before they get mown down by town council. The flowers here include Oxeye Daisies (image 8), Spotted Orchids (image 9), Buttercups, Clovers, Vetches, Bird’s-foot trefoil and more and they all attract a wide range of pollinating insects, butterflies and spiders; here is just a selection showing just how biodiverse our common wayside habitats can be.
Special to see was this Bumblebee Hoverfly that lays its eggs in bee nests where the larvae feed on the debris in the nest bottom (image 10). Many honey bees and bumble bees were feeding here including this Early Bumble Bee (image 11). Butterflies have included Red Admiral, Peacock, and Common Blue (image 12). There were many other hoverflies including this rather splendid Tiger Hoverfly (image 13).
With all these insects around, it is not surprising to find predacious spiders. The small green Cucumber Spider is common spreading its webbing across the oxeye flowers as are Wolf Spiders that actively run hunting their prey. The tiny Zebra Jumping Spiders hunt by jumping on their prey, this one was on a sign post on the roundabout (image 14). Xysticus Crab Spiders lie in waiting for an insect to land in front of them (image 15).