Some good news, more good news and some sad news about the wildlife at Cranford Park.....
Good news is the Swallows have re-built their nest, and even with the Open Day activities going on, the birds were seen going to and from the nest site quite regularly. Let's hope whoever destroyed the first nest, leaves this one alone....
The second lot of good news is that there are definitely five Kestrels out in the meadows at the moment. Four look like juveniles with the presence of at least one adult seen at times on Saturday. I only spent an hour with them, but it was still wonderful to watch their interaction with each other, and practising their hovering and flying skills.....
The sad news is it is now almost certain the Little Owls have moved away from their usual Oaks. There have been no sign of any owlets at all. Even one of the regular early morning dog walkers, who is generally the first one to spot them each year, has confirmed he hasn't seen any this season. This seemed to be confirmed when the Open Day falconer set up his display right by the Oaks, and there was no interaction from the resident Little Owls. Even the falconer commented he would have heard the birds if they had been in the nearby trees. They could still be present at Cranford Park, but at a different location. It might now be too late in the season to try and track them down, but next year in late spring, I'll search further out.
After my volunteer stint discussing the history of the park in the stables with the wonderful Christopher, I took my macro lens out around the nettles, thistles and buddleia at the back of the woods near the M4.
It might be noisy at that end, but that didn't stop me seeing a variety of little critters......
|Mirid Bug (female) - deraeocoris ruber|
The buddleia and thistles were attracting some lovely hoverfly species. I'm only just getting in to watching these beauties, and found three species today.
Volucella is a family of large, broad-bodied, dramatic hover-flies. They are migratory and males are often territorial. Adults feed on nectar of flowers and are often seen sunning on leaves. The larvae of most species live in nests of bumblebees and social wasps, where they feed off the bees and wasps larvae. Quite gruesome, but that's nature for you.
|The same patch of scrub was also alive with butterflies. The Comma was the most prolific today, but there were other varieties seen to.....|
|Speckled Wood (male) - Pararge aegeria|
|Holly Blue (female) - Celastrina argiolus|
|Gatekeeper (male) - Pyronia tithonus|
|Comma - Polygonia c-album|
|Green-Veined White - Artogeia napi|
|Red Admiral (male) - Vanessa atalanta|
Only a brief couple of hours spent watching the wildlife, most of my day was spent visiting the stalls at the Open Day (see part one of Cranford Park Open Day blog post), so not much of the park covered. Hopefully on next weekends visit, I'll concentrate on some parts of the park I often neglect to visit.