7 Apr 2020

5 Apr 20 - Another Garden Tick #BWKM0

Today the #BWKM0 will have to change to Beewatching Kilometre 0. Just been out into the garden & spotted what a thought was a Tawny Mining Bee. But a quick check of my only photos of the species from my office in Winchester, confirmed it clearly didn't look like it was a Tawny Mining Bee. Time to find the excellent Field Guide to the Bees of Great Britain and Ireland by Steven Falk & Richard Lewington. This came up with Red Mason Bee. This is the commonest Mason Bee in lowland England & Wales. But as I'm still getting used to looking at Bees, then I'm not surprised that it's a Tick.
Red Mason Bee: It's always good to get a UK Tick in the garden
Tawny Mining Bee: For comparison the superficially similar Tawny Mining Bee. Winchester (30 Mar 17)

Check tomorrow to see the next day's wildlife sighting at when I will be confined at #BWKM0.

4 Apr 20 - The Lodgers From Last Year Are Still Here #BWKM0

I was talking to my fairly new neighbour last Spring when he mentioned, he had seen a large swarm of Honey Bees on the wall of his house a couple of days earlier. Given he has a relatively new house, probably 30 years old, I suggested that they were more likely to end up finding a home on my much older house. My house is a part of an ex-barn that is well over 200 years old. A couple of days later, on a warm, sunny afternoon, they found the wall of my house. For an hour or so that afternoon, there were a few thousand Honey Bees around the wall above the kitchen. But fortunately most moved off after that. But clearly a small colony established itself that afternoon. Despite being only a few feet above the kitchen door, it has been a real pleasure having them there. They are happy to go off & pollinate a lot of the local flowers. The nest is even closer to my bedroom. I've found that there isn't a problem opening the windows, providing they are opened sufficiently so if any get confused, they can easily get out again. The colony remained active throughout the milder, sunnier days in the winter & has definitely picked up in the last fewer weeks now it's getting warmer.
The colony: The bonus of having an old wall with gaps where there should be (25 Mar 20)
Unfortunately, there seems to be a few that have ended up getting caught in the recent chilly conditions & once out of the sun, they perish. I've found a few cold Honey Bees, which I've moved back into the sun & some managed to revive.
Western Honey Bee: Sadly, this individual didn't recover, but at least it posed in the sun

Check tomorrow to see the next day's wildlife sighting at when I will be confined at #BWKM0.

6 Apr 2020

3 Apr 20 - Gannet Added To The Lockdown List #BWKM0

After breakfast, I had a quick look out of the bedroom window & noticed that as it was cloudy, there wasn't any of the usual bright glare off the sea. There was time for a quick thirty minute distant seawatch from the house, before I started work. I was hoping that a party of Common Scoter might fly past Peveril Point by Swanage harbour, given the number that had been heard flying at night over various English gardens, in the previous couple of nights. Not surprisingly I failed to see any Ducks of any species in my short watch. However, I did get a Gannet which was a nice addition to the House Year List (no 44). Gannets are annual & the most regular Seabird on the House List, as they are easily seen if I spent some time seawatching when there is an onshore blow. Still it was good to get in on the Lockdown List.
Gannet: At sea off Portugal from the Plancius. In comparison, my individual was identifiable with a scope on 40x (7 May 18)

Check tomorrow to see the next day's wildlife sighting at when I will be confined at #BWKM0.

5 Apr 2020

2 Apr 20 - Two Additions To The Lockdown Bird List #BWKM0

A good day with a flyover Lesser Black-backed Gull: which aren't seen annually over the house. Nearly all the Gulls over my house are the Herring Gulls or Black-headed Gulls. I'm sure Lesser Black-backed Gulls pass through every now & then, but as they don't hang around, most get missed.
Lesser Black-backed Gull: At sea off Portugal from the Plancius (7 May 18)
In addition, I had heard a Song Thrush singing in the distance. I'm pretty sure I had heard one at the start of the Lockdown, but I erred on the side of caution & waiting for another confirmed record. They are a fairly regular species, but sadly they are uncommon locally & erratically seen or heard. The only time I saw them more regularly was when a pair nested in the Clematis above the back door in the early 2000s. Once the youngsters had hatched the family quickly moved on & the status quo of erratic visits restarted.
Song Thrush: Only heard, but I suspect I will see one before the end of the Lockdown. Old Harry (1 Jun 14)
It was good to get a couple of extra Lockdown garden/house Ticks. Check tomorrow to see the next day's wildlife sighting at when I will be confined at #BWKM0.

3 Apr 2020

1 Apr 20 - Always Welcome #BWKM0

One of the great things from this Winter has been an extended party of Long-tailed Tits that have been visiting my feeders. Even better, the feeders are only a meter from the back door, allowing excellent close up views. In the middle of the winter, I would typically see five to eight individuals at a time visiting, with a peak count of ten. Recently, the totals have reduced to two individuals as the flock has presumably broken up to set up breeding territories.

Long-tailed Tit: Taken through the back door window. The frame helps to defeat the Grey Squirrel which was raiding the feeders last Autumn (26 Dec 19)

Check tomorrow to see the next day's wildlife sighting at when I will be confined at #BWKM0.

2 Apr 2020

31 Mar 20 - Outstaying Your Welcome #BWKM0

When I returned from work one evening at the end of Sep 19, I found a small Micro Moth in the house. I didn't look at it too closely & mistook it for a Brown House-moth. It was quickly potted & released outside. Over the next few days, I caught a couple of more individuals & looking at them properly, I realised they were Indian Meal Moths. This looks to be a fairly common introduced Moth, but one I hadn't seen before. Like the first they were quickly caught & released outside. By mid Oct, they had stopped appearing & I though the problem was resolved. Then a few weeks later, I came home & found a number of thin, pale yellowish caterpillars walking up the kitchen wall. They also were released outside. But I wasn't surprised when I started seeing adults again in the kitchen in early Nov. Since that time, I been catching & release both caterpillars & adults in low numbers. They had clearly arrived in some of the Bird seed I had bought & the adults were relaying eggs back into the seed. I've subsequently had to buy large plastic boxes for all the seed, but both caterpillars & adults are remarkably good at squeezing through the smallest gaps where the lids are not a 100% tight fit.
Indian Meal Moth: I guess having the odd one still being caught gives me another attempt to get a better photo (2 Oct 19)
I'm hoping that I am finally close to the end of this problem, as they have clearly outstayed their welcome, having released around 300 adults, plus a lot of caterpillars.

Check tomorrow to see the next day's wildlife sighting at when I will be confined at #BWKM0.

1 Apr 2020

30 Mar 20 - Visitors Run Through The Manor #BWKM0

I regularly, but erratically, see Roe Deer from the house as already discussed in a previous #BWKM0 Post. They are easily my favour UK Deer & one of the two native species. During the afternoon, I saw three Deer run through the field next to my house, but they were female Sika Deer: this was clearly the wildlife highlight of the day.
Sika Deer: Female in evening summer light. Middlebere (25 May 14)
Any visitors to Poole Harbour will be very familiar with introduced Sika Deer. They are the common Deer species in the wider Poole Harbour basin, including Wareham Forest & Purbeck. I've often seen them in small numbers to the South of the Corfe ridge in the last couple of decades, but they aren't as common as they are North of the ridge. But it is only in the last couple of years that I have seen them from the house: this is only my sixth record. All the records were of them moving through the field, rather than feeding or resting in the field: which are the most likely activities with the local Roe Deer.
Sika Deer: The larger & bulkier structure, white arse & longer tail are all features for Sika Deer. Even these growing antlers are already longer than a male Roe Deer, which only have a single antler with a couple of close prongs on it. East Lulworth (6 Jun 14)
Roe Deer: Ballard Down. Male. These antlers are about as long as they get (31 Aug 10)
In Mar 19, I was watching a couple of female Roe Deer feeding in the field, when five Sika Deer appeared. One of the Roe Deer individuals calmly carried on feeding. But the other became very agitated & jumped around quite a bit, before moving to one side to let the Sika Deer pass. She quickly settled down after they had gone. I think it's the first time I've seen the two species together & it clearly spooked the second individual.
Sika Deer: A mature male. Greenlands Farm (11 Sep 16)
Check tomorrow to see the next day's wildlife sighting at when I will be confined at #BWKM0.