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Goldcrest Poll Results

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter you may have spotted a little quiz where you got to decide which of the spectrograms below is a real Goldcrest.

Twitter Results

Twitter Results

Facebook Result

Facebook Result

Test ID Sepctogram.jpg

Well, the results were pretty unanimous on both Twitter and Facebook. The majority of people thought that B was the real Goldcrest. Well I’m quite happy with that result, as the answer was in fact A !!!

So far I’m yet to find a Firecrest that’s been able to produce the Goldcrest song with 4 notes per phrase. It’s the last note of each phrase that appears to be the most challenging for the Firecrest.

Firecrest Mimic

I’ll leave you with a picture of a lovely Froglet, one of many covering the woodland flower at the moment that’s plastered with Bluebells. It’s going to be a good season by the looks.

Common Frog Bluebells 28th April.jpg

Beetles and Butterflies

I set out today with the intent to find Oil Beetles. A specialist species that are in major decline across the country. There are a few different species, all of which are pretty rare but the most commonly found is the Violet Oil-beetle, which is the only species I’ve managed to find myself so far. A quick walk around the site and I didn’t spot any, but upon getting back to the car I’d realised I must have dropped my sunglasses…. AGAIN! so I retraced my steps and this time, it turned out to be a good thing, as not only did I re-locate my glasses but I stumbled upon 3 adult female Oil-beetles AND thousands of larvae on their food plant, lesser celandine. These Oil Beetles must have been laying eggs really early this year for there to be so many larvae hatching already. That warm weather in February must have made them come out early as I wouldn’t usually find them out till April in this location. I’ve probably mentioned it before, but the lifestyle of these beetles is incredible. They are what we like to call a ‘symbiotic’ or a more accurate discription would be a parasitic species, which means their life is dependant upon another species. In this beetles case, they are dependant upon the life cycle of solitary mining bee’s, which, as their names suggests, burrow into the ground to make their nest. It’s then the female Oil-beetles job to find those nests and to burrow into them to lay her own eggs inside. When the eggs hatch, her larvae then eat the eggs of the Bee’s and the pollen supplies collected by the bees and once that supply is gone, they latch onto the bee’s like a parasite, for the bee’s to drop them off to the flowers from which the larvae use the bee’s to fly them to new flowers once they’ve exhausted the pollen supplies. This process can happen a few times too, as the bees could take the larvae back to a different nest.
Just incredible! If you’d like to learn more about the other species of Oil Beetle, check out this PDF put together by Buglife.

Other species noted were Gorse Shieldbug, Bronze Shieldbug, Spotted Sedge Caddisfly ( Likely Polycentropus flavomaculatus), Brimstone, Orange-tip, Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies.

I didn’t take any pictures of birds on this trip despite lugging the big lens around but Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Mistle Thrush were the dominant songsters in the woodland. No Pied Flycatchers back in the wood just yet but lots of Badger activity. 

Rainy Day at Wentwood Forest

Spent a dark hour at Wentwood today. Plenty of Crossbill, Redwing, Fieldfare and the odd Brambling within fairly large Chaffinch flocks. I usually time my visits to Wentwood for autumn / winter with the intent to find a Great Grey Shrike. No luck today, so my attention went to the forest floor, where I found lots of Deer Signs, Fungi and autumn colours to keep me happy.

Forest Farm

So the time has come, my time at Aden Productions working on a Iolo Williams Tv Series for BBC has come to an end. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the experience and hope I get more work with them in the future. At-least until I get another Job, my time is my own again, and I what better way to spend it than at Forest Farm Nature Reserve. It really is a wonderful sub-urban nature reserve and as a result, the wildlife there is so used to people. Snipe are regularly feeding out in the open, Goldcrest flitting about the hedgerows and to my surprise, a Male Brambling briefly flew in to join a drinking party alongside the stream. Kingfishers were busy, though I didn’t spend much time with those today. The Snipe really did put on a show, I hope to get them at a better hour and perhaps with some more direct light but still my best shots of Snipe thus far. A Sabre Wasp and Common Carder were the only insects spotted on the wing at Goytre Wharf yesterday. I must admit it was a bit of a shock to see most of the conifer plantation cut down, though the Sabre Wasp was making most of the dead wood to lay her eggs in. I was hoping to see a Wood Wasp, as this is the only site I’ve ever seen them, but I’ll take whatever I can get.

Symonds Yat

Back tracking a little here as this trip happened last Friday as my Brother and I had the rare occasion of having the same day off. I didn't have anything on the photography list really this time, just enjoying the sites, sounds and ecology that the Wye Valley / Forest of Dean has. We saw lots of great things, Silver Washed Fritillaries, Common Lizards (and that was just in the car park). The Peregrines didn't show very well for Yat Rock but they were very vocal. We saw many signs of Wild Boar and Deer on our adventure down an un-used track. 

What do you think this is below? At first I thought, eggs! It has to be right? Perhaps Butterfly eggs? Well, that's what I thought until I did a little bit of googling and turns out they are Fern Spores. I came across a thread where a guy was explaining what they were to someone else with a similar photograph as mine below, the guy replied with this 'you clearly don't know anything about Ferns do you?' haha. Well I don't! they are indeed Fern Spores, this is how the seeds for the plant are spread, The shells burst and the spores catch the wind and can travel very large distances. It all makes sense now why they seemed so perfectly placed underneath the leaves.