Monday, 22 June 2015

Pictures speak a thousand words...

It’s been a long time since I wrote on the blog and I can only contribute this to the sheer tidal wave of work and wildlife that engulfs us as we rush headlong through early summer. Since my last post, our sites have exploded into riotous displays of colour and life as the wild flowers erupt, the birds warble all day long and the butterflies and damselflies ripple up in your wake, in a shimmering cloud burst of vibrancy.
Even now, I barely have time to write a proper post so I am afraid, it is going to be a photo frenzy of all the fantastic wildlife I have been privileged enough to see over the last month or so.  Night jar walks, Glow worm surveys, Bat evenings, guided walks, badger watching, butterfly hunts, the first of our annual weed cuts on the river, dormouse surveys and of course the rest of the day job have all conspired to keep me from my laptop for any length of time...but when the sun is shining and summer is here, where else could you possibly want to be but throwing yourself headlong into the stunning English countryside?

So take a put on some good music, take a peek through the pictures and get a taste for just how fabulously full of life our countryside is right now – I can never get enough of it at this time of year.

Last year we began coppicing the derelict coppice in Oakley - the ground flora that came back this year is mindblowing - Red Campion, Spurge, Bluebells,!

Female Duke of Burgundy - they have done brilliantly on Stockbridge Down this year, in the area we had coppiced in winter.

Male of the Swollen Thigh Beetle...named for obvious reasons!

May and June can only mean the first booze making of the year...Elderflower champagne anyone?

Summer sunsets

The jackdaws in the staff carpark taking their first hop out into the New World...and looking rather baffled about it.

A great badger watching evening - a family of five, including two chubby cubs.

The swan family making the most of the weed rafts

The Rectory beat looking superb in the sun

Damselflies everywhere....

Including this Southern Damselfly which took a rest on my hand.

Snuffling podgy hedgehogs on our front lawn.

A glow worm survey on Stockbridge Down - spot the tiny green glow of the female's bum?
Female glow worm complete with 3 males trying to mate with her.  Once the lucky winner completes his task, she will turn her light out, lay her eggs and die.

Fox cub hanging by her den
Helping Neil push weed down the river Dun during the June weed cut....then we hit the Big blockage...

And after that, we hit the even Bigger Blockage!  12 hours after we began, we finally got it all shifted...

To see how we got through this blockage, check out the video link:  

I have been having fun setting up wildlife camera traps across our estate - this one features chubby Otters.

Sickenly sweet torpid dormouse on a survey - not at Mottisfont unfortunately.  Clutching his leafy teddy bear! Picture credit: S.Stileman
And of course, June at Mottisfont means the Rose garden is in full bloom and looking tremendous.