The first outdoor meeting of the new season took place at Bockhill yesterday. A total of 15 members enjoyed a pleasant walk round the area, with Jack Chantler and Brendan Ryan leading the walk. Although there were no rare birds to see, there were a good number of migrants on view, including an obliging Tree Pipit, several Spotted Flycatchers, a Wheatear and a Redstart, Swallows and martins were passing through in good numbers and the local Ravens put in a late appearance and there were large numbers of Chiffchaffs in most areas.
As well as the birds it was good to see several Adonis Blue butterflies, the tailed end of the second generation of this chalk loving species. We failed to find any of the Long-tailed Blues that arrived earlier this year. This migrant species is widespread in the northern hemisphere, but seldom reaches Britain. When it does it may breed, but the species, in which ever stage, doesn't manage to survive our winters. Of course global climate change could change this, but judging by our last two winters I don't thinks so ta the moment! They feed on pea species and females were seen laying eggs in August and newly emerged adults have been seen in the last few days.
Evidence of the large number of Chiffchaffs around came back at home, when a succession of birds came down to our "waterfall" in the pond to drink and bath. The soft hweet call could be heard from various areas in the garden meant that there more around than could be seen They remain hidden by the leaves, still thick on the trees, although many more windy periods like last week could see an early shedding.
Most evenings lately we've hosted at least two badgers. Unfortunately there's been quite a bit of friction when the first to arrive become possessive of the plate of peanuts. I solved the problem lat night as I was watching when the second badger arrived. I carefully opened the sliding door and was about to put out a small container of nuts, hoping not to scare them off. Far from this the number two badger virtually took the plastic box out of my hand, so intent was he on getting his share while the first one was still occupied with the usual plate.