Today I have been to Wiltshire to look at and survey an estate that just a few years ago was an arable desert, the emphases here is trees, however as can be seen in the first picture, there is plenty of open area, which does have some amazing rough grassland margins. I did this same survey a year ago, and today was gobsmacked by the number of Yellowhammer and Corn Bunting, Skylark. As you have probably noticed I really like Yellowhammer, they seem to me so wrapped up in the fact that some experts like to pigeon hole them into only being able to do or live in certain circumstances, yet here they are again, now operating across real rough and wild vegetation. As with the Hammers I found in the forests during the Forestry Commission Long-eared Owl Project, they are in the open yet seemingly doing even better than 1 year ago in the new growth of tree's. Mentioning experts, I was told only this weekend that Yellowhammers will only breed in the hedge and not out in the young tree belt. Sorry this is wrong. In fact as with the FC project here at today's location they were taking insect prey back to their nests which were not only in the hedges but also right out in the new tree growth areas, and breeding very close to the ground level. The moral of this story is that after almost 40 years of doing Natural History I would never surrender to that word EXPERT, because the beauty and excitement of natural history is that every time you go out you are going to learn something new!
If you think you know it all then its time to give up! Yellowhammer what a bird
As you can see I can't get enough of Hammers. I'm told by my friends in the RSPB that if I was introduced to Cirl Buntings I would feel the same about them. OK Its over to you RSPB introduce me. Today's survey was brilliant for Birds and also large numbers of the more common Butterflies. Like Large and Small Skipper, Marbled White (my favourite),Speckled Wood, Ringlet, Large and Small White, Small Copper, even recorded 3 Brimstones obviously part of a second hatch, along with Peacock, Red Admiral Comma and Gatekeeper. Nothing perhaps very special in these species, although I did spend time looking for Wall Butterfly as it was the most perfect habitat for it however I found no Walls today. The point about the common butterflies is not that they were there, more so that they were in such huge number Peacock Butterfly
Comma Butterfly A Bumblebee on Spearhead Thistle
Habitat is the key to all and when we consider our great struggle in wild conservation movement to preseve what is bio-diversity then perhaps we need go back to basics and really look careful at what the more common species need, and for goodness sake stop over complicating all of the issues.
Next up on this blog, Barn Owl Nest checking and this years re habbed Owls.