Another week in the ditch.

On Saturday we collected our trail cameras which had been out in the ditch in our local area for a week. The first part of the film shows how wet it had been with a good amount of water filling the ditch giving a Robin and Blue tit a chance to take a bath (note the passing dragonfly which the Robin takes an interest in).There are 2 different foxes one with a white tail tip and one without. Again the trail cameras is spotted by one of the foxes and the Roe Buck.

Walking back after collecting the cameras fungi are now appearing in good numbers.

Waxy Caps – One of the major lineages of gilled mushrooms these mushrooms are almost impossible to tell which one of the group they are by sight.

Parasol mushroom These are a fungi with a  large, prominent fruiting body resembling a parasol. It is a fairly common species they are often found in groups and fairy rings in pastures and occasionally in woodland. 

Killing fields.

Sunday’s regular walk is a short stroll to collect mine and my brothers trail camera’s which have be recording for the week. On the way a few Roe Deer were watching us approach.

This weeks footage records a fox crossing the ditch and the family of Roe Deer, the youngsters and growing well. (The same deer as we had seen on the way to collect the camera’s).

A few nature spots on the way back including a couple of Hornets hunting among the flowers in the meadow – they were actively on patrol like some combat aircraft looking for a target to engage with.

I must have looked like some sort of deranged person following a Hornet around the field constantly changing directions – many pictures of empty frames or out of focus insects!

Here in the UK we have one native hornet, the European Hornet. They are rarely aggressive. Unlike other wasps, hornets are unlikely to disrupt your picnic. Their size – which is between 2-3 cm’s for workers and males, 3-4 cm’s for queens – they are impressive and interesting to watch.

The hunting takes place at knee height among the the long grass.

A Hornet in flight.

You will have to look hard in the next 2 pictures to see the action it was a battle for life and death.

Picture 1 – The Hornet in flight on the hunt -the Hornet coming in at 45 degrees on the attack.

Picture 2 -The Bee gains height and escapes the Hornet attack.

A bit larger than the Hornet a grasshopper finally is not quick enough and is caught by the Hornet dropping on it. It was quickly killed.

Back to nature.

After 3 days away in the campervan this morning it was back to our local patch to collect the trail cameras which had been set for the past week and a nature walk across the wet meadows.

Having seen my 1st Wasp Spider last year and it being the only one. This year they keep coming with a record 12 in one day. Like all things in the wild once you understand how they behave you can get a window into their world. The Wasp Spider diet locally seems to be Grasshoppers and Crickets. Find the area with the most grasshopper and you find the spiders. They build their webs about 2 foot off the ground which is strong enough to hold a Grasshopper with its powerful rear legs. Once caught the spider quickly drops and wraps up it meal.

I have only seen female Wasp Spider’s the male is smaller and less colourful.

The season is definitely shifting grasses are over and turning brown. In the fields farmers are starting to cut the hay.

Trail camera footage this week familiar Roe deer family.

Another good looking spider. A female Orb-weaver. (Neoscona adianta).

An unusual spider with two humps on the body. An Angular Cobwebs spider (Araneus angulatus) this is listed as a rare spider found in southern england. Another 1st for me.

Not a bee but a fly a Tiger Hoverfly.

Lime Hawk moth Caterpillar.

Havestman. Not a spider but Opiliones (formerly Phalangida) are an order of arachnids commonly known as harvestmen. Many have very long legs!

Roe deer family.

Another camera collection this morning 4 camera’s from the ditch trail 2 of my cameras and 2 of my brothers all out for the whole week again. As well as the Muntjac deer we got further film of the local Roe Deer. The Roebuck (father) the female and her 2 fawns which have grown well and are quite confident their white spots have almost gone now but are just visible.

It is alway quite exciting getting the SD cards home and viewing for the 1st time what we have captured.

Saturday morning walk.

Saturday morning walk after a night of heavy rain.

A Roebuck watching us from the edge of the woodland. Sometimes it is not always possible to get a clear view of these deer when they are not in the open but I am sure this buck knows us as he takes a look and slowly wanders off deeper into the woods.

We spotted lots of Grasshoppers and Crickets in the long grass. Luckily this year we do not seem to be having a major issue with ticks like last year.

Large Marsh Grasshopper.
Rosel’s Bush-cricket.

Unknown Moth.

Peacock Butterfly.

Fallow Deer.

Sometimes wildlife spotting is a matter of luck. Today driving across the New Forested I spotted a large herd of Fallow Deer. I was able to stop and creep near them and from behind some trees and took some pictures.

Fallow Deer are larger than the Roe Deer I regularly see on my local patch.

The common fallow deer stands about 3 feet at the shoulder the male will weigh up to 100 kg (220 pounds) and females 45 kg (100 pounds).

The Roe Deer stands about 6 inches less at the shoulder.

Muntjac +

Ditch camera collected again this morning with another week a nice surprise capturing a first female Muntjac deer. (1st male recorded in May). A small deer about the size of a larger fox, they were introduced into the UK at Woburn Park in Bedfordshire at the start of the 20th century. They soon spread and are common in some areas of the South.

Length: 77-91cm
Shoulder height: 45-52cm
Weight: 10-17kg
Average lifespan: 10-13 years

The rabbit gives a size comparison with the Muntjac deer .

Roebuck. As we approach the Roe deer rut the bucks are looking their best!

Song Thrush fledgling.

Dirty ditch!

Monday is our pick up day for the trail cameras we have been leaving in a local farm ditch for a week at a time.

Less deer over the week but some interesting Fox footage. Mr Fox made his mark by defecating and cocking his leg to pee in the ditch. Raw unedited nature!. I do not think we trod in it when collecting the cameras.

We had 4 cameras out you may spot one in the video on the tree below you can see the fox spotted it, sometimes they make a slight tick when they are running.

Small Skipper Butterfly

A few small Cinnabar Moth caterpillars are starting to appear on their feed plant the Common Ragwort.

A spider with egg sack.