Sunday, 12 June 2016

12th June - Hangin' Around Nothing To Do But Frown

Yesterday I was in Dorset, the weather behaved and it was a great day in many ways, you can find out about it here.  This morning though the rain came, and it arrived in style, and stayed with us for most of the day stopping me from getting out.  I had hoped to look for Roe Deer families, but that will have to wait.  Overnight I had decided to put the moth trap out, sultry weather with very little wind, perfect conditions.  But with the morning rain it looked a little bit of a mistake.  I did manage to get some moths though, but really nothing like I had hoped for.

These were the pick of the lot, a Peppered Moth, always a good one to see, with its beautiful black and white markings.


A Coronet


And a Varied Coronet.


A more plainer L-Stripe Wainscot


And finally a Willow Beauty.


Lets hope over the coming weeks as we move into the peak moth season the haul improves and we can get some of those spectacular hawk-moths.

Over the last few weeks we have noticed one particular male Blackbird that has a very strange appearance.  The chest and belly feathers seem to be very fluffy, if that is the right word, but I can't think of any other way to describe it.  This morning though the rain had not been kind and the poor old Blackbird was having a very bad hair day.


Fortunately later in the afternoon when the rain had eased and there had been a little bit of sunshine his feathers had dried out, and he was looking a little bit better.


While it doesn't look to be very comfortable for the bird it doesn't seem to have impaired him, and he has gone about his duties all the same.  Their are the calls of young birds about, and he is doing his bit in collecting food.  Hopefully the moult will put things right.

Some other interesting behaviour was a female Blackbird, maybe his mate, who had caught a slug.  Rather than just take it away, she was rolling it on the patio slab.  She did this with her bill turning the slug over quite a few times before taking away.


I can only guess she was doing this to take the unpleasant slime off the slug, that probably doesn't taste too good.

Another breeding bird in the garden that was enjoying the rain were the Starlings, they were probing the lawn looking for leatherjackets, the larvae of the Daddy Long-legs that turn up as flying adults in the autumn.

The Starlings do this by pushing their bills into the grass, and opening the bill to move the soil and allow the tongue to feel for the grubs


They are very successful, removing the grubs that destroy the lawn, and at the same time providing welcome food to the noisy young up in the roof just outside my bedroom.

Pulling it out of the lawn


Tossing it about to get the position right.


Then taking off to the nest and those hungry mouths.


The starling in summer looks a really lovely bird, the petrol colours in the feathers looking beautiful on a very dreary morning.


This one is the male, it has a bluish flush on the lower mandible.  Beautiful bird.


Hopefully the weather will improve in the week and then I get the chance to get into the woods to look for the deer this week, we will just have to see.

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