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Wookey Hole Wildlife Blog for September. Les Cloutman
Hope you all enjoyed the summer break.
Global warming? Possibly but we seem to be getting more of the Hawk Moth family each year. Did you know we have elephants in our village – well OK the Elephant Hawk Moths, and their caterpillars.
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The caterpillars feed on willow herb so are quite likely to turn up in your garden (the above were in my garden this year).
When fully grown the caterpillar will crawl about looking for loose soil to burrow into to change into a chrysalis and wait for the next spring.
If feels threatened it will rear up and pretend to be a snake. Hopefully fooling the bird or other predator into  leaving it  alone.
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Although this summer  presented us with a mixed bag of weather, August was good enough for our local farmers to bring in good harvest.  Unfortunately one creature you won’t in the harvest fields is the Harvest Mouse. Modern harvest methods and machines eliminated them from the fields long ago – we do still have harvest mice locally, although they are now confined to areas of long grass and reed beds.  They are the smallest of our mice and acrobatically climb and nest among the reeds and grasses on the Priddy Mineries reserve.  If you are lucky you will find their perfectly woven cricket ball sized nests. Large fires started by careless people using those horrible ‘instant BBQs’ devastated the Mineries last the spring  and many harvest mice and other creatures  must have died, but the site is large enough, hopefully,  for mice to repopulate the regrown  areas next year.
Les C     This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 

June is a very busy month for our wildlife and after such a cold slow start to the year everything is happening at once.

I had planned to mention all our fabulous flowers and wildlife and the glories of our wildlife Spring – instead  a small common bird just won’t let me ignore it!.


In praise of our Little Brown Butterflies
Maybe there are not as many as we oldies remember but there are still lots of
butterflies in our countryside – some even visiting  our gardens.
Some like the peacock and red admiral are as beautiful and showy as their names suggest  but  ‘brown’ butterflies at first glance look very uninteresting  but take a closer look!
The ones you are most likely to see
 

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Meadow Brown  Ringlet
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Gatekeeper Small heath

 


August is school holiday time – make it a wild month!
There is so much wildlife to see and things to do in Somerset.
With the Somerset Wildlife Trust (SWT) you can go to some of the very best parts. 
Our local Wells Wildlife Group will be meeting at the Bishops Palace Moat (By the drawbridge)at 8.00pm on Tuesday  the 23rd Aug joining  bat experts with bat detectors. Other years we have seen- and heard-  up to seven different  species including dozens of Daubenton’s bats flying out from the drawbridge  chains to skim low over the moat hunting for insects, tiny Pipistrelles ,  and nationally rare  Greater Horseshoes who come out from caves on the Mendips.
For more information on this walk contact Amanda Millar 01458 741821 or David Coggan 01749 673155

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It is fairly  easy walking but be aware that we will finish well after dark,  and it can get quite cool - even in summer.
Oh and bring an adult along -   why should you have all the fun!
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Natterer's Bat Nigel Milbourn  2011

There are events and organised walks on almost every day of the month
– just check out the SWT website: http://www.somersetwildlife.org/events.html

Les Cloutman      This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 


1. Birds of the month the house martins,swallows, and now the swifts!
pic1.png These amazing birds spend nearly their whole life on the wing and have now returned from southern Africa to scream round our church spires – it is little wonder a more religious age called them  ‘the devils birds’ !
2. Flower of the month:
The bluebell. Many of our small woods are now  a glorious haze of blue. The wild blue bell ( much more elegant than the garden Spanish’ bluebell) pic2.png
is a truly British flower,  thanks the warm wet winds  we receive from the Atlantic west!   It is absent from the dryer colder continent.
3.Mammal of the month:
Badgers; pic3.png
This is the month when cubs emerge above ground for the first time and if you are lucky enough to see them playing in the evening near their set it is one of the highlights of the natural year.
4. Insect of the month: the Orange Tip butterfly, pic4.png they can now be seen along our country lanes looking for ‘Jack by the Hedge’ to to lay its eggs and start a new generation. The ‘orange tips’ are only on the male, the female look  much more like a cabbage white - till she closes her wings and you see the lovely damask patterned under wings.
 
Les C
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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