Sunday, 30 August 2009

Sunday 30th.August 2009

A grey , overcast morning , gave way to a glimmer of sunshine , and that was enough to see me heading for a look around the Common . When I arrived , it was quite pleasant in the sunshine , but very little was on the wing . The glade with the Ash tree , that provided so much interest earlier in the year , is now silent , without even a Meadow Brown sighting . A couple of glimpses of Migrant Hawker was all that I got . Already clouds were starting to steam in on a freshening wind . The second glade , full of Gorse and Heather was just as unproductive , but again , Migrant Hawkers were sighted , but not much sign of any food for them . The Orchid Glade , with hardly any flower showing , found a Magpie on the path , that seemed quite undeterred by my presence . It still held it's ground as a drew closer , then finally , with a raucous call , flew off into the trees till I passed by , returning as soon as I had . Another couple of Migrant Hawkers were hawking at the far end , and as I was watching one male , the sun started to get milky , behind the first of the clouds , and after a short while , he 'parked up' , to await it's return . Carefully approaching where he was resting , I managed to get a few shots , before the sun disappeared completely . As I was close , I went and had a look at the glade we cleared last Winter , where we found good numbers of Broad Leaved Helleborines . The flowers have all gone over now , but almost every plant is now loaded with seed pods , ready to provide more of these beautiful plants in future years . The odd plant has been browsed , probably by Deer , but most are intact . With the sun gone , I toyed with heading home , but then decided to have a quick look around the heathland area . Not a lot to look at , but as I stooped to look at a small moth that had landed on the Heather , a Hornet came into view . Seeing as I was unsuccessful yesterday , I thought I would give it another go , and got the camera out . A second Hornet appeared , then a third and fourth .I looked down on the ground , and a stream of Hornets were coming out of a hole in the roots of the Heather , right next to my right boot . I took several paces to the left , and stood still . By now , there must have been 10/15 Hornets in the air , in the area between me and their nest hole . I decided the best action was to stay perfectly still , and let things settle down again . This I did , and the drone of their wings started to subside , so too did the number on the wing . I must admit I was pleased that the situation panned out as it did . They went on about their business , and I started taking photos . Unfortunately , with the fading light , and the Hornet's fast movements , many of the shots were very blurry , but the odd one or two turned out reasonable . I must have been taking shots for 5/10 minutes , when the ones and twos coming and going , started to build up again . I took one final shot , and retreated slowly .I didn't realise it till I got home , but the front two of these three had what looks like foam coming from their mouths , so I probably made the right decision at the right time .
And finally , just for Warren , whilst we were having breakfast this morning , we had the first ever visit to the feeder of a Nuthatch . We have been here 20 years , have heard them around , and I see them in the woods at the top of the road , but not on the feeder . It made 7/8 sortis , then vanished as quickly as it came .


Ken Browne. said...

Hi Greenie
Congrats on getting your first Nuthatch on your garden list. Hopefully it won't be the last.

Anonymous said...

Stirring up a Hornets' nest - Greenie, you must be one of a very small number of people to have actually done it (and got away safely!)

Warren Baker said...

The first installment of greenies breakfast sightings. Now I now it's Autumn.

PS No the cat didn't make a bloody distressed rabbit noise!!!!!

Anonymous said...

You were lucky with the Hornets, Greenie.
They`re a rare species in my neck of the woods, with only half a dozen records.

ShySongbird said...

Great to see more of the Migrant Hawker and to hear the Broad Leaved Helleborines are doing well. That was quite an encounter with the Hornet's nest, I'm glad you got away unscathed!