Rattlebag

Starting this disparate collection of images and sightings from the last week or so is a new butterfly sighting in our garden. This Holly Blue butterfly made occasional appearances last weekend and stayed just long enough in one place for me to get a shot and positively identify it. It was a female and as we are into August, a second brood specimen.

In the vegetable patch the sprouts have been providing a great attraction to a myriad of hoverflies. The appeal appears to be chemical based as there is no nectar to feed on but clearly strong as there are almost clouds of them.

A walk up along the edge of Hanging Wood towards the new pond again gave great low views of the buzzards. The two ancient oaks are clearly a favourite haunt and could easily be close to their nest site – something for serious investigation next spring. The path inside the wood along the field edge gives great cover to get close to them. Along the way I came across this fresh dropping – as yet unidentified.

 A brown hare watched me from the field, its colourings matching the harvest stubble and earth with great accuracy – I’m often sending them scurrying from my feet when I’m out at the moment, invisible ’til they bolt!

 The two oak trees favoured by the buzzards stand majestically between the two fields. Over three spans in circumference they easily exceed 200 years of watching over the landscape of the Rib Valley. One looks to have been struck by lightning in its past, a huge scar causing the bark to erupt and develop into scar tissue.

The new pond remains dry but it’s bed has been populated by some of what Richard Mabey calls ‘first colonisers’ – plants that claim a foothold in newly exposed earth. Deep rust-red spikes of Dock contrasted with swathes of Scentless Mayweed whose daisy flower heads carpet the base and surrounding banks, growing strongly in the remnants of the clearance bonfire.

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