It is always a privilege to be out in the great outdoors, and an even greater privilege to share it with wild creatures. I was recently doing some green wood-turning at the woods when I noticed I was not alone. The loud, high-pitched tweeting noise that was coming from our broken-down old goat shed turned out to be a group of little wrens that had just fledged. These trusting little creatures were flittering and fluttering around my head while I was working on the lathe and shave-horse. One even landed on the shave-horse, not entirely sure yet of his flying, or where exactly he could go. They hopped and skipped around as I was having my coffee and lunch, coming to sit on the pallets next to me, and flying in and out of the old goat shed, getting their bearings and learning what those wings are really for.
Some of them were so tiny that, as well as their baby gape, they still had tufty feathers on their heads. They made up for lack of size with a lot of noise and enthusiasm. It really is wonderful to watch this special moment in the life of a baby bird. As yet, they had not developed a fear of humans, and I was thus allowed to be part of something that is rarely seen. I felt like I was a member of this little flock that had placed their trust in me not to harm them while they found their wings and began to fly.
It has also been a good week for thunderstorms and thundery weather. A lorry broke down outside our woods, and I was helping to direct traffic round it while a storm was approaching. In a quiet moment, I managed to snap the sunny fields with stormy clouds on their way. It looked like we were all going to get soaked, but the storm veered off at the last moment, and we only had a few raindrops on our heads.
As the storms left the woods behind, a quick walk round Betty’s Wood revealed a new hatching of Brown Argus butterflies. These butterflies were one of the target species when we planted the woods and meadows, and we put in storksbill and cranesbill to attract them. Unfortunately, the cranesbill has not appeared in great numbers in our meadows, although the storksbill has been more successful, but even in our first year, with poor growth, we managed to get the Brown Argus to move in. We hadn’t noticed them this year, but they are now with us in some numbers, sitting in their lovely upside-down pose on our grass stems, rubbing their wings to release the pheromones and attract a mate. We plan to add more cranesbill to the meadows this year when we mow (should be in the next week or two depending on the weather), so we hope to see even more of them next year.