June 2006

Some interesting animals in Flax Bourton during the last week. On 26th there were 4 brown hares on the footpath to Barrow Gurney, the first I have seen here. I photographed these copulating scarlet tiger moths on 30th - there seems to have been an emergence over the past couple of days.

scarlet tiger moths

scarlet tiger moths

scarlet tiger moth

Every year I teach a field course at Orielton Field Centre near Pembroke. Photographs from this year's trip can be seen by clicking the guillemots below.


My last year as external examiner at Royal Holloway University of London. I saw a hobby perched on a lamppost in the middle of the main road towards Windsor on 12th. There are lots of ring-necked parakeets in Egham and Englefield Green. My favourite sight of the trip was a male stag beetle patrolling a footpath in Englefield Green on 13th.

On 11 June I heard a little owl and saw a lesser whitethroat at Northwick Wharf.

Only on the 6th day of the 6th month in the year 06 can a student find a bat in a vending machine in a university hall. The bat didn't seem to have been struck by a falling coke can, and was a male serotine, the first I've known from Stoke Bishop in Bristol.


The fine, warm weather continues and it seemed like an excellent evening to watch nightjars on the Mendips on 5th. We saw at least 6 individuals (including a group of 3) flying over open heath, sometimes crossing a road. Some birds were wing clapping and calling in flight. We also saw an owl hunting over the heath in darkness. The bird was dark, and its flight behaviour suggested an eared owl, but identification to species was not possible in the limited light. A sedge warbler was singing.

A sunny day at the seaside on 4th. At Ringstead Bay in Dorset I saw a male nightingale singing from a dead tree in the undercliff, and heard a sedge warbler.