Despite the average forecast it was a very nice weekend, warm and sunny. We were in London, Hyde Park to be specific to see Neil Young and Crazy Horse, a night of self indulgence from Neil and the band, four old men thoroughly enjoying themselves, and entertaining the fans.
As we drove home from Alton there were two Red Kites around Brick Kiln Lane, and as we arrived home a very bedraggled adult flew over the house.
As we settled down to watch the final last night, Helen noticed something outside on the Rowan Tree in the drive. A closer look revealed a Green Woodpecker, an adult just perched on the trunk of the tree. The evening light was perfect and I dashed upstairs to get the camera, and to watch it from my office window.
I mentioned a few days ago that there were calls around the garden of young Green Woodpeckers, but they never seem to show themselves, and I have never found the nest hole, although I do have a suspicion I know where it may be. As I watched the adult, it became clear there was something else with it. And as we continued to watch slowly it showed from the other side of the tree. A juvenile Green Woodpecker.
Although fully fledged it was clearly begging to be fed by the adult, and the parent duly obliged.
There then followed a game of hide and seek around the tree trunk.
The adult was either fed up with the begging of the youngster or it was responding, and it dropped down to the drive, and the divide between the grass and the tarmac. This is a very popular area for the red ants, and you can see little piles of fine soil, where the ants have built a nest under the tarmac, and out onto the grass.
The adult was probing its beak and tongue into the gaps looking for ants, the juvenile followed the adult and watched as it licked up the ants.
The young bird then started to copy the actions of the adult, tapping away at the tarmac.
After awhile it seemed to get fed up with this, and went back to begging at the the adult.
The adult then flew back to the tree trunk, and the juvenile then took over the hole created by the adult.
The adult sat in the tree as the young bird seemed to be licking up its own ants.
Finally the juvenile returned to the tree to join the adult who immediately scrambled around the other side.
The begging continued, and the adult then relented and fed the youngster again. Its quite frightening how rough it seems as the adult forces that dagger like bill into the young birds mouth.
The adult then left the tree, and continued to search for more ants along the edge of my lawn, with the young bird following it, watching, and obviously learning.
I curse the ants nest that build up on the lawn at this time of year, they are mostly red ants and they can make a real mess of the grass, especially when it has rained and you cut the grass. However from now on, if they can attract little episodes like this, I will welcome them. It was a lovely encounter, and we watched them for some time.
Another clear night, and after Germany delivered the right result would the moth trap? Well there were plenty of Buff Ermines and the usual Heart and Darts and Footmen, but again there were some new moths and an old favourite.
First the old favourite, the Poplar Hawk-moth, and from a different view.
and now the new ones, this is a July Highflier.
The next two, are not technically new, as I have been catching them over the last few weeks, but they are difficult to keep still long enough to photograph once I open up the trap. This one is the Small Fan-footed Wave
and this one is a Small Yellow Wave
However the top moth of the night was this beautiful Swallow-tail Moth, a very light greenish cream colour with those definite bands and the prominent swallow like forks on the hind wings, gorgeous.
Hopefully I will get the chance to get out into the patch this coming week, the weather is set to be hot, and there could be thunder storms by the ebd of the week. It is quiet, this morning at 5.00 am the only bird I could hear singing was a Song Thrush, and there was a very distant cockerel crowing. In the garden the feeders are being emptied by young Gold and Greenfinches, it is amazing how quickly they learn to exploit this food source, but then watchingthe green Woodpecker learn from its parent to feed on ants, they must observe their parents too.