Butterflies, Mayflies and Swollen Thighs

I shall continue where I left off in my last post when I started discussing rabbits. Stand in the right place near the local fields at the moment and you can see a lot of them.

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There are at least five rabbits in that photo if you look closely. The population is probably at it’s annual highest now with lots of younger rabbits around. Whilst they will breed for some time, the peak of the breeding season is over and as the weather gradually worsens and predators hunt, the numbers will inevitably reduce a little. With some many potential predators out there (for a start there’s a heron and a buzzard nesting close by), it’s no surprise this family sit up alert at the slightest sound.

On a similar theme of ordinary but still interesting, here’s our garden woodpigeon.

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Whilst it is difficult to say for certain it’s the same bird, this individual appears to rather like our garden at the moment. It seems to be there most of the time you look out into the garden and after sitting from a vantage point like above it drops into the garden and eats the seeds dropped by the starlings and sparrows.

I’ve got my best photo yet of the local Great-Crested Grebe. It does seem a little reluctant to be photographed though and has been further across the lake since I bought a camera with a longer zoom. Sadly there’s still no sign of a second individual this year.

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Butterflies are continuing to do well lately, especially the comma which is more numerous than I’ve ever seen before.

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One of the lovely things about butterflies is that you can often observe them very closely:

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Meadow Brown on my hand

In other invertebrate news, I spotted this Green Drake Mayfly (Ephemera danica). This adult will live for a maximum of four days or less if one of the many local swallows manages to catch it.

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And here’s the brilliantly named Swollen-thighed Beetle (Oedemera nobilis)This is a male.

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I was intrigued to spot these very odd looking growths amongst the overgrown hedges near a former railway tunnel.

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It turns out that this is a Robin’s Pincushion Gall (Diplolepis rosae). A gall is an abnormal growth and this is one is caused by a tiny wasp. The plant is a species of wild rose and the grubs in the gall feed on the plant until they eventually emerge as adults.

A fungus has popped up recently near the local lake. The slugs have really had a go at it but this appears to be Amanita excelsa.

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I can end today on some good news from Dorset County Council who have set out a new set of principles to protect pollinators. From the council website:

The council’s action plan consists of a range of principles that will be adopted for all relevant projects, plans and decision-making processes, both now and in the future.

Actions cover highway verges and hedgerows, the council’s county farms estate and country parks and include stopping the use of on neonicotinoids and planting more pollinator-friendly plants.

 

The full story can be read here.

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