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Wildlife sightings, August 2017
02-08-2016 to 10-08-2016. Stephen and Richard Porter saw lizards in the garden (Lower Whitelands, Radstock) on 2nd, 4th, 5th (two) and 8th. One of them was dark and greenish, the other lighter and more brown. Beth Porter saw two lizards basking together on 10th in the same garden.
Wildlife sightingss, July 2017
26-07-2017 – Stephen Porter. Saw common lizard basking in our garden at Lower Whitelands.
23-07-2017 – Richard Porter. Saw Common lizard in the garden at Lower Whitelands, Radstock, today and yesterday.
Wildlife sightings, June 2017
14-06-2017 – Emily Malik. I saw a Red kite over Greyfield Woods at about 1pm today, circling and then moving further over the woods. First definite sighting for me in this area so very exciting! I was watching it from Greyfield Rd.
13-06-2017 – Bob Ladd. Red kite, High Littleton
12-06-2017 – Andre Fournier. Just found Nicrophorus vespillo in an empty fruit bowl on the window ledge.
[Editor’s note: Nicrophorus vespillo lives off and breeds in rotten carcasses. This 12 to 22 mm beetle has a very good sense of smell and is reputed to be able to smell a carcass up to two miles away. It can be identified by the combination of orange antennal clubs, an interrupted anterior red elytral band, the presence of golden hairs on the fore margin of the pronotum, and the hind tibiae being concave on the inside edge. It is widespread and frequent in central and southern England and Wales, but very local further north].
Wildlife sightings, May 2017
19-05-2017 – Bob Ladd. Red kite, Colliers Way cycle path nr Kilmersdon
07-05-2017 – Judy Hampshire. Sunday 7 May, 7.30 am at Welton, Midsomer Norton.
Opening the curtains this morning I saw a solitary female roe deer in the open field opposite. Her neck was stretched out as if eating. Strangely she stayed in this position for a while, so I looked through binoculars and saw she was licking something – I saw a pair of tiny ears and then the baby was up and suckling. Had it just been born? The mother continued to lick and nuzzle the baby, who started exploring. The mother remained hyper vigilant, continuously looking around. After a while the mother led him to the field boundary hedge where they wandered up and down together, the baby bounding along beside her like a rabbit! A male deer appeared, but showed no interest in the baby. Eventually they all disappeared through a gap in the hedge, but several times the baby reappeared, bouncing along the field edge. The mother would burst through the hedge after it. In all, I was able to watch the mother and baby for about 45 minutes, my longest ever sighting of a young roe deer and a wonderful wildlife experience.
04-05-2017 – Deborah Porter. Swifts arrived at Lower Whitelands, Radstock, today. The two tall ranks of cottages host a nesting colony of these summer visitors.
Wildlife sightings, April 2017
25-04-2017 – Phil Gait. Lots of green winged orchids flowering in the four Edford Meadows fields – have been for over a week – earlier than last year!
18-04-2017- Deborah Porter. A Holly Blue male visited our patio today to suck moisture from some freshly-watered strawberies in a box. After it had finished, it sat on the ivy for a while. As with Maggie’s sighting – it was small, and very blue!
18-04-2017- Deborah Porter. Saw a Red Kite low over Tying Batch and ‘Upper Whitelands’ north of Tyning Hill, Radstock, this morning – the first one I have seen near Whitelands.
18-04-2017- Stephen Porter. The Swallows at Radstock Sewage Works have been joined by House Martins
15-04-2017- Stephen Porter. The Swallows have arrived at Radstock Sewage Works
09-04-2017 – Maggie MacMillan. (The hot weekend!) We saw a blue butterfly in our garden in Carlingcott – small and definitely blue!
06-04-2017 – Owain Jones. Saw a Barn owl approx 2 pm Thursday 6th April coming out of a Barn owl nest box – on our farm – nr Farmborough Common.
06-04-2017 to 10-04-2017 -Deborah Porter. Solitary bee sightings at Whitelands in two gardens. 6th April – saw the first (female) Lathbury’s nomad bee, Nomada lathburiana in our garden. This bee is parasitic on the Ashy mining bee, like the Dotted beefly, and is also dependent on good populations of its host to persist. Nomad bees are one of the genera (genuses) of cuckoo-bees and are cleptoparasitic. On 7th April there were several firsts of the year in a garden ten doors away – Gooden’s nomad bee (female) , Nomada goodeniana, male Yellow-legged mining bees, Andrena flavipes, and female Common Green furrow-bees, Lassioglossum morio. A female Common furrow-bee, Lassioglossum calceatum, was caught at Rosemary flowers by our house. On 8th April, Blue Carpenter bee males emerged from their bramble stem nests in the colonies in our garden – this is always an exciting time for us, as this small rare bee is mainly restricted to some parts of South-east England. Finally, a female Buffish mining bee, Andrena nigroaenea, was disturbed from her rest in the afternoon of 10th and a male Orange-tip butterfly visited the greenhouse.
05-04-2017 – Owain Jones. Swallows have been flying over Priston for a few days now – is this early?
02-04-2017 -Deborah and Stephen Porter. A sparrowhawk chased a blackbird right in front of us at Radstock Road Allotments today. The blackbird dived into brambles on an adjacent property and after an unsuccessful attempt to grab it, the Sparrowhawk flew off to perch in a nearby tree.
01-04-2017 -Deborah Porter. Saw the first (female) Small nomad bee, Nomada flavogutta, today in the garden.
01-04-2017 -Deborah Porter. Saw my first female Tawny Mining bee of the year today, Andrena fulva, at Blackcurrant flowers in the garden – a magnificent and unmistakable bee. Quite a few Dotted bee-flies about now.
Wildlife sightings, March 2017
27-03-2017 to 31-03-2017- Stephen and Deborah Porter. Sightings in and from our garden. Saw the first Dotted bee fly, Bombylius discolor, of the year in the garden on 27th. Dotted bee fly is parasitic on the Ashy mining bee, A. cineraria, and needs good populations of its host to persist. Ravens were calling over Whitelands on 29th and Great spotted woodpecker were drumming and calling in and around it on 30th. 30th was a good day for bees – there were 7 species of bumblebee, mostly at lungwort. They including a queen Garden bumblebee, Bombus hortorum; a queen Red-tailed bumblebee, B. lapidarius, at dandelion; a queen Tree bumblebee, B. hypnorum; a queen White-tailed or Cryptic bumblebee (B. lucorum sensu lato – either B. lucorum or B. cryptarum, which can only be separated by DNA analysis); the first Red Mason bee of the year, Osmia bicornis, a male; the first female Ashy mining bee of the year, Andrena cineraria; and female Fabricius’s Nomad bee, Nomada fabriciana (the feamales of this genus emerge before the males). On 31st, a female Green veined White, Pieris napi, had to be released from the greenhouse and Dark-edged Beeflies, bombylius major, were about in numbers.
27-03-2017 – Deborah Porter. Skylark heard singing from Haydon allotments, Radstock.
27-03-2017 – Judy Hampshire. Between 8.30 and 9am: Pair of grey wagtails, and dipper on Wellow Brook at Welton. (One morning last week, I saw a pair of dippers there but usually only see one at a time.) A wren accompanied me up the footpath at back of MN leisure centre car park, then on the broadwalk at back of Sun Chemical I saw a female goldcrest. ( A few weeks ago I saw a male goldcrest at the same spot, who actually hopped towards me along the metal fence, until it was level with my head! A magical moment!)
26-03-2017 – Judy Hampshire. 5.30pm above White City, Welton: skylarks fluttering and singing.
26-03-2017 – Stephen and Deborah Porter. A male oedemerid beetle, Oedemera femoralis, flew into the kitchen in the evening. This elongate testaceous to brown beetle (this one was brown) is the largest of our four oedemerid species and was checked against the Watford Coleoptera Group’s guide to British Oedemerids. It is a local species, but thought to be under-recorded. It flies at dusk and at night. The first male Ashy mining bees (Andrena cineraria) were on the wing in the garden.
15-03-2017 to 25-03-2017 – Deborah Porter. Various insects in the garden – Buff-tailed bumbelbee queens much in evidence; from 15th – queen Early bumblebees, B. pratorum, female Gwynne’s mining bee, A. bicolor, and female Red-tailed mason bees, Osmia bicolor; from 25th – Comma, Brimstone, Peacock butterlfy, pollen beetles at Colsfoot, a Wren taking bramble leaf nesting mateiral into ivy, female Hairy-footed flower bees, Anthophora plumipes, whizzing about, and the first worked Early bumblebees, B. pratorum.
15-03-2017 – Deborah Porter. Queen Red-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius), Queen Early bumbelbee (Bombus pratorum), a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly, and a rather early and small Dark-edged beefly (Bombylius major) spotted on land north of Whitelands, Radstock, while Blackcaps sang and a pair of Long-tailed tits busied themselves with collecting nesting material. Goldfinches singing from the pines at the base of Tyning batch near Whitelands.
13-03-2017 – Deborah Porter. Male Red-tailed mason bee (Osmia bicolor) and Gwynne’s mining bee (Andrena bicolor) have emerged at Whitelands, BA3 3JP. Coltsfoot and Lesser celendine are flowering well. The bumblebees and flower bees are appreciating the Lungwort.
10-03-2017 – Terry Goodall. The first Pipisterelles were patrolling the bare tree line close to Glastonbury Tor at dusk.
07-03-2017 – Deborah Porter. Hairy-footed flower-bee, Anthophora plumipes, nectaring at Lungwort, at Whitelands, BA3 3JP.
06-03-2017 – Stephen Porter. Queen Buff-tailed bumblebee, Bombus terrestris, at Whitelands, BA3 3JP.
Wildlife sightings, February 2017
24-02-2017 – Deborah & Stephen Porter. Pair of Marsh tits calling and displaying in woodland to the north of the bridleway between Radstock Sewage Works bridge and Lower Writhlington. The male called strongly and displayed to the female, that twittered and shook before him in food-begging mode.
18.02.2017 – Terry Goodall. Frog spawning underway in ponds here in Glastonbury. Spring is springing!
16.02.2017 – Judy Hampshire. 8.45am: Treecreeper seen from the broadwalk at the back of Sun Chemical in Midsomer Norton. 5.15pm: Dipper on the Wellow Brook at Welton.
02.02.2017 – 10.02.2017 – Stephen and Andrew Porter. Little Egret sighted three times on the Wellow Brook by Radstock Sewage Works
Wildlife sightings, January 2017
25.1.2017 – Andre Fournier. Flock of approx 50 Lapwings in fields along the B3139 from Odd Down towards Wells . On the right just before you reach Whitnell Corner – (the B3135 cross roads)
24.1.2017 – Andre Fournier. Visiting my garden along the main road through Paulton regularly over last couple of weeks or more: a Gold crest (often breeds in neighbour’s conifer abutting my garden) plus 3 Blackcaps (1 female & 2 male) plus Great Spotted Woodpecker, amongst the usual large flocks of House Sparrow, Chaffinches and Gold Finches and Long Tailed tits plus pairs of Blue tits Great tits, Coal tits, Dunnocks & Wrens and one or two Greenfinch which seem to be getting scarcer. Also have up to 12 Blackbirds feeding of the apples I scatter early in the morning. BUT only a single Starling – Is anyone seeing large numbers of starlings in the area??
24.1 2017 – Andre Fournier. Flock of about 40 Pied Wagtails on the wires above the settling beds at Paulton Sewage Works.
06.1.2017 – Deborah Porter. Flock of Pied Wagtails in and around the Radstock Sewage Works next to the Colliers Way Cycle path (NCN 24) at Lower Whitelands, Radstock.
06.1.2017 – Deborah Porter. Velvet Shank, Flammulina velutipes, on dead elm, Church Rd, Lower Writhlington, Radstock.
Header: Velvet Shank, Flammulina velutipes.