As Wild June slipped away, it did so with a bang as the Wimbledon season brought out the British thunderstorms and the hopes and dreams of my gutter nesting collared doves were swept away despite a couple of days valiantly incubating their eggs in a small river.
Just before the rains really came down I drifted West of the village to my WEBS site to check on the progress of the common tern colony. The walk down to the lake was full of bird and insect life albeit that as the nesting season is in full swing and the birds have quietened down. Lesser whitethroats and chiffchaffs and a couple of garden warblers were typically still singing. There were butterflies and dragonflies blowing through but only the couple below stopped for a photo.
When I finally reached my vantage point over the tern colony the sunshine was disappearing fast. Since my last visit the chicks had hatched and the first pair of youngsters were slightly fluffy versions of their parents with others ranging in various fluff ball sizes. In total there were 9 youngsters with seven adults clearly brooding others and a few black-headed gulls with young to keep them company.
Whilst I was watching the rain came down and the fluffy chicks all attempted to hide under each other whilst the grown ups stuck their heads up in what I assumed was the most comfortable pose for heavy rain. I spent some time waiting for the rain to stop and counted 220 greylag geese and smaller numbers of Egyptian and canada geese as well as the other wildfowl, mallards, tufted duck, mute swans, coots and great crested grebes along with 4 little egrets and a lone cormorant.
As I fled the rain I wished goodbye to my new trail cam left strapped to a tree in between the lake and the river. I returned a few days later to see what had been going on in my absence. The following videos are the highlights and a glimpse into the wild world which would otherwise be unseen. My new Trail cam is the Xikezan Wildlife camera and coming in at below £60 is relatively successful for the price although it is suited to monitoring trails at a bit of a distance and struggles with close ups.
The first video is of some of the locals with their creche. These Canada Geese are clearly spooked by something before calm is maintained. It wasn’t long before we find out what and keep watching this one as there is a very fortunate pheasant who steals the later part of the video after Cunning Mr fox’s exit stage right with a young Canada gosling.
The next video is the most prolific locals, in this case a couple caught at night. These muntjac deer clearly enjoy the fresh grass post rainfall. The trailcam appears very poor in terms of audio but you can pick up the background passing cars.
The muntjacs don’t get it all their own way however and as well as foxes they also have to dodge protective Roe Deer Mothers who sees them off in the next clip.
And if you like myself was wondering what was going on to make mum so protective the next video will reveal all.
On my return trip to collect the camera I did a quick head count and the terns now had 10 obvious chicks and the parents were coming in to feed them. I struggled with identifying their meals until a parent bird arrived with a large goldfish which was eaten hungrily, so watch out pond owners. I have deployed the camera again this week hoping to catch otters, kingfishers and little egrets but was disappointed there was nothing about when I set it up. ut on my return drive home I passed Marlingford Mill and myself and my eight year old assistant caught sight of three young otters scuttling across the road. Magic.