24th Feb. As I was sat at my computer yesterday evening a slight movement from behind the curtain caught my eye. It was an unwelcome visitor in the form of Vespula vulgaris, or as I chose to name it Jasper. I understand Jasper is a colloquial name for the Common Wasp in parts of England and it seems an appropriate one. The light was poor, but I managed to capture some not so good images of Jasper with the macro lens. Had the light been better I may have done Jasper more justice. Now I’m very fond of wildlife, but Common Wasps are not on my list of likes. I did feel it was most unusual to find one in February and it wasn’t stirring very much so I suspect the warmth of late had it creeping from some hideout. I couldn’t help wonder if Jasper had been eyeing me up from some dark crevice over the past weeks.
I wasn't going to be easily fooled by Jasper into thinking the only intention was to work on the curtain material!
Now my patch visits have been few and far between in recent weeks, not by choice but by necessity. I managed a walk down to the lake and village today and found right away a more welcome visitor if the form of the already reported Great Crested Grebe who for the time being remains alone.
Looking for a mate perhaps.
A walk around the lake brought me sightings of twenty plus Goldeneye, now seemingly gathering close together and maybe preparing for movement, a small number of Goosander, numbers of Canada Geese, including the Canada/Barnacle cross, a pair of Greylag Geese, numbers of Tufted Duck and Pochard. I hadn’t seen a Sparrowhawk this year, but happily put that right when I found one flying north of the lake. The pair of Oystercatchers were active. It’s not often I have the likes of Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier and Merlin on my year list before Sparrowhawk. I was pleased that my first one of the year was again found on patch. I couldn't find the Scaup today.
A Great Spotted Woodpecker was heard and soon sighted in the top of the trees in the church grounds. A flock of Goldfinch were active in this area also, whilst a Wren called and Robin sang.