June 27, 2016

Corncrake, Linnet and Mosquitoes

June has been a bumper month for finding new and old friends.  Many of the visitors have had their broods and are already feeding up for their very long journey back to long distant lands.  The Swifts stay only  a few weeks before setting off back to Africa in family groups.  Resident birds are now into their second broods  but our unfortunate Blue tits decided not too.

It is wonderful to hear the songbirds singing again such as the Thrush, Blackbird, Wren and Dunnock, as the last few weeks have been so silent with increasingly exhausted parents having to  feed their young.

At  Ness Botanic  Gardens I saw my first ever RSPB red status bird, the Linnet.  Red status because they have been  in massive decline.  The excitement at taking this photograph is far more memorable than coming out of the EU.

Another red status bird is the Corncrake which again I had never seen but heard, but was fortunate to see one at Simonswood Moss when undertaking a follow up survey.  It was running a few feet ahead of the landrover but as soon as I got out to take a photo it disappeared into the undergrowth.  Will try again next time.

We do have a Tree Bee nest in the eaves this year.  Last year they settled in  the bird box, but the box was occupied by the tits this time.  The bees do not cause any bother and ignore us completely when we are in the garden. The male bees do not live long maybe only 3 weeks, so there are many corpses around under the nest. Last years queen will be replaced by a  new queen from this years brood who will take over the cycle for next year.


July is the month for full-time wildflower spotting as the the meadows come into full bloom.  It is also the time when all the insect larvae hatch into biting insects.  Unfortunately this seems to be a good year for them.  

I was stung by a bee recently and the first cream I put my hands on was a cream used for mouth ulcers.  It was truly amazing, the pain went as fast as it came and  the swelling went down within 15 mins.  I wonder if the company know about this additional beneficial side affect.

Juvenile Goldfinch
It is fashionable for the growing of wildflower plots and meadows for the benefit of the bee population, but there is a serious knock on affect for ground nesting birds such as the Corncrake, Oyster catcher, Lapwing and Skylark.  Undisturbed grassland is just what they need to breed safely, so we may see some birds come off the red list over the next few years.