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Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Pegler's Patch

Like most people who have more than a passing interest in birds, I find that I now have a local area, which I have recently come to consider as 'my patch'. This largely consists of one farm, but also embraces a couple of adjacent 'public access' areas. I only found this patch about six months ago through my interest in Owls - I have found four Little Owl sites in this area. However, in the past couple of months, I have come to appreciate the diversity of the wildlife in this patch. It does not (as far as I am aware so far) contain a vast number of species. It is also a bit limited in its variety of habitats. It is, however, keeping me busy, and barely a week goes by without me finding something new to enjoy.

21st June, 2010

Earlier in the year, whilst checking out one of my Little Owl sites, I came across a Fox den with cubs, as noted in earlier postings. I am now fairly certain that this owl site (No.11) has failed. The nest has been occupied by bees, and I have not been able to find where the owls have relocated to. However, I have some suspicions which I will enlarge on later in this post. The Fox cubs were still around (possibly my last sighting of them as cubs?). I also found a moth which I cannot identify from my rather poor guide book. The 'remaining' owl at site No.02 was showing cautiously (not photographed) as I returned to my car. After this I went off-patch to check out a couple of other Little Owl sites (No.s 05 & 06), where no owls were seen but owlets heard at one site. On the way back there was a fine midsummer's day sunset over the farm.

Fox cub

Unidentified moth

Sunset with vapour trails

26th June, 2010

Having been away in Devon for a few days, I hightailed it back to the patch for a quick evening check. No sign of the Fox cubs, but Little Owl at No.02 showing again. Lapwing were in one of the sheep fields. A few Brown Hares were seen. I also took a few shots of Heart & Dart moth and Meadow Brown butterfly. I was beginning to think that nothing special would be seen but suddenly I spotted a stunning looking male Redstart in the corner of the field that I was in. Considering that Redstart was a 'UK lifer' for me earlier in the year, and that only a couple of weeks previously I'd been across to Wales to photograph Redstart, this was extremely exciting to me. However, in spite of my efforts to re-locate the bird (I could hear it), I didn't get another sighting and no photo was taken.

Heart & Dart

Brown Hare

Meadow Brown

27th June, 2010

It was a fine and sunny day and so more 'patchwork' was indicated. My first find of the day was my first Ringlet of the season. I then set off across the fields waving hello to Little Owl at site No.02 as I did so. My objective was to re-locate the Redstart. I spent some time in my efforts, but did not succeed. I did, however, manage some photos of butterflies, moths, and damselflies. I have, in previous posts, been referring to Banded Agrion. It seems that my book is somewhat out of date, and it is now usual to refer to them as Banded Demoiselle. I shall adopt this nomenclature in future.


Large Skipper

Banded Demoiselle (female)

Banded Demoiselle (male)

Strangely, I had never noticed before this day that if you get the light on a male Banded Demoiselle in a certain way, against a dark background, the whole wing area has a green sheen, making it confusable with the Beautiful Demoiselle.

Banded Demoiselle (mating)
I was particularly pleased to get a shot of a male Banded Demoiselle with its wings open.

Silver Y

1st July, 2010

Due to other commitments, I had another enforced break from the patch, returning briefly on this day. I found a Little Owl at site No.12. I have never managed a decent image of owls here. I have not yet established where the actual nest site is, although I suspect that it is in the barn that they are always up in the roof of when I find them. It is very dark in this barn, making decent and interesting photography virtually impossible. Only once have I found an owl in an adjacent tree here, with only a poor photo resulting. This day, however, I probably got as good a photo as I'm going to get of one of the owls in the barn - not very inspiring!

Little Owl - site No.12

3rd July, 2010

A very quick late evening visit this day just to check things out before I disappeared the following day on the long drive north on holiday. My main focus was an active farm building where there was pellet evidence of previous Barn Owl occupation. Sadly, these had all seemed to be old pellets. However, I had cleared the pellets to one side a week or so previously, so that I could check for new. To my delight, I found a couple of new pellets, and heard sounds of young owls from the presumed nest location. Result! In view of the protected status of these birds, I will now mainly observe from a distance. However, there has to be some latitude here as this is a 'working' farm building, so I will probably pop my head inside the door from time to time.

On my way back to my car, I had two more pleasant surprises. The first was that there were two Little Owls on the chimney at my site No.02. This is the site close to which I had found the remains of a Little Owl a few weeks previously, and presumed that one of the No.02 birds had been got by a Sparrowhawk. Since that time I had only seen one bird here. It now makes me wonder if this second owl was visiting from nearby site No.12, or possibly was a bird from vacated No.11. There is also the possibility that it was a visiting bird from No.11, rather than an 02 bird which had been got by the Sprawk. I suspect that I will never know the answer!!!

Oh! - and the second pleasant surprise was that, as I approached my car, I saw a Badger sniffing around it - the first live one that I've seen this year. Unfortunately it disappeared before I could get close enough for a photo in the darkness.


  1. A great post and super read Richard.

  2. Thank you Paul. I'm looking forward to seeing how this develops.


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