Everything Else - Bats, Hen Harriers, Lapwings and more Navelwort

Monday, June 15, 2015 Adam Tilt 3 Comments


It's been a hectic few weeks in these parts with time at a premium since our trip to Skomer. Nevertheless I've managed to keep this blog updated on a far more regular basis than I'd originally hoped yet there are still quite a few occurrences/sightings/events, call them what you will, that haven't quite made it out of the realms of social media. Those of you who follow me on twitter @adamtilt may have seen a few of these already but for everyone else here's a quick round-up of those things which didn't warrant a full post all to themselves.

Local Navelwort
Having been reacquainted with this species a fortnight or so ago I had planned to mention how Pembrokeshire seems to be the only location where we ever find any. Imagine my surprise therefore when we stumbled across a sizeable colony on our own road of all places. The habitat was similar being an old stone wall in good light and we have since found yet more plants at Mewslade on Gower. Just goes to show how much more observant we can be once there is a particular species in mind.

P1130310 - Local Navelwort

Bats
This week we've noticed somewhere in the region of eight very large Bats flying across the back garden at roughly half nine each evening. They always come from somewhere off to the south and head north, though as of yet we've not managed to identify either a roost or destination. All that we do know is that they are big. And by big we're talking large thrush size with long wings that flap to a relatively slow, looping beat. Short of that I'm a bit stumped with my only photo to date not revealing much more detail. Serotine is a potential candidate but I'll need to gather more reliable data before we can be sure.

P1130301 - Possible Serotine Bats?

Hen Harriers
If you've been watching Springwatch this year you may have seen the desperate plight of English Hen Harrier's highlighted in a couple of episodes, and may even have seen news reports concerning the mysterious 'disappearance' of five breeding males from English moorland. Sadly the BBC are too bound by their impartiality to have delved into the issue at any great depth but thankfully there are plenty of other outlets on the web where opinions and campaigns can be much more clearly expressed. One of the best is Mark Avery's blog here which has been one of the leading lights in bringing the conflicts between Grouse gamekeepers and Hen Harriers into the public consciousness. I highly recommend heading over and getting up to speed on the main issues and arguments before we really are staring another extinction event in the face.

http://birdersagainst.org/henry-the-hen-harrier/

Hedgehogs and Squirrels
Both our garden Hedgehogs continue to make regular visits and have been joined on occasion by a Squirrel. I've had to adapt the trail camera slightly to avoid footage being overexposed and will hopefully get a couple of new videos up in the near future.

Goldfinch, Great Tit and Greenfinches Fledge
It looks to have been a good year for our local breeding birds with juvenile Goldfinch, Greenfinch and Great Tit all seen on the feeders in recent days. Those first two represent new garden ticks and are hopefully a clear indication that whatever we are doing is clearly being welcomed by the birds.

Lapwing
Regular readers will probably recall that we have had a pair of Peregrine Falcons on our office block for several years now and, although they have been seen less frequently of late, they are most definitely still around. As far as work birding goes that must surely count as being right up there with the very best but it seems that they may soon have competition for my attention. Recently I have been treated to the sight of a displaying Lapwing above our work car park raising speculation that a breeding attempt may be in the offing. This isn't perhaps as strange as it sounds when you consider that this is an area of waste land rather than a tarmac desert. Sadly since then I have seen no further sign but I shall keep my fingers crossed that it and any potential partner are just keeping their heads down for now.

3 comments:

  1. The Hen Harrier problem is the stuff nightmares are made of and the RSPB don't help by watching a nest for weeks then when the male goes missing sitting and watching whilst the eggs go cold. A useless shower they are.

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    Replies
    1. It certainly is a nightmare Adrian though I feel a need to defend the RSPB here. They have been the victims of a smear campaign in recent months, seemingly backed by the Grouse fraternity although which elements is far from clear. The result has been a toughening in the RSPB's position but there is still a ways to go. In terms of the eggs being left to go cold there really is no alternative as I see it. Although the nests are monitored by the time it becomes clear that something is amiss it is already too late. The alternative is brood management which, given the current levels of persecution, is a completely unacceptable solution. The only real option is for wildlife organisations and the public to get behind the Hen Harrier and force change before it is too late. Progress is being made but will it be in time? For the Harrier's sake I hope so.

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  2. Interesting to note that during the war years when Grouse shooting stopped for a while, the Hen Harrier numbers increased. After the war, when the Grouse were shot again, Hen Harrier numbers began to fall.
    Strange that.

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