A couple of weeks ago Georgina reported a pair of mandarin ducks next to the dew pond at the back of their house; they were only there briefly and flew off when disturbed. These feral birds originating from Eastern Asia have a self-sustaining population in various parts of the UK. They breed locally on the River Wye. I saw a male 2-3 years ago roosting next to a dew pond at the top of the village.
It is good the see the house martins back again using the eaves of the Ballington’s house, opposite the Cock and Pullet pub. They have been back for over a couple of weeks now, numbers appear to be down nationally this year, I will have to go out and count ours soon. They really are fantastic to watch swooping in and out of their nests; they make a real wildlife centre piece in the village!
What else has been going on… well I found a very small smooth newt under a stone by my back door the other day (see the picture below).
There were two blackcaps and a willow warbler singing at the top of the dale on Sunday (2nd June) morning, nearby a yellowhammer was sat on the wall, this was the first one I have seen down there, usually they can be found along Dirtlow road in the hedgerows.
The camera trap project is still underway, but with limited results so far, we recorded a wood mouse the other night. I will post the video later.
I put the moth trap out again on Sunday (2nd June) night, perhaps not in ideal conditions, but disappointingly with zero moths caught! However, there was one thing in the trap… a rather marvellous common cockchafer Melolontha melolontha!