Archive for June, 2014

I went last night to see a performance of Between the Lines, a monologue woven through with snatches of poetry of the time, written and performed by Simon de Deney. It was about the experience of fighting in France in the first world war. While sitting in the gentle rain on the war memorial, it brought the events to life in a totally new way for me. I would highly recommend it, even in the rain.

On the way out I dawdled a little and there were definitely 3 owls giving the same contact calls. At worst it has proved that there is one adult and 2 chicks still around, but I think it was 3 chicks. In the snatches I could see without binoculars they were moving round strongly and looked fine. This doesn’t mean that the fourth chick is not around any more, just that I couldn’t see it last night in the few minutes I spent peering into the rain filled dusk.


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For about a week now peacock butterfly caterpillars have been out and about in the nettle patch to the west of the chapel. A couple of large skipper butterflies have been basking in the same nettle patch this week (again today) and a red admiral has now joined in. A small tortoiseshell has added her eggs to the tops of some nettles this morning, this species seems to be doing a lot better this year. A white letter hairstreak butterfly, newly emerged, climbed down through the grass a the front of the nettles to drink form the moisture she needed near the more shaded roots. This patch is definitely worth keeping an eye on.

Ochlodes venata, Large skipper butterfly 20.6.2014


Ochlodes venata, Large skipper butterfly 20.6.2014


Aglais urticae, Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly, egg laying on nettles 26.6.2014


Aglais urticae, Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly, egg laying on nettles 26.6.2014


Satyrium w-album, White-letter Hairstreak Butterfly, 26.6.2014, climbing down into the damper grass to drink.


Vanessa atalanta, Red Admiral Butterfly, 26.6.2014


Inachis io, Peacock Butterfly, caterpillars on nettle, 20.6.2014

Butterflies and moths in Abney has more photos.


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I bring you bad tidings, the mother of the 4 chicks has died. She was found last Saturday evening with an injury. The last time I saw her was when she was sitting too low in a tree apparently sound asleep.

Tawney Owl Female, 20.6.2014

The cause of her demise is unclear. Earlier in the week some salt had been spread along some paths. It was removed ASAP, but salted dead and dying slugs and large beetles were along the path as it was cleared. The salt may have been there overnight from Saturday to Sunday, and a busy Mum hunting for her 4 hungry chicks may have eaten of the slugs with a high salt content. This could have contributed to her being unwell and then having a flying accident. She was found with head injuries.

Abney Map salt cleared from...

The male bird is currently hunting for the chicks, which so far are OK.

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Tawney Owl Chicks, (Strix aluco), 19.6.2014

There has been a good breeding season so far this year. The Tawney Owls are feeding 4 chicks that are now sitting around in the tree tops being fed by Mum and Dad. Tony Butler showed me 2 this morning that are a long way off, but are somewhere in the middle of my photo. The Green Woodpeckers have a family that they managed to entice out of the nest last Monday, with the young being fed now out of the nest towards the NE area of Abney. The sparrowhawks have a platform built and eggs apparently laid, they won’t hatch for a while yet. There have been more than the usual number of robin chicks around for a while now. It looks like a very good season for birds all round.

Robin on a noticeboard, 2.6.2014

Photos of June 2014 in Abney.

Photos of Birds in Abney

More photos of the owls are in the Abney Trust Website.

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Just inside the front entrance is a flowering Tulip Tree, Liriodendron tulipifera. I noticed the flowers yesterday and don’t remember seeing them before. They are on the left at the back of the grass lawn at the start of the lawn. Worth having a look….

Liriodendron tulipifera, Tulip Tree fllower 9.6.2014

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