The orchids locally are fabulous this year but some are missing / poor show [possibly down to not being able to build reserves in last years terrible weather?] Maize sown opposite 9th/10th - lots of machine activity since. Often exceptionally quiet at night.
Again Corncrake call from over road - more than three times on this occasion [about five minutes in all] Sounded from almost due south [right hand end of wood] This is in line with the 'waste' area near Etableau. Heard nightjar also over our meadow.
13th & 14th
2 pairs of Red-legged Partridge regularly in field opposite - feel like offering the males a 'jump-start' as they always seem to sound like a car/bike having difficulty getting going.
Using the 'Birds of the Western Palearctic' DVDs from Birdguides we've at last managed to identify the odd wader-like call we've been hearing on a number of visits - it is the 'night' display of the Stone Curlew - again usually to the right of directly opposite which would put it over towards Etableau again. [Near to where we saw a pair on the walk of 15/5/05]
While our prairie was being mowed, Montague's Harrier [♂] came down and quartered the cut area, unafraid of the machine. Three Hares in the maize field today. Saw Cuckoo flying over. Weather terrible.
Weather much better. Good orage [storm] late PM. Montagues [male and later female] present all day. Also a pair of Hobby came over. Saw male Monty do a food pass to the female. Lots of activity now the grass in the meadow is short!! Poor voles but that's life [or death?]. Late PM, just as it was getting dark picked up a pair of Stone Curlews at ditch on the right hand side of the maize field. [gathering power of the Kowa's 70mm objective is very good late evening and in other poor light situations]. Also saw a deer [too big to be a Roe - book say Sika!] going across top of field and into the wood.
Stone Curlew pair with chick. Toddled over to its parent and snuggled under wing. Later: Snipe drumming from direction of road bridge. Noticed Tassle Hyacinth [Muscari canosum] on far bank of bief next to the tree nursery area.
Birds in the immediate locality this trip::
Blackcap [singing very loudly all day from the spruces],
Goldfinches [two nesting in Buddleia just outside bedroom window],
Grey Wagtail [seen by neighbour's etang],
Chaffinch [two females visited by very handsome male - Pauline saw it fly off towards wood - more girls?],
Cuckoos [only seen the once flying over but , heard calling continuously - at least two!],
Collared Dove [flew towards Bezzuard from barn area],
Wood pigeons in maize field,
two Herons round Richard's etang three days running,
notable absence of owls [all three types],
Bodie the Buzzard regularly chased away from the woods opposite [his woods] by the nesting crows - forced him down into the field on one occasion!!
What's this "west 40" thing, anyway? - When I talk about cutting the grass, I often refer to sections of the yard as the north, south, or west 40. Some of you, especially those who aren't Americ...