Wild @ Rivers - July 2017

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Diary Entry by Charmaine Cooper

Marbled White

After a cool start the sun’s warmth begins to entice Butterflies out. Brimstones and Ringlets are the first to appear in the orchard’s meadow. The heat has encouraged the Crickets to start singing in the depth of the long grass. Marbled White Butterflies are still on the wing and this year the meadow and the orchard have seen an increase in numbers from several last year to a very large population this year. They are a beautiful sight as they flutter over the grasses seeking their favourite coloured food, Knapweed. The Knapweed has also been spectacular this year and has covered most of the meadow. It is also in the orchard and scrub.

A Spider's Victim

The Blackberry bushes that edge the orchard are a haven for predatory Spiders that wait to pounce on the unsuspecting Butterfly that seeks the nectar from the flowers of the Bramble. In a web suspended from the Bramble leaves hang the desiccated remains of a Ringlet Butterfly.


The orchard is visited by several Meadow Browns and Gatekeeper Butterflies that flutter over the Scabious flowers before settling to feed amongst the tightly packed purple flower heads. Even here the Marbled White Butterfly can be found darting from Scabious to Knapweed seeking nectar. Late afternoon and Rabbits forage along the orchard’s footpaths. It is so peaceful in the warm sunshine that a Muntjac has ventured out to browse with the Rabbits. This small Deer senses danger and lifts its head and stares. It knows it is being watched and with a gentle snort turns and runs for cover, the white underside of its tail flicking as it slips into the hedge scattering Rabbits.

Jersey Tiger Moth

A Green Woodpecker is startled from the old Cherry tree in the meadow, its flashy green and yellow wings are highlighted by the sunshine as its noisy yaffle call echoes across the meadow. Resting along the scrub edge of the meadow is a Jersey Tiger Moth. This colourful moth is increasing in distribution. A Grey Squirrel peacefully forages under the Beech hedge. The Crickets are again singing in the meadow as high above the melancholic call of Buzzards pierces the sky. Two adult Buzzards are calling to two juvenile birds that are twisting and tumbling in play as the parent birds circle. It is a magnificent sight. Eventually the two juveniles drift towards the adult birds and using the thermals the Buzzards climb higher and become specks in the blue sky.


Funnel Web Spider

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