Spring migrants are again winging their way across Britain. this year my first swallow was seen on April 8, usually it is a few days earlier. my first willow warbler singing was April 1. chiff chaff was March 18. sadly lots of migrants have been shot whilst migrating across the Mediterranean islands, a vote to keep it going was obviously corrupted. If the slaughter continues then we will see less and less birds here and everywhere as a result. Cyprus, Malta and Corfu are some of the worse offenders. It is mainly illegal but the law is not enforced, so most people get away with it.All bird species are shot from hides or trapped using lime,nets,singing male birds, drugged or poisoned baits. There are a number of on-line petitions which anyone can sign for there is a huge number of other important topics. Petitions work,I sign hundreds every year, you could too. They are all easy to find and once you sign up for one, they all just come in , but it is seriously good stuff.It is about trying to save nature.
the picture above, is of red kites in Dorset, not migrants but residents. Many people still seem to think that we do not have resident red Kites in the county but we do. And a few are breeding. These are from mid Dorset.
This ground beetle,(Agonum) genus has over twenty similar species. this specimen was on a dead fox, possibly hunting for flies or other invertebrates attracted by the carrion smell.
Tall vantage points are essential. for small birds that advertise their presence by song. meadow pipits sing whilst flying and put on a great show now as they display to females. Dartford warblers and stonechats also need these advantage posts but unfortunately the Eco fascists , those who think they know how to preserve the heath, cut them all down as they think that all the shrubs and bushes should be low to the ground. This is wrong as most birds that are forced to nest low to the ground are predated on by snakes, foxes or stoats. In reality one should leave gorse at different heights, but with the majority lower to the ground to bush out and thicken, but leaving many straggly old gorse also and many more in-between. The pipit was replaced by the stonechat, as they both competed over the only taller gorse in the area.the birds need to through their voices out to the females and other males, without them they may not function properly,and breeding will be down.
The Jack snipe is hiding in a patch of burned heath, intoxicated by fumes it was unable to fly for a long time. It fly off later after the skies cleared of smoke.
A female adder emerges from a sea of darkness. Unless she is rescued and moved to unburned suitable habitat she will be easy game for a hunting buzzard,crows or magpies. If she stays then she will not feed as the small mammals have been burned or will die also from lack of food.I moved her away along with other reptiles. The day town common burned down two weeks ago was horrible. One of my favourite wildlife spots
A birds nest and contents destroyed.
this is what the scene looked like afterwards
And dead reptiles such as this adder succumbed. A great many people helped in re-locating reptiles and the fire brigade put the fire out before it hit houses.
One adder sloughed its skin, the first completely whole skin,undamaged that i have found. the individual responsible was nowhere to be seen.