Early Summer Nature Notes

Early Summer Nature Notes

a Dipper in the stream at dusk

Since April, we’ve been noting what’s been spotted at Watermill Cottages, in the Gara River and valley, and in the cottage gardens and surroundings.  How lucky we are to have such varied wildlife and how lucky some of you have been to see it!

Dippers – these are rare birds that walk upstream underwater to gather food.  We have a pair living between the old bridge and Crownwheel Cottage (we think they nested on the old leat wall in spring) and they’re often seen from the riverside bedrooms of Mill and Crownwheel Cottages.  As are flocks of goldfinches.
Otters – one lucky visitor saw a young otter climb onto the main lawn and run around for a few minutes.  People recently have reported hearing them at night.
Butterflies – this year has seen profusions of butterflies.  We’re trying to record sightings with time and date to aid a butterfly conservation project.  We’ve seen many types this year, including orange tips, holly blues, peacocks, ringlets, wood whites, sulphur yellows, painted lady and red admiral and tortoiseshell, and gatekeepers.
Birds – many sightings of the kingfishers as they zoom past in an azure streak.  One once sat on the bench and the rocks for a while.  Chiff chaffs and long-tailed tits are a common sound; a common sight are goldfinches, goldcrests too sometimes, green woodpeckers, several owl species, wrens and bullfinches. There’s a swallow nest in Barleycorn Cottage’s porch, grey wagtails on the fallen weir, and buzzards whirling on the thermals.
Reptiles – up the green lane, I have regularly seen two shy female grass snakes warming themselves in the morning sun with a female slow worm – lots of slow worms in the compost!  They move away as soon as they feel vibrations from foot or voice and so far, I haven’t managed to photograph them.  They’re too quick and shy!  There are newts in the orchard pond too.

And best of all, glow worms in the lane and seen too in the garden of Barleycorn Cottage at dusk.

I saw this on a twig above the stream last week – does anyone know what it is?

Please post a comment if you can identify it.