A badger cub & painted lady in pollinator paradise!

Yew View looked simply stunning in the sunshine this week. Everything is bursting into flower and it is, quite literally, a pollinator’s paradise! The wild flower meadow we planted last year is looking amazing and it is full of insects.

The lower areas of the garden had big swathes that are just mowed and trimmed a couple of times a year. The buttercups were resplendent!

The insect life is increasing greatly on the wildlife pools and the pied wagtails were taking advantage, hopping amongst the foliage, plucking of food to feed their hungry chicks which are now out and about in the garden. I had a brief view of one dragonfly that I think was a broad-bodied chaser, but it is damselflies that are abundant at the moment. There are lots of the large red damselfly..

and also the Azure damselfly .. an iridescent flash of blue in the May sunshine.. simply stunning!

In amongst the amazing number of flowers that are already in bloom, was a single painted lady butterfly. Highly mobile and very skittish, this individual rarely stopped for more than a few seconds. Favouring the nepeta, it looked just stunning and I was determined to get some shots of it. I followed it around the area, creeping up on it as soon as it settled. I used the 100-400 Mrk 11 lens on my Canon 7DII and it is brilliant as it will focus as close as 70cm, giving me a chance to get some shots I  was pleased with!

Of course, I was keen to see if the owlet pair were still around…. and they were! Virtually in the same position they were in last week, they lifted an eyebrow to stare down at me as I struggled through the brambles and nettles to try to get a clear view of them through the increasing density of foliage! They look extremely well and DJ informed me that they are very noisy at night and appeared to be coming down to the ground… possibly practising their hunting skills! Their wing feathers are clearly visible now, but they still have a lot of owlet down to mount out!

Rooting around under the trees where they sit, I was delighted to find a number of owl pellets. I have not dissected them yet, but they certainly seemed to have eaten some cockchafer beetles as there were, what appeared to be, cockchafer legs in these pellets!

I also received a message this week to say that a hummingbird hawk moth had been taking advantage of the rich nectar source.. I hope that hangs around long enough for me to see it next week!

The badgers are still using our camera sett and, this week, we had the first view of one of this year’s cubs. Just  single cub was about on site and came to the camera badger sett with its mother. Slobbering all over the camera dome did not make for the best of footage, but we had some lovely clips of it being groomed by the female and them attempting to suckle from her. This cub is pretty large now. They are born usually around February, so this little guy is possibly around 4-5 months old now. Great to see it coming to our chamber and all this activity bodes well for the winter and next year!

We also got a couple of clips from the otter site. They are still just making weekly visits to spraint here and are not using the holt at all, sadly.

I am starting to do some more research about otter holts. My aim is to create something with  camera inside, but the challenge is to cope with the large river fluctuations and to create something that would be as flood proof as possible….. not an easy feat!… but not impossible… so watch this space!