Weekend wildlife by Peter Hanscomb
It’s the weekend again and today I’m flying solo in the hide at the wildflower meadow. The recent spell of warm sunny weather has given way to a slightly cooler overcast day here in North Wiltshire, still warm enough to be called tee shirt weather , but definitely a more pleasant temperature to be sat all day in a hide.
The meadow is still growing taller every day and in places is over a metre tall , in fact from the entrance to the meadow the hide has almost disappeared. The path cut around the hide just two weeks ago also needs recutting and a few of the bird perches have also nearly disappeared into the meadow. Time to charge the batteries on the newly purchased strimmer I think !
One new arrival at the meadow is the iconic Red Admiral butterfly. A few of these wonderful adult butterflies hibernate during winter here in Britain, but the majority are summer migrants from Europe. The Red Admiral is a fairly common sight here during the summer months and lays its larvae on nettles, and nettles are a plant that we have in abundance here at the meadow !
While the growth of the meadow has benefits , mostly in camouflaging the hide from prying human eyes , it has a few disadvantages. The most obvious is camouflaging the animals from our eyes. Today one of our young fox cubs popped out of the meadow onto one of the paths we had cut just two metres from the hide , right in front of me. ( sorry no photos , the fox was too close for my 600mm lens ) You can easily tell he’s still a youngster but he’s growing up fast and looked in fantastic condition. Obviously mums been doing a great job. It was lovely to see one of the cubs. We’ve not seen them for quite a few weeks. The den is at the other end of the meadow and we made the decision not to film the den and leave the young family alone.
It’s not just fur and beaks here , the meadow is alive with insects. New additions to the list include the Speckled Wood butterfly and the Hornet , Britain’s largest species of wasp. In truth I think we probably have hundreds of species of bug and insect to discover here in the meadow. So far we have only identified sixty species , so a long way to go !
Another youngster to make an appearance at the hide was a juvenile Song Thrush. Another first for our hide and another fantastic looking addition. The brown rats were out in force , I think there are now at least six rats in our family . And they certainly know how to entertain me with their antics and play fighting. Not everyone’s cup of tea but I kind of like them. The usual small woodland birds all present and correct. Robins, Blue and Great tits , Dunnock and Woodpecker.
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