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!!
Basil - Basil is one of the more difficult herbs to grow where we live. It's just not warm enough for it to grow well out in the garden. Some years we've had a goo...