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Peter Jones
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Wildlife watcher and photographer living in Hampshire, England
Wildlife watcher and photographer living in Hampshire, England

57 followers
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Singing Melodious Warbler on the Ile D'Oleron. Took a while to become familiar with the song. Was thinking Sedge Warbler initially, until I saw one. As the week went on, I realized they were quite numerous in the area. This one showed well, but distantly, and the grass was too long to use the ground as a steadier rest, thus the shake.

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Often you don't see the beast.. but you know it was there. A Badger's latrine, in Wiltshire
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An aged Giant Puffball, found recently in Wiltshire
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Return to moth trapping!

Moths have taken a back seat in the last few years, but modern LEDs have given me renewed enthusiasm. Especially if there is a chance of a lightweight, portable solution enabling me to go further afield than the garden.

I bought a small book on building your own trap, which was useful for the electronics, but I couldn't get a UV bulb compatible with the design ( I did trap 3 moths with this method and a purple LED). Fortunately, I have now found a good supplier of UV LEDs (Future Eden), and my prototype suspended over my existing "Skinner trap" worked well on it's first evening. Despite the batteries running out in the early hours, the mornings results were more encouraging with a dozen or so moths. Also throughout the evening, you could see insect activity near the bulbs, which is a good sign.

So my next step will be to replace the heavy wooden box with a lighter design, make it all a bit more robust and showerproof, then think about taking it to different habitats in the local area. I am also tempted to double up on the bulbs.. the components all pretty cheap to buy.

I should clarify, that all the moths caught are safely released the following morning.
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Plenty of mini-beasts on a recent holiday in France!
Visited the ile D'Oleron in France for a family holiday. A lovely island on the west coast of France connected to the mainland by a fairly impressive bridge. The habitat on the island is dominated by ditches, canals and man-made ponds, quite unlike anywhere I have ever been in Europe, perhaps reminiscent of Israeli fishponds, and the wildlife was pretty cool.

One highlight on the journey down was a brief glimpse of a Polecat in the headlights, plus a couple of Black Kites.

The island was far enough South to have some nice birds including Short-toed Eagle, Hoopoe, and Night Heron. Melodious Warblers were numerous, and Scops Owl was heard most nights.

The commonest birds on the Island were Serin, Black Redstart, Cattle and Little Egret, Nightingale, and Marsh Harrier. Cirl Bunting and Short-toed treecreeper being the other highlights.

Best of the dragonflies and damsels were:

Southern Emerald Damselfly,
Scarce Emerald Damselfly
Dainty Damselfly
Southern Migrant Hawker
Scarlet Darter, and Red-Veined Darter

plus Black-tailed Skimmer, Emperor, and 4-spotted Chaser.

Both Marsh and Edible Frog were seen on one small ditch, and Common Wall Lizard were present on the campsite.

Fragrant Orchid, Lizard Orchid and Bee Orchid were found around the campsite. The only disappointment was the Butterlfies though numerous didn't seem to have any big surprises. Glanville's Fritillary the highlight.


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Visited the ile D'Oleron in France for a family holiday. A lovely island on the west coast of France connected to the mainland by a fairly impressive bridge. The habitat on the island is dominated by ditches, canals and man-made ponds, quite unlike anywhere I have ever been in Europe, perhaps reminiscent of Israeli fishponds, and the wildlife was pretty cool.

One highlight on the journey down was a brief glimpse of a Polecat in the headlights, plus a couple of Black Kites.

The island was far enough South to have some nice birds including Short-toed Eagle, Hoopoe, and Night Heron. Melodious Warblers were numerous, and Scops Owl was heard most nights.

The commonest birds on the Island were Serin, Turtle Dove, Black Redstart, Cattle and Little Egret, Nightingale, and Marsh Harrier. Cirl Bunting and Short-toed treecreeper being the other highlights.

Best of the dragonflies and damsels were:

Southern Emerald Damselfly,
Scarce Emerald Damselfly
Dainty Damselfly
Southern Migrant Hawker
Scarlet Darter, and Red-Veined Darter

plus Black-tailed Skimmer, Emperor, and 4-spotted Chaser.

Both Marsh and Edible Frog were seen on one small ditch, and Common Wall Lizard were present on the campsite.
Pyramidal Orchid, Lizard Orchid and Bee Orchid were found around the campsite. The only disappointment was the Butterflies though numerous didn't seem to have any big surprises. Glanville's Fritillary the highlight.


No photos sadly, but a birdwatching weekend at RSPB Minsmere was memorable for two mini-beast sightings..
A walk thru Dunwich Heath got me my first UK Adder. Seen in slightly bizarre circumstances, as I looked up a side track then turned round to see it on the path about a metre behind me. It was a very dark Adder, and scuttled into the base of a birch tree. I staked it out for a while but didn't see any further sign. Nor did I see any others in the vicinity.

Then, at the pond at Minsmere hoping for a Water Shrew, I was lucky enough to see a Water Vole swim out from under the boardwalk, giving excellent views before returning to cover. Water Shrew is probably my most-wanted now!

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A brief recording of a singing Firecrest at Chilworth. One of my favourite bird songs, and they seem to be spreading fast across the County. I know of up to 12 territories in a 2 mile radius of my house this year. 

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Chilworth Conservation area seems like a nice, often overlooked area. I had a good walk around over the weekend, hoping to find Adder which is mentioned on all the information boards.. "BEWARE Adders!" but I have yet to find one.

Stock Doves were a nice bonus, presumably nesting in the woodland fringe, and at least 4 Firecrest territories was another sign of how this species is expanding. A walk around Chilworth Golf Course now would get you at least 8 Firecrests (if you had extremely good hearing!)

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Singing Lesser Whitethroat (Audio only, unless you have incredibly good eyesight!)
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