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Roger Parsons
09 June 2023 10:53:29
Went for a walk in the woods today on Scotgrove Wood before the heat got going - it was up to 15C by the time we got home. Spring flowers have pretty much gone over - bluebells, orchids - with summer flowers like ragged robin and foxglove now showing. Less bird song than earlier - mainly robin. Roe deer barking. Few insects. The usual woodland spp.  e.g. Speckled Wood - but fewer than usual. This wood is usually quite wet, but is now very dry bar a few persistent damp patches and a small pond. It is famed for its dragonflies - but usually later in the year. Nothing now. No bees. One wasp! Very quiet and calm. This site is next to the airfield from which the attack on "The Dams" was launched in WW2 and was also the site of the Thor Missiles in the Cold War. Hard to imagine now, tho' only yesterday a friend was mentioning "...counting them out and counting them back" - recalling the Lancaster Bombers. She would have been about 7 then.
RogerP
West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire
Everything taken together, here in Lincolnshire are more good things than man could have had the conscience to ask.
William Cobbett, in his Rural Rides - c.1830
NMA
  • NMA
  • Advanced Member
09 June 2023 11:40:41

Went for a walk in the woods today on Scotgrove Wood before the heat got going - it was up to 15C by the time we got home. Spring flowers have pretty much gone over - bluebells, orchids - with summer flowers like ragged robin and foxglove now showing. Less bird song than earlier - mainly robin. Roe deer barking. Few insects. The usual woodland spp.  e.g. Speckled Wood - but fewer than usual. This wood is usually quite wet, but is now very dry bar a few persistent damp patches and a small pond. It is famed for its dragonflies - but usually later in the year. Nothing now. No bees. One wasp! Very quiet and calm. This site is next to the airfield from which the attack on "The Dams" was launched in WW2 and was also the site of the Thor Missiles in the Cold War. Hard to imagine now, tho' only yesterday a friend was mentioning "...counting them out and counting them back" - recalling the Lancaster Bombers. She would have been about 7 then.

Originally Posted by: Roger Parsons 



Poignant if that's the correct word Roger.
By coincidence I live across the road from another WW2 airfield. Warmwell.
After years of gravel extraction, the site is now part nature reserve with the lions share earmarked for a 1000 units of holiday homes. So far the cheapest are about half a million £ and selling so there must be spare cash available for people to afford them. It’s a gated community so the riff raff can’t access the posh bits.

The original plan was for an Avon Heath Country Park https://www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/countryside-coast-parks/country-parks-and-visitor-centres/avon-heath-country-park/avon-heath-country-park 
style reserve but houses were added at one point a few years back in the plans. Infrastructure improvements seem well hidden (non existent) for local road improvements and of course potable water for the people who will use the properties.
Still the lakes have thriving collections of waterfowl including swans and Canadian geese. I noticed some damsel and dragonflies there recently too. Knighton Heath Wood in the middle will in due course then be surrounded by houses. https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/6372896 

Nick
Vale of the Great Dairies
South Dorset
Elevation 60m 197ft
fairweather
09 June 2023 14:39:45

What a shame FW. This morning i got back from my dog walk and found a fledged Blue Tit by the back door and wondered how it ended up there. I decided it best to leave it to its fate as i wasn't sure if it was being fed still or had perhaps taken a knock from the window (I did elevate it off the ground to give it half a chance). 

The relentless cold wind and dry conditions here in E-Sussex have wreaked havoc with my garden and the wildlife. Our bird numbers are down, especially so the Tit species, we've lost our marsh tits and our coal/blue tit numbers are significantly down too. Our Wisteria Sinensis has bloomed and finished with barely a bee or any other flying insect present to collect the nectar. Same can be said for the foxgloves which are nearly always a guaranteed top tier bee watching location. Very few butterflies and moths too. My wildflower meadow, on the face of it, looks great but is conspicuous by its almost complete emptiness of life.

It would be lovely if we could just catch a break, every year i think the same around March "will this be the year?" just a couple of years on the trot where our absurd climate just calms down a bit and gives nature a chance. 

Originally Posted by: MRazzell 


I think we are fighting a losing battle now. It's not just the run of bad weather it is the lack of insects and their larvae. An EWLT Nature Reserve has chucked off its grazier due to him using anti-biotics so all the dung produced was inert. They have installed their own and the dung flies and beetles are returning. but this is just a pocket. We live in a Country obsessed with tidiness. Pesticides abound and most of our Northern and Welsh National parks are little more than overgrazed picturesque lawns bereft of wildlife. The rest are grouse moors put there for the benefit of a few rich people. Just been for a walk around a mixed wooded and scrub area and barely a bird to be seen. Contrast that with Bulgaria where even the Town Parks were full of Shrikes, Nightingales singing at every turn and warblers in the treetops. We had that once 😞
S.Essex, 42m ASL
Roger Parsons
10 June 2023 09:51:13
Filmed an adult badger in the garden early this morning! Have had foxes before and badgers have occasionally got into local gardens and the nearby churchyard. I think it was after some hedgehog food near the camera - a sign of the dry weather perhaps? And there is water available too that the hedgehogs use. A bit exciting. I hope it does not come back to trash the tomatoes and strawberries!!!! 🦡
RogerP
West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire
Everything taken together, here in Lincolnshire are more good things than man could have had the conscience to ask.
William Cobbett, in his Rural Rides - c.1830
fairweather
10 June 2023 15:07:23
Badgers are great but not the gardeners friend. Nearest sets to me would mean crossing a fair bit of housing estate which is unlikely. Were signs of a lot of soil disturbance on our allotment though which adjoins a wooded park where I think there are badgers. I think you are right about lack of water and hard ground making it hard to get to the worms.
S.Essex, 42m ASL
DEW
  • DEW
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10 June 2023 18:36:59
Two points:

- I drove over to East Sussex today for a meeting, about 60 miles, and there were 6 animal corpses on the roads, 4 badgers and 2 foxes. That's more than I would expect. Were the badgers searching for food away from their usual haunts? And if you multiply up, that's quite a large cumulative death toll.

- More cheerfully, on the insect front, enough honey  bees on the campanula (lactiflora? - the low-growing one) to attract attention by the amount of buzzing, and aphids a-plenty on the lunaria.
War does not determine who is right, only who is left - Bertrand Russell

Chichester 12m asl
Roger Parsons
11 June 2023 06:47:27
https://www.badgertrust.org.uk/gbab 
We had that badger back in the garden last night. 🦡


 
RogerP
West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire
Everything taken together, here in Lincolnshire are more good things than man could have had the conscience to ask.
William Cobbett, in his Rural Rides - c.1830
Retron
11 June 2023 07:10:49

I think we are fighting a losing battle now. It's not just the run of bad weather it is the lack of insects and their larvae.

Originally Posted by: fairweather 


If it's insects you want, come to my garden - I've come in from a half hour's tidying up (mainly brambles and stickyweed) and saw plenty of insects, including (rather puzzlingly) several bumble bees in the large hazel tree. No idea what they were doing with it, but they seemed obsessed: I saw at least four at a time crawling over the leaves, and by the buzzing sound overhead and behind me there were more in the tree.

There were also plenty of other insects flying around, I disturbed clouds of them as I pushed through the longer grass... and ended up with "spit" on my trousers, which I think is from a froghopper.

This is still relatively early in the day, I expect the hoverflies and more will appear later on.

The first clovers are now opening on the lawn (which seems to have acquired buttercups from somewhere too), and the fuchsia is now well in bloom. No bees on them, though, which is unusual. I still don't know why the bumble bees (with brilliant white tails) were so fascinated with the hazel leaves though!
Leysdown, north Kent
Retron
11 June 2023 07:22:46

https://www.badgertrust.org.uk/gbab 
We had that badger back in the garden last night. 🦡
 

Originally Posted by: Roger Parsons 


They always seem exotic to me, but that's because there are no badgers on the island where I live. That said, there were no foxes up until the 1950s (any previous ones having been killed), but when the new bridge was opened in 1959 some trotted along the pavement and onto the island. There are now (apparently) quite a few around, but they're seldom seen out in the open... they're definitely not urban foxes!

I can't imagine it'd be as easy for badgers to make the trek.
Leysdown, north Kent
Retron
12 June 2023 09:08:32
I've got the day off work today, so went out to investigate that hazel tree in the garden.

Even as you approach you can hear the buzzing, and it's now positively swarming with bumble bees! There must be a nest nearby, although I still can't figure out why they're so obsessed with the hazel leaves. Upon closer inspection there seems to be a white powder (?) on the leaves, maybe that's what they're after.

A few of them have now found the fuchsia bush, and it looks like the box hedge is about to come out in bloom, they're sniffing around that too.

That's the second time in three years that I've had a bumblebee nest, the last one was under the shed (and wasn't anywhere near as populous as this one must be - the buzzing has to be heard to be believed!)

EDIT: Perhaps it's just honeydew they're after? Looking for photos of leaves with honeydew shows a similar "powder" look!

https://www.bumblebeeconservation.org/bee-faqs/bumblebees-and-aphids-2/ 

https://ukwct.org.uk/weather/bee1.jpg 
https://ukwct.org.uk/weather/bee2.jpg 
https://ukwct.org.uk/weather/bee3.jpg 

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Leysdown, north Kent
Roger Parsons
12 June 2023 10:30:06
We spotted a bee orchid in the grass next to the village hall where we have our Monday exercise class, and a Little Owl sitting on a shaded gate on our way home. What's the third interesting thing going to be, I wonder?
RogerP
West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire
Everything taken together, here in Lincolnshire are more good things than man could have had the conscience to ask.
William Cobbett, in his Rural Rides - c.1830
Saint Snow
12 June 2023 14:29:50
There was a great feature on Springwatch last week about an RSPB report into how grouse moor gamekeepers were continuing to kill [protected] hen harriers, and raid their nest to destroy eggs.

They had some twat from the C*ntryside Alliance on, who just denied everything and tried to cast doubt on the RSPB study.

 

Martin
Home: St Helens (26m asl) Work: Manchester (75m asl)
A TWO addict since 14/12/01
"How can wealth persuade poverty to use its political freedom to keep wealth in power? Here lies the whole art of Conservative politics."
Aneurin Bevan
Roger Parsons
12 June 2023 14:59:12

There was a great feature on Springwatch last week about an RSPB report into how grouse moor gamekeepers were continuing to kill [protected] hen harriers, and raid their nest to destroy eggs.

They had some twat from the C*ntryside Alliance on, who just denied everything and tried to cast doubt on the RSPB study.

 

Originally Posted by: Saint Snow 


Such rules do not apply to the entitled, Saint. "Serfs you are and serfs you will remain."

https://www.historyhit.com/why-was-the-peasants-revolt-so-significant/ 

 
RogerP
West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire
Everything taken together, here in Lincolnshire are more good things than man could have had the conscience to ask.
William Cobbett, in his Rural Rides - c.1830
fairweather
13 June 2023 18:01:15
........ plus the most recently prosecuted for poisoning about 15 birds of prey (they found birds and an illegal pesticide in his shed!) got a suspended sentence and a paltry fine (£980?) which his boss will pay anyway for him doing so much good. Never ever heard of a gamekeeper being sacked for this so they should fine the land owner for collusion - like about £1m.
S.Essex, 42m ASL
Roger Parsons
14 June 2023 15:48:20
Not sure where to post this...
Shark that ate swimmer alive to go on display at Egyptian museum
https://uk.yahoo.com/news/shark-ate-russian-swimmer-alive-140006196.html 
 
RogerP
West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire
Everything taken together, here in Lincolnshire are more good things than man could have had the conscience to ask.
William Cobbett, in his Rural Rides - c.1830
NMA
  • NMA
  • Advanced Member
17 June 2023 14:56:26
"Honey bees aren’t an endangered species; they’re causing chaos".
Says the lady who wasn't able to tell the difference between a bee and a wasp when they appeared in her house.
“Wasps!” I wailed to my analyst husband, Chris, who like me is 44. I frantically vacuumed them up and deposited them outside as fast as they arrived...
https://www.msn.com/en-gb/foodanddrink/other/honey-bees-aren-t-an-endangered-species-they-re-causing-chaos/ar-AA1cDtXd?ocid=hpmsn&cvid=9b4cbe8e1e014f1594c07efc93bff06f&ei=34 
Make of this story what you will. Some fragments of truth but the overall picture is honeybees are not endangered anymore.

Nick
Vale of the Great Dairies
South Dorset
Elevation 60m 197ft
NMA
  • NMA
  • Advanced Member
17 June 2023 15:00:35

Not sure where to post this...
Shark that ate swimmer alive to go on display at Egyptian museum
https://uk.yahoo.com/news/shark-ate-russian-swimmer-alive-140006196.html 
 

Originally Posted by: Roger Parsons 



Not sure what to make of the story apart from the fact that the shark ate a Russian. A cunning Ukrainian ploy?
Vale of the Great Dairies
South Dorset
Elevation 60m 197ft
Retron
17 June 2023 16:02:25

"Honey bees aren’t an endangered species; they’re causing chaos".
Says the lady who wasn't able to tell the difference between a bee and a wasp when they appeared in her house.
...
Make of this story what you will. Some fragments of truth but the overall picture is honeybees are not endangered anymore.
Nick

Originally Posted by: NMA 


I posted a comment on the real version of the story, which interestingly has only a quarter of the comments that the freebie version has!

It's an interesting point wrt honey bees. I rarely see them in my garden, as has ever been the case, with bumble bees being at least an order of magnitude more common (or two orders at the moment with the nest I have). There are several commercial hives a few hundred metres away, but I guess those bees don't wander far.

The snag is it's hard to tell a farmed bee from a wild one...
 
Leysdown, north Kent
Roger Parsons
17 June 2023 16:42:53
You guys are living dangerously letting me find this subject!!!!!!🤣
Honeybees are as "native" as any feral species can be. They have been in the UK for a long time. Remember that pretty much everything in the UK is an immigrant! I have a photo on my website of a Roman mosaic with Cupid robbing a "Skep" hive. Honeybees will happily live wild in the UK and trouble no one. We've had a feral colony in a redundant chimney - no issues.
The concern is many indigenous bee species are having a difficult time, mainly due to a steady loss of habitat and native flora. If they have to compete with the "superorganism" of a honeybee colony they may find the going gets tough. This is especially true when large numbers of bees are pollinating monocultures of a farm crop, such as oil seed rape, at the expense of their natural setting. Overpopulation of any species is also a danger as far as epidemic disease is concerned - bees or humans. As far as people are concerned, being near an apiary can be a recipe for trouble when hive jobs are being carried out. Responsible beekeepers won't put people at risk. If anyone wants to know more PM me and I'll give you a link to my bee webpage.
p.s. Honeybees will fly quite a distance to forage - 5 miles is often quoted. I used to be the LBKA county spray liaison officer, keeping records of all the hives in Lincolnshire so farmers knew where they were and could liaise with beekeepers to avoid spray accidents. I worked out there was not one Km square in the county honeybees could not reach!!!!!
RogerP
West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire
Everything taken together, here in Lincolnshire are more good things than man could have had the conscience to ask.
William Cobbett, in his Rural Rides - c.1830
NMA
  • NMA
  • Advanced Member
18 June 2023 07:24:27

You guys are living dangerously letting me find this subject!!!!!!🤣
Honeybees are as "native" as any feral species can be. They have been in the UK for a long time. Remember that pretty much everything in the UK is an immigrant! I have a photo on my website of a Roman mosaic with Cupid robbing a "Skep" hive. Honeybees will happily live wild in the UK and trouble no one. We've had a feral colony in a redundant chimney - no issues.
The concern is many indigenous bee species are having a difficult time, mainly due to a steady loss of habitat and native flora. If they have to compete with the "superorganism" of a honeybee colony they may find the going gets tough. This is especially true when large numbers of bees are pollinating monocultures of a farm crop, such as oil seed rape, at the expense of their natural setting. Overpopulation of any species is also a danger as far as epidemic disease is concerned - bees or humans. As far as people are concerned, being near an apiary can be a recipe for trouble when hive jobs are being carried out. Responsible beekeepers won't put people at risk. If anyone wants to know more PM me and I'll give you a link to my bee webpage.
p.s. Honeybees will fly quite a distance to forage - 5 miles is often quoted. I used to be the LBKA county spray liaison officer, keeping records of all the hives in Lincolnshire so farmers knew where they were and could liaise with beekeepers to avoid spray accidents. I worked out there was not one Km square in the county honeybees could not reach!!!!!

Originally Posted by: Roger Parsons 



As soon as I saw this edition of what was (I think?) a widely syndicated piece aimed at different audiences, I though 'light the touch paper and run' Roger.

Are Swifts and other Hirundines really native? And of course when will bee eaters become native? https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-norfolk-65910074  

Anyway here's another story more local to me you might find interesting for Sunday morning.
https://www.dorsetecho.co.uk/news/23588628.plans-advance-new-honey-bee-centre-north-dorset/ 

 
Vale of the Great Dairies
South Dorset
Elevation 60m 197ft
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