Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Whiteleaf Hill

Bug Mad Girl and I went for a walk at Whiteleaf Hill this morning. The blackberries are ripening fast and the Speckled Woods and Red Admirals seemed to be enjoying them, as was BMG!

Out on the grassy hillside, there were masses of wild flowers still in full bloom. There were lots of bees around, including a huge Red-tailed Bumble Bee. BMG made friends with a Chalkhill Blue butterfly, that was quite happy to sit on her finger. She caught (and let go) a few grasshoppers. We also saw lots of hover flies around, that have the most amazing patterns on their wings when you look closely.

Red-tailed Bumble Bee

Bee with very tattered wings

#100DaysOfNature Day 28 - Chalkhill Blue

Common Green Grasshopper

Then we went into the woods to see if we could find any fungus. We found some very old green fungus growing on a log (probably from last year) and there were lots of puffballs just starting to grow through the leaves on the ground. We also found some King Alfred's Cakes, which is a strange black fungus that grows on rotting wood.

Green fungus, probably from last year


King Alfred's Cakes
Just as we were leaving, we both heard a faint squeaking coming from near by. After a bit of searching, we found two baby rats (we think that's what they are) out in the open. One was already dead, but the other one was squeaking and moving a leg every now and then. It looked in a very bad way and seemed to have a wound above it's back leg. BMG wanted to rescue it and take it home to care for it. I persuaded her (eventually) that the best thing to do was to leave it in case the mother was nearby and would come and get it when we were gone. She said it was the saddest thing she'd ever seen and I have to admit it was tough to see a defenseless little thing lying there calling it's Mum.

We moved away and waited for a few minutes to see if Mum appeared, but she didn't so we left. I don't know what had happened to it, or if the Mum had survived, but it looked very weak and I think it was unlikely to survive. It was a bit of a "nature can be tough" moment!

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