Nettles and A New Bee

http://sqlperform.de/2772-csde38621-slot-kostenlos-spielen-ohne-anmeldung.html I’ve been letting some nettles grow in the garden for the wildlife and have been treated too seeing the flowers. They are truly amazing!

The other nice treat was a new species of bumble bee for me feeding on them – a bombus pascuorum

What a fab little bee. It’s amazing what letting a few nettles grow does!

 

Drive Thru’ Nesting

The blue tits are nesting in the street light outside MacDonald’s again this year. Must have been a good site last year. At least it must be warm at night!

 

Hopefully this will be more successful than ours, although I will have no way of finding out.

Still no signs of our fledglings. The parents are still darting around calling so I am still hopefully

And Then There Were None

On Friday morning, just before 8am, the 2 Blue Tit chicks fledged. The smallest one had trouble getting out, it was a bit too soon for it to leave. It had trouble flying and landed in one the soft release pens for the hedgehogs. I had to give it a helping hand out of there. It then made it to the bushes and hopefully to safety. The parents were frantically looking  for it and eventually found it under the bushes.

This is them the day before. One looks ready, the little one is underneath

And then there were none

This is the little one stuck in the hedgehog pen, he couldn’t get high enough to clear the small fencend then there were none

Fledgling

Blue Tit Fledgling

Hope they do well. The wet weather may have made it very difficult for them. I have heard them but not seen them since. I went looking for them but the rain has sent everything  deep undercover, although I did see a very inquisitive Chiffchaff today, and a lovely Blackcap (too dark for photos in the trees)

Here’s a video of the moment they fledged taken from the live cams


I will keep looking, better weather tomorrow so fingers crossed. I will also complete the Blue Tits page too with complete story.

Do Blue Tits Snore?

At about 11pm on 31/05/2012 I heard a hissing noise coming from the blue tit box. I didn’t think it was them as they were asleep and I’d never heard a noise like it before. I check everywhere and couldn’t see anything else. It was the nest with the mic in so I sat and listened inside. Sure enough the hissing came again and it was definitely from the nest box, but, the blue tits were still sleeping. Does this mean Blue Tits snore?

I decided to connect the mic up to a recorder to see if I could capture it. Luckily they did again. Here is the recording so you can hear it too

Blue Tits Hissing 31052012

Anyone heard this before or have any ideas why they make this noise?

Damselflies

The nice weather bought out a load of damselflies on our pond. Large reds were emerging everywhere!

This is a large red larva found in the pond

 

I then started to notice them crawling up the reeds and lots of empty exoskeletons

Larva crawling up reed

I set up some time lapse and a few of the stills are quite good

 

Then it was the newly emerged adults drying off

A day later and they were all dancing and mating over the pond

Finally the results of my time lapse – not great, a bit more practice. It was a bit too windy, need to work some sort of wind screen

 

An Increase In Insect Activity

The hotter weather has brought out a lot more insects now. The bee tubes are very busy so I must spend some time photographing that soon. The moth trap hasn’t really yielded anything yet though, except for the obligatory Cockchafer!

Cockchafer (or May Bug, I much prefer cockchafer!)

 

Not in the moth trap but on the wall – a Pale Tussock

A soldier beetle

Snipe fly

I had never really looked before but there are some amazing varieties of daddy long legs (crane-flies)

The Rock Rose had a very small pollen bug, no idea of what type though. It is quite colourful for something so small

 

Blue Tits in Flight

Whilst the blue tits have been going back and forth to the nest box with lovely juicy caterpillars for the chicks, I’ve taken to opportunity to try and get some shots of them in flight. Still haven’t got the one, but getting better. Doesn’t seem easy!

Lots of caterpillars coming in

In these two you can see them removing faecal sacs from the nest

 

The Fabled Lazy Fox

I have had the trail cam out in the garden the last few nights. I have succeeded in catching on film the fabled Lazy Fox! Don’t blame it lying down to eat with the heat we have had for the last few days. It was hotter at midnight last night than 99% of the days so far this year!

 

Riverfly Monitor Training

Yesterday we went on a Riverfly Monitor Training Programme organised by Gwent Wildlife Trust, Riverflies.org and the Enviroment Agency.
This was held at the Enviroment Resources Centre in Ebbw Vale. This was the first time I’ve been there. It’s a lovely site and we were greeted by loads of House Martins and Swallows. Some were using an abandoned build for nesting so were flying in and out of the broken windows. Waiting outside also bought me my first Cuckoo of the year so that was a serious bonus!
Enviromental Resource CentreGwent Wildlife Enviromental Resource Centre

First things first and coffee! Then the inevitable Health and Safety, actually pretty important if you are going to be going into rivers!

The idea of the monitoring is to measure how many of certain invertebrates are in the river as an indicator to river health and pollution. We were shown the types of invertebratese we would be hoping to catch – Cased and Caseless Caddis, Mayfly, Blue Winged Olives , Flat Bodied Heptageniidae, Olives, Stoneflies and Gammarus.

We were then shown how to conduct and collect the sample. This is basically a 3 minute kick test, where you dislodge the substrate and collect the inverts in the net using the flow of the water.

Another quick coffee and then off to the river to get our samples.

Training At The RIverThe River

3 minute kick test. It’s surprisingly hard to keep your balance when kicking up the substrate. Thankfully no-one fell over!

Kick Test

Dipping the net helps wash the invertebrates to the bottom of the net.

Washing Catch into Net

Checking under larger stones for more.

Checking Under Stones
Then we had to put the catch into the tray. Some of the inverts stick to the net and you have to make sure you get them all off.

Putting Into Tray

Putting Into Trays

This is our catch. If you look closely on the left hand side you can see a large leech we caught. It vanished later, no idea where it went!

Our Catch

A rare photo of me. Checking stones for inverts.

Me Checking Under Stones

We then put it all into buckets and went back to the Centre for lunch.

After that we set about identifying and counting our catch. You leave behind the most numerous to estimate how many there are and then separate out the remaining species. It’s quite hard to begin with but you soon get the hang of the IDing (catching them takes a bit more practice!)

Sample

These are some Gammarus (freshwater shrimps). It appears these two are mating! The smaller invert is an Olive.

Gammarus

One decided to hatch. This is an emerging Iron Blue.

Emerging Iron Blue

Here’s everyone separating the catches out. It felt a bit like being back in the labs in school!

Sorting Samples

 

We were very lucky and caught a Cased Caddis and a Flat Bodied Heptageniidae. Amazing creatures. Our final count was

Cased Caddis – 1

Caseless Caddis – 7

Blue Winged Olives – 37

Olives – 180

Gammarus – 35

Stoneflies – 1

Flat Bodied Heptageniidae – 1

All in all a nice haul.

 

We were given certificates by Dai Roberts the trainer to say we had completed the course. A nice touch. We are now in contact with them to set up our monitoring site and then the monthly fun starts. Can’t wait to get in our river to see what’s there. I will let you all know what happens and how it goes.

Thanks again to everyone for organising it. Especially Dai Roberts the trainer, Sorrel Jones from Gwent Wildlife Trust, Bruce from the Enviroment Agency and Jess Pugh, an experienced monitor would help us collect and ID.

We also met Alice from Gwent Wildlife there and hopefully we will be doing Mink Monitoring soon too!