Looking for Retirement Homes

We have been running down our original hen flock as the new one down by the meadow has been building up

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Top cock Floppy,

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once the master of a sizeable harem, has had his charges reduced to four

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June,

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the Gold-Laced Orpington, has been with us for a number of years and we watched her two Maran companions as they emerged from eggs. Now their laying days are few and far between and we would let them live out their days if their space was not needed for an expanding Rabbit World

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Still, we would not be able to cull them so we are fortunate to find them a Retirement Home with some friends. June does suspect

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as they await collection

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with an interested audience

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Speckled Sussex Floppy keeps one of his breed and we bring another from the bottom flock to make-up a pure trio

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Maybe the source of some future hatching eggs…?

Meanwhile apples are swelling

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and we are ready

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even for high up ones

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While apples ripen we collect other produce

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while our neighbour fattens up his

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September Sunshine

Here are our temperatures for the month so far:

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When we haven’t been in the misty low cloud there has been lots of brightness

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warming up insect life

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Bert thinks it is still worth sunbathing

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and the ducks are always happier with a bit (not too much) of sun

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Bird song has intensified as the August moult ends and territories are re-established

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There is always one courgette that manages to hide while it nurtures marrow aspirations

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So, as daylight hours diminish, we relish any brightness on offer

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Butterfly Count

We all know that butterfly populations, along with those of many other insects, are falling rapidly.

Here are some statistics for one-year (to 2018) and ten-year trends:

butterfly number

These are “official government statistics” available from here and the Key Findings are here which include factors that are:

Climate Change related – “Warming temperatures have been shown to have both positive and negative effects on populations of British butterflies. Species at the northern limit of their ranges have been able to expand their ranges, moving northwards throughout the UK.”

And Habitat related – “Habitat loss and changes in habitat management have been the greatest drivers of change in UK butterfly populations”

As well as long term trends there will of course by the effects of short term weather patterns and that, in different ways, would explain the wave of Painted Ladies and also Peacocks and Red Admirals we have experienced this summer.

Painted Ladies

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“emerge in once-a-decade phenomenon” as the BBC explains here

But Peacocks

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and Red Admirals

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are locals and their habitat, at least here, has been broadly the same over the last few years therefore the recent numbers must be due to something else – weather patterns this year maybe.

The list above of fourteen species is not a random one but the butterflies we have seen on our plot so far. The latest addition was a solitary Wall seen this week:

Wall 2019-0903

We have started recording our butterfly sightings, along with those of other living things, at iRecord:

irecord

where they might be of use to others plus less common species can get confirmed by an expert!

verified

Beta Sunflowers

Some people are proud of their towering sunflowers but more respect is due here

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Spilt bird food that has survived the mud, the rodents, and… the ducks

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Choosing a spot in the pathway to germinate under human and duck feet

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inching its way upwards

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and opening up

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to its full diminuative glory

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