Hi there. I've just wrote this up and suddenly couldn't think of where to share, first thoughts were media, but i know they'd dramatise it and take it off of a tangent and lose the point(if ever there was one) Then there's Countrylife magazine, a glossy cover to cover of adverts aimed at the wealthy and less about or relating to well grounded hedge dwellers like me.
So that brings me here to a pace where people do care about our wildlife and do what you can to make a change and to benefit all in nature.
Brown Argus, usually found in colonies in open woodland or heath.
Green veined white. One of 4, of the most common white butterflies. Not a cabbage white.
Common Blue, Resting on a Teasel head.
Taunton the County town of Somerset is surrounded by fantastic natural habitat for wildlife. Moors, Heath, woodlands and Forests of the Quantock hills to the North. To the south, are the Blackdowns, the Somerset Levels are close to and a very important wetland.
Interconnecting all these, are acres of farmland, hedgerows, streams, copses, fields.
It’s a very green area, yet at it’s heart, in Taunton itself, was a small area that had been neglected for a duration long enough, for many species to colonise there and many other animals found a home there, to feed, to shelter and to breed.
Just behind Vivary park, was the old Deane Nurseries, a site where the local authority grew all those plants, from which many best floral town awards were won.
In my quest to explore neglected areas, last spring i wandered through a gap in a fence to take a look what was there. Buildings were boarded up, all the glass from the old glass house lay smashed on the rubble strewn ground, piles of Concrete, old park equipment, soil and timber were scattered in more piles around the site and nature had began to reclaim it, it was immensely overgrown. As i walked down an old track, a flash of movement from within the undergrowth, was my first sight of the resident Fox there. 5 minutes later, i stood in chest high grasses and other plants watching three young fox cubs play, pouncing at each other, sniffing the ground, investigating everything, my camera lay around my neck, rarely does it stay in such a position when wildlife it near, But that day it did, that moment was special and i knew the images i saw that day would stay forever in my memory. I’d never see it again, not here at least, the quiet whirr of my motor drive, the rustle of my clothing, the click of the shutter would be the signal for those cubs to flee. I was just a metre from them, i’d not lose this moment for the sake of a photograph, and after 5 minutes of watching this, they darted off on an adventure of their own. I left, with a warmth that only a natural experience like that gives me.
Back through the gap in the fence i turned and re-read the sign on the gates. SOLD FOR DEVELOPMENT. Retirement homes...
I had known this already, the Foxes would have to move on one day.
In the summer i returned to see the changes through the seasons, i was well into my butterfly chasing antics and was keen to do a quick Survey of the site for the Annual big butterfly count.
It was a warm August day, and the air was alive with bees, hoverflies, and of course butterflies. Most of which were of the white family, those being the small and large(cabbage whites) and the green veined whites. Peacocks, small tortoiseshell and red admirals were also present as well as a few Small Coppers, but surprisingly, there were also species not too common in rural locations.
A small colony of Brown Argus and Common Blue Butterflies. Although the blue will colonise wasteland, the Brown Argus favours Heath or open Woodland. The food plants must of been present and to an extent were thriving. As a sat and took many photo’s of these little marvels, i sensed something larger watching me. From nosing in around some of the building, i knew homeless people used it for shelter, beds were laid out, sometimes just a piece of cardboard and in one shed, a man sat reading a book.
I slowly glanced around me and there she was, just sat staring at me, from down by the rumble dumps. She was not homeless, well not quite yet. A gorgeous Vixen, the mother of those springtime cubs, we looked at each other for what seemed like a timeless age, then she sniffed the air, and walked off. Moments later i caught sight of two younger foxes. All was good in the world, peace and harmony in a little bubble of time.
I resumed watching and photographing the Browns and Blues in their territorial or investigative flights. They all had their favoured spots which made tracking their next landing, slightly predictable. Minutes turned to an hour and it was time to leave, my time too was to feed and i cannot just drink nectar from a flower.
As i left, i felt ashamed to be of a race that just keeps on taking, i wondered how i could stop this site being developed. But i know the world of greed and it’s a very short sighted one.
Last week i revisited the site, there are no buildings but the portacabins and stores, the only plants are dumpers and diggers and the only form of life wear bright yellow jackets and hard hats. It’s levelled and i couldn’t help but think of those lost eggs the butterflies lived to make and of the Vixen, deep in her Den, warm, dry and safe. Right u until the rumble of machinery and the destruction of her home. I hope she wasn’t there, at least one survivor from the greed of mankind..
Small Copper. A small fast flying butterfly. They do form discrete colonies on a variety of land, including wasteland.
Common Blue laying her single, ill fated egg.