"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Marsh Lane NR, Garden Moths and another plea for help for Badgers

B was on holiday last Monday so I finally persuaded him to take advantage of the joint membership and visit Marsh Lane. The weather was dry but cold with a biting wind.

We walked to the most distant hide - Railway Hide initially. The next three photos show 3 views from the hide of Railway Pool - the last photo has Sidden Hill Wood in the distance.

Green Woodpecker, Shelduck, Redshank, Snipe and a pair of Dabchick were among the highlights of the visit. It was fascinating to watch pairs of Shovelers in courtship display with the male and female circling each other round and round.

I got a slightly better, though still very brief glimpse of the mystery mammals seen on the last trip by Oak Hide. In fact I saw two disappearing rapidly down holes under some tree roots next to the feeding station. Feeders are probably the best clue to their identity and I am 99.9% sure having seen the head of one that they are in fact rats.

It was nice to see dandelions starting to flower.

Brian caught a glimpse of an unidentified butterfly by Oak Hide missed by me as I was too busy looking to see if the rats would re-emerge. Although I did spot one Buff-tailed Bumble Bee.

Three new species were seen for the reserve list

Pied Wagtail (record shot!)

Great Spotted Woodpecker and Stock Dove.

Another record shot this time of Lapwing

I'm fast coming even more to the conclusion that the 70-300mm lens is a waste of time at this reserve - the birds are just too far away. I'm still trying to think of a way of justifying the purchase of a bridge camera because I suspect the bird shots would be better.

Anyway, B enjoyed the reserve even though he's not really that interested in ducks, geese and waders so I suspect when we next go together we'll be visiting Sidden Hill Wood as he finds woodland birds far more interesting!!!!

Garden Moths

I've only trapped a few times since the last post on moths mainly because of the colder temperatures and overnight rain. The sessions failed to produce any new species for the year.

Monday 17th March Min temp 5.9

Early Grey x 1
Clouded Drab x1

Wednesday, 19th March Min temp 7.3

Common Quaker x 4

Sunday 23rd March (GMS week 4) Min temp -1.9

Early Grey x 1
Hebrew Character x 1
Clouded Drab x 2
Common Quaker x 1

Clouded Drab


We are still waiting for DEFRA to publish the IEP report into last year's pilot slaughters and for Paterson to make a decision on whether he is going to roll-out the cull. Although according to one of the Sunday newspapers it appears the slaughters will continue in Somerset and Gloucestershire and may also commence in Dorset which is very sad news.

I know many of you are strongly opposed to the unnecessary, cruel and unscientific slaughters and the Wildlife Trusts have started a campaign where you can send a ready prepared email to David Cameron asking him to drop the cull. It only takes a minute to add a few of your personal details and send. Here's the link - sorry still can't get them to work so please just cut and paste


The Humane Society International also has a ready prepared email to send this time to George Eustice and DEFRA telling him that humaneness matters to you. Not sure how this link will turn out as I have had to copy and paste myself! -its too long to remember!!!


The more emails DC and DEFRA receive about this the more they will realise how unpopular their actions are.

Many thanks :)

Also I was sent a link last weekend to a badger video on you-tube of footage shot by Steve Hawkes of the Warwickshire Badger Group. The video has some lovely footage of cubs and is set to a song written and performed by Shirley Higton - be warned though the music is very moving and heartwrenching and you might need a box of tissues! The badgers are filmed at the sett I was privileged to visit last year.



Countryside Tales said...

Thanks for these links, have signed both petitions and will try and get them up on my blog over the weekend too.

Loved the shot of the lapwing. It is hard trying to photograph birds at a distance without a big old heavy lens.

Pete Duxon said...

apparently there are cats with TB and Badgers are to blame!!

Ragged Robin said...

Countryside Tales Thanks so much re: the petitions :) I need to win the lottery so I can upgrade my photography equipment!!! :)

Pete Duxon - Usual scaremongering :( How do they know it was badgers? Most mammals can catch and carry bTB - they could have caught it from anywhere. I wonder if they were on farms? Could have caught it from cows!!!!

Dartford Warbler said...

I have the same trouble with bird photos. Frustrating without the right lens.

I`ll follow the badger links later - thank you.

Ragged Robin said...

Dartford Warbler - Many thanks :) Yes lack of decent lens is frustrating :( Unless the bird is big or very close its hopeless!

SeagullSuzie said...

Many thanks for this post, I have signed both and passed the email links on to friends.
Regarding your lens-yes I had just the same problem and almost bought a 300mm lens, but having read lots of reviews realised it would not be enough, so went for the bridge camera....and am so glad I did. Would you consider a second hand bridge camera? I use a brilliant camera shop in Brixham called Mifsuds.com, they are one of the best shops in the whole South West apparently. My friend just bought one for £89.00 in mint condition.

Wendy said...

I'm glad you had some good sightings of birds on this visit to Marsh Lane - especially the Shovelers' display. I love the Lapwing, too.
I've signed these petitions - I hope (rather than expect) that bombarding Number 10 with the anti-cull message will change things.

Ragged Robin said...

SeagullSuzie - Thanks so much for signing the emails and passing them onto friends.

I'm so pleased to hear how much you like your new camera. Your photos with it are really great :) I've spoken to lots of people recently who are really pleased with the results too - many like us also have dslrs. Thanks for suggestion re: buying second hand - something to consider :) My main problem is justifying buying one!!! OH rarely treats himself which makes it difficult at times if I want to buy something! And a new one is way above our budgets for the average bday or Cmas. The family digital camera is more or less on its last legs - an ancient Fuji so my one and only hope is to suggest buying a bridge camera and then sharing it with everyone else!!! I'll let you know if I ever succeed! Thanks again :)

Wendy Many thanks for signing the petitions. I am not sure whether DC takes any notice of these things - well he probably does know of anti feeling but whether it will make any difference or not is another matter :( But at least we are doing what we can to try and stop.

Its lovely to see so many Lapwings on the reserve - I always remember my grandfather when I was a child showing me one of their nests in a field :)

Chris Rohrer said...

Wonderful sightings of the birds! Very nice.....Lapwings, I have come to the conclusion, are not always the easiest to capture on camera:) So congrats!

As for the cull, I can't believe that this is going on. Ridiculous!

Ragged Robin said...

Chris Rohrer Many thanks for your kind comments :) I've never managed to get a decent lapwing shot :( I didn't realise you got them in America.

Sadly today Govt has announced that although they won't at the moment roll out the cull to other areas (the good news for now!) the bad news is that they are continuing with the pilot culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset even though the Independent Report suggested they were ineffective and inhumane :(