Big Butterfly Count

Colin Tyler writes:

We are reminded it’s the big butterfly count this weekend. Just spend a few minutes on a walk or just in your garden recording all the butterfly species you see. All the records make a real difference and help ensure we give nature a chance. Over the years Prestwood nature volunteers have helped develop nature havens at the Prestwood nature reserve, Sheepwash pond, the Pollinator friendly garden, Kiln community orchard and at Boug’s meadow as well as supporting the environmental efforts of the local parishes and in our own gardens.

The results are encouraging. Try to spend a few minutes at each of these sites To see the progress.

This afternoon in half an hour I saw 15 species of butterfly at Boug’s meadow. Not bad when you consider that’s about a quarter of all our Uk butterfly species.

Here’s a few pictures of butterflies “on our manor” at the moment.

The Comma butterfly seen under the wings (left) and above the wings (right). You can see a white “comma” on its underwing,

Very similar in colour to the comma but much larger is the Silver-wahsed fritillary, here seen on bramble. If you see one of those I always think it’s a red-letter day. If you see one try to get a photo of it’s underwing it will help to identify it more easily.

Silver-washed fritillary on bramble

But there are so many others…..I always get a thrill when I spot an Essex skipper (Black tip ends to it antennae). It’s otherwise almost identical to a Small skipper which has golden brown tips.

Essex Skipper

And keep your eyes peeled. Whilst I was walking the Prestwood Nature butterfly transect I almost bumped into to a pair of Roe deer on the last section of the walk.

Roe deer

All photos by Colin Tyler.

The next generation

By Colin Tyler

As we slow down and take more time to appreciate what is about us it can give us all a real lift to the spirits. I thought I’d share a few highlights of those moments hich I was fortunate to capture..

Song thrush on Prestwood scout hut trying to find where the youngster has gone.

The Blue tits favour a high-fat diet, working dawn till dusk

Meanwhile…….down at Boug’s Meadow they’re are desperately trying to produce enough food for others…..and reduce our nettle growth

Also nearby our “damsels” are watching for someone in distress to hang on to

Blue damselfly waiting for mate to appear

……the large red damselflies have….

……sadly the blue is still waiting!

“Spot a spot?”

But this surely has to knock your spots off

Photos: Colin Ty;er

Tragedy at Boug’s Meadow!

As we slowly emerge from lockdown, maybe our thoughts will turn to the newly allowed past-time of house hunting. Spare a moment then for the plight of this young family of blue tits.

We have 3 nest boxes at Boug’s Meadow. Box 1, on the Norway maple, seemed to the unwary to have the ideal spot In the copse to bring up a young family of tits. Sadly they didn’t take a structural survey, unlike the the family in box 2 on another maple close by. .

Happy at home before the accident.

During the recent high winds disaster struck earlier this week.. Water had got into an adjoning branch of the tree and had weakened it. The branch cracked at the join and fell. It was a huge fall, some 30m in length, narrowly missing nest box 2 on the next tree..

Nest Box 1 was amazingly undamaged but the blue tits seem to have been frightened away and have not returned. Our bat box on the same tree survived unscathed, hopefully any bats have turned a blind eye, not batting an eyelid at the commotion so as to speak.

The fallen branch just missed our information board.

It’s a tragedy for the tree, and the Boug’s team and our many visitors who love the copse.

In due course the tree may need additional surgery to reduce its canopy and overall stress. We will ask our local tree officer for his views. For now, emergency tree surgery has made it safe and the copse has reopened once again.

The tree has been repaired but sadly the blue tits have not returned to their box

Whilst it is a real shame, looking on the bright side none of our other bird or bat boxes, our signs or the shady copse bench were damaged in the fall..

Photos by Colin Tyler

River Misbourne at Boug’s Meadow

The Misbourne is at last running freely after 6 years and the Boug’s volunteer team have supplied us with these super images of it as it flows through Boug’s Meadow.
The photos were taken by Colin Tyler and Paul Heath.

Jeanette’s Garden

                 Mother Nature
In these times of doom and gloom,
Where families meet just through “Zoom”,
We wait ’til Covid takes its course
But Mother Nature’s a “Tour de Force”.
She’s busy growing shoots and buds,
Hatching out insects and bugs, 
Making blossom to scent the air,
And flowers of beauty everywhere.
The plants don’t know what’s going on
Nor the birds, with their cheerful song.
They make my garden a haven for me,
The only place where I roam free.

                                        Jeanette Hedley

Once a year Jeanette Hedley opens her wonderful garden to Prestwood Nature members.
This year she cannot because of Covid-19 so Jeanette has produced a virtual tour for everyone to enjoy.

You can see all the photos on Flickr by clicking here or see a slideshow on the Prestwood Nature site by clicking here

Below is just a taster!

All photos were taken by Jeanette.

Butterflies at the Prestwood Nature Reserve

A few “season firsts” at the Prestwood Nature Reserve on the Hampden Road at the bottom of Perks Lane photographed by Colin Tyler

Male Common Blue top and underside basking on the chalk slope

Two male Green Hairstreak basking on dogwood by the first bench up the slope waiting for a female.

Dingy skippers

Small Heath and three common visitors to the Nature Resrve

Birds, bees and damselflies in my garden.

Some of the many visitors to my garden at this time of year. By Colin Tyler

Spring at Boug’s Meadow and Kiln Common Orchard

Colin Tyler writes:

Our autumn sown yellow rattle at both Kiln Community Orchard and Boug’s meadow has germinated and is now growing well. The autumnal scarification and close cutting regime in both sites has given the yellow rattle a head-start in establishing before the stronger grasses reestablish. Success… far…hopefully they will set seed this summer and help to maintain the meadow and wildflower balance at both sites for years to come.

All photos were taken locally by Colin Tyler

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