Avon in August

August has begun and it already feels like Autumn is on it’s way. The nights are getting longer, the leaves are starting to lose their green shine and blackberries are starting to ripen.

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I’ve spent a lot of time around the River Avon over the last week. It’s a rich habitat which a range of creatures visit. The young swans seem to be getting bigger every time I see them.

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Here they were learning to feed by copying their parents and seemed to be getting the hang of it. Also fishing on the river this week was this grey heron.

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It’s probably a good time to be a predator that hunts some of the larger fish as some 60,000 rainbow trout have escaped, or been released, from a fish farm into the river. The fishermen are not too happy because all they are catching are trout. Rainbow trout are a non-native species so it could affect the river’s smaller species, with that many new fish suddenly predating on them. Still good news if you are a pike. [Full Story]

One more bird enjoying the river was this black-headed gull. There are often lots of gulls by the river, some 12 miles North of the sea.

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Today’s obligatory deer photo is from the fields near the Avon, where they is almost always a roe deer feeding at the moment. They seem to be so confident there that they barely ever look up from feeding.

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I was lucky last week to spot some very young swallows on the reeds at the side of the river. The adults swoop acrobatically along the river to catch insects and the young were trying this on occasion but I suppose they don’t yet have the stamina to do it for any length of time.

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The young swallows I’ve been following on a Dorset Wildlife Trust webcam are not looking too far off this now. Here they are this time last week, with an adult on the right:

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And here they are today, looking like they will fledge very soon:

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You can still watch the webcam here though I suspect the nest will be empty soon.

In other news, butterflies still seem to be doing well locally. I have added another species to the growing 2016 list as I have seen several beautiful peacock butterflies around.

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I also spotted this meadow brown looking a little worse for wear:

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I assume a bird did this damage but the individual managed to escape without having anything too vital damaged.

Here’s a dragonfly I saw locally, a female common darter:

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We are still getting plenty of avian visitors in the garden. There’s lots of house sparrows and large numbers of starlings, many of which are juveniles that are gradually developing their adult plumage.

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Finally, I spotted an interesting gall on oak tree. These are artichoke galls, caused by the Andricus foecundatrix wasp. The wasp lays single eggs within leaf buds with the larva living inside the ‘artichokes’.

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