Friday, 26 June 2015

30 Days Wild - Days 22 to 26 - Bee Orchids and Fledging House Martins

For this run of days through the working week, I expected a quiet run of everyday nature spotting. It started that way, but after dutifully noting snails and foxes, all I can say is "That escalated quickly."

Monday, 22nd June

Who knew that common garden snails were this colourful in the rain?

Deep colours and intricate patterns on snail shells.
Tuesday, 23rd June

Looking out of the train window on the way to Birmingham, I noticed that haymaking has started. Just a couple of days after the solstice it feels like the year is turning. As I was gazing at ripening wheat, there was a roe deer up to it's chestnut coloured back in the crop. A few miles on, just before Hever, a fox nimbly scaled a steep bank. On the other side of the track, as the train was pulling into South Croydon, I saw another nosing round the trackside brambles.

Once in Trinity Park business park, I momentarily startled a bunny, which soon went back to the important business of eating the local greenery.

After, I checked into the Arden hotel I was pleased to get a room with a good view of the house martins nest I photographed a couple of weeks ago. I was happy to see that they were still visiting the nest. Before I headed down to dinner, I was treated to a fabulous flying display by these incredible little birds.

Wednesday, 24th June

I left the hotel early, intending to walk round the area for a bit and glanced rather casually at a piece of waste ground in the business park where I work. I was stunned by what I saw. 

Bee orchids in Trinity Business Park, in sight of Birmingham NEC.
There were 14 lovely flower spikes. I may spend much of my life in Sussex, looking at the local nature reserves and other beauty spots but I have never seen bee orchids before. At lunch time, I took some colleagues out to see them.

In the evening, I went exploring. The footpath I had intended to follow was trapped between high security fences and rather too intimidating to tackle by myself. Instead, I meandered along some of the cycle/walkways by the main roads. As I was coming back I surprised an adorable family of young bunnies and just managed to get a photo on my phone as they hid under a privet bush. 

Family of rabbits hiding in bushes, just below flyover.
As I passed the tunnel that leads to the NEC's Genting arena, a colourful pair of bullfinches caught my eye. Approaching the disused ground in Trinity Park, I alarmed a green woodpecker, which shot into the trees between the empty area and the Arden Hotel. When I say empty, I really mean full of wild plants and inhabited by a family of rabbits.  I looked across hoping to see them. There were a couple of good-sized bunnies but, even better, there were dozens more orchids, taking the number of flower spikes up to 50.
Detail of a bee orchid.
After the important business of dinner, I flopped back into my room and watched the house martins flying in the fading evening light.

Clouds in fading, evening light.
Thursday, 25 June

It was before seven when I checked what 'my' house martins were doing. There seemed to be a small group of birds going between the nest and the main group, which was now about 10 birds strong. My house martins had fledged! I breakfasted and checked out as quickly as I could and spent some time watching and photographing the birds.

3 house martins close to the nest.
I was a bit puzzled about what was happening. There was clearly a bird still in the nest - you could just see a head looking out. But who were the other birds? Were they prospective mates? Birds wanting to take over the nearly empty nest? 

A "House Martin Diary" BTO newsletter from 2011 explained what was going on. "First group ... has fledged today, taking short flights in and out of nests ... [A few days later, after bad weather] the recent fledglings have remained secure in their nests relying on parents to continue feeding them."

So that was the answer, the young birds had fledged but were still using the nest as a base.

Friday, 26 June

First thing in the morning after getting home, I had to get a young magpie out of the conservatory. Third time in a couple of weeks. This is getting silly

Finally, to round off the working week, a sunny display of birds-foot-trefoil from a no mow area of our - ahem - lawn.


No comments:

Post a Comment