Wildlife Wednesday – Stillness and a cloak of invisibility

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A muntjac taking a long draught from the wildlife pond

So this evening I caught a muntjac strolling around the pear and apple trees, pulling their branches down to eat. Grrr! Then it wandered over to the pond and took a long drink and my heart went out to it, because nearly all of the local ditches and small streams around here are currently dry. How can I begrudge the dratted deer some water? Obviously I can’t.

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A fairly clear shot of the preorbital facial scent glands, below the eyes, on this muntjac.

This one is a young buck I believe, with v-shaped facial markings and antlers. The second photo is a fairly good image to show the huge scent glands (preorbital) below the eyes. Muntjac have two pairs of scent glands on their faces, the second set are less obvious and are slits aligned with the markings to the antlers. Both sets of glands are used to mark territories and boundaries.

Once the deer had finished drinking and moved on to munch some more plants I made some noise opening the window and watched it fade into our boundary hedge.

My second spot for this post is a bold robin, which has chosen a planted container stationed at one of the busiest intersections in the Walled Garden at Wimpole to build a nest. I first spotted the robin a few weeks ago when it was gathering material to build a nest. The robin was continuously going to and fro to a large glazed pot with various bits and pieces in its beak. Then Easter happened and as I hadn’t noticed any recent activity near the container I supposed that the crowds of visitors had put it off.

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Robin nest

However, this week I noticed a new wad of packed moss between the heucheras and realised that the robin was actually sitting on the nest … with us hoeing and mowing a couple of feet away.

A little later the bird had shifted around and become more visible.

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Robin now sitting on nest

The plants in the container are desperate for some water, but I was luckily able to speak with the gardeners before an indiscriminate drenching was carried out!

The final wildlife spot to share in this post is of a moth. I discovered it on the edge of a seed tray I was using and only noticed it because of the amazing colour of its body. Now I know practically nothing about moths, but I suspect that this example was newly emerged from its chrysalis because it’s wings didn’t seem to be fully extended.

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This moth has a most amazing bright red body.

I’ve not seen one like it before, but with such a dramatic red body I was sure that I would be able look up it up online fairly easily. And so it was … this appears to be a Ruby Tiger moth (Phragmatobia fuliginosa).

Regardless of my lack of familiarity with it, it turns out to be a fairly common species, with two broods a year in the south of England, between April and June, then August and September. It is a day-flying moth, so it was not an aberration to see it at midday.

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Face on, the moth’s antennae are quite bison-like!

Wildlife Wednesday is a monthly meme hosted by Tina of mygardenersays. I am joining her with this post for May’s outing.

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About Frogend_dweller

Living in the damp middle of nowhere
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8 Responses to Wildlife Wednesday – Stillness and a cloak of invisibility

  1. Tina says:

    Nice variety of critters for this month, Allison. That moth really is a show-stopper. Isn’t it funny how something is *supposedly* common, but you’ve never seen it before? It’s happened to me, too. Glad your little robin is on the nest; I like the shot where she’s peeking at you.

    • That little robin officially has babies now. Hurray! Re. common moths, I guess I don’t tend to be looking in the right places for those, mostly. I did wonder about making a trap though to see what’s around.

  2. Christina says:

    I’m not sure I would have felt so generous to the deer!!!

  3. shoreacres says:

    I’ve never heard of a Muntjac. When I looked them up and saw they are native to South Asia, I had to read it twice. I gather they’ve been imported for one reason or another. Are they multiplying, and causing problems, or are they well behaved?

    The moth is gorgeous, and who doesn’t like a bird on a nest? Your robins are quite different from ours, but they’re cuter, I think. I hope she has a successful hatching!

    • Yes, crazy idea wasn’t it!!! They were introduced just up the road (relatively) at Woburn Park in Bedfordshire early in the 20th century. They are invasive and spreading north. They are also protected under the 1991 Deer Act. Someone in the village said they saw 6 grazing in their garden one morning!! We are resorting to a tall fence around the vegetable patch in order to have some stuff for ourselves.
      Good news, the robin has hatched her babies as of yesterday … but I do like your robins too!

  4. Sue says:

    I have never heard of the muntjac before so this was interesting to see. The robin on the nest is very cute, what a surprise! Hope it didn’t get the red moth for dinner! 🙂

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