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.
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.
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.