It’s not just owls!

The three barn It’s not just owls! Summer is a great time of year for the insects too 🦗🐜🕷

Ghost of a dragonfly

It’s the time of year for our dragonflies to morph from larvae to adults. Here’s the discarded cast (‘exuvia’) of the old skin, probably from a broad-bodied chaser as we have lots of those here and this cast is quite big (about two inches long).

The ghostly remains of a dragonfly larva.

Spawning roach

The roach are spawning at last as the weather finally warms up. They’ve been getting all splashy in a clump of water crowfoot and have been at it all day.

Normally rather shy, today the roach are behaving like a pod of dolphins.

Swan Lake

A juvenile mute swan arrived today, quite bold and hungry, currently hoovering up the water crowfoot (which is a shame as it’s just started to flower). Lovely addition to the pond though.

Still a little brown = a juvenile
10pm. Looks like he’s staying the night.

Smooth operator

Smooth (common) newt, female (probably)

Now the frogs and toads have had their fun it’s time for the newts. There are a lot of them this year, both smooth and great crested but now the water has become so clear they are easy to spot and the visiting hungry heron quite likes them for breakfast. Today only the smoothest of newts wanted to be photographed.

Frisky Frogs

The first sighting of mating frogs: this pair of common frogs appeared this evening and are enjoying themselves in the rain. There are likely to be many more appearing over the next few days. Spring can’t be far away!

First flight

The two fledgling stock doves couldn’t get out of the barn owl nest box (due to the entrance being too high up) so we took the side off to help them. Here’s one of them mustering up enough courage to make its first flight. Its nervousness may be partly related to the nest box being about twelve feet off the ground.

You can just make out the other fledgling on a branch next to the nest box. It had just made its first flight and was encouraging its sibling.

Wriggly season

It’s the season for caterpillars of all sorts (though we could do without the Large Whites on our cabbages).

Flying and more

Twenty eight days old and the two stock dove fledglings have learnt to fly, though they’re still living in the nest box.

What we hadn’t noticed was that one of the parents had returned to nest with the two fledglings. This wouldn’t normally happen (they would only return to feed them) and we have found out why: the adult, now clearly female, is sitting on a new clutch. Stock doves do lay more than one clutch each year, but it is a bit unusual to not even wait for the first to leave the nest.

You can just make out an egg under the female dove.

Hungry doves

Fifteen days old and the two stock dove fledglings are almost ready to fly (but fortunately can’t leave too soon because of the high entrance to the barn owl box). They’re still growing though and the adults are busy trying to satisfy their hunger while not get trampled on at the same time.