Posts Tagged ‘wildlife’

Young woodpeckers

August 2, 2016

What a welcome to August! Our local woodpecker family has done it again with at least two youngsters. They were first seen on 1st August.

We like to record wildlife at Market Lavington Museum and these fellows were seen in a Northbrook garden.

A 2016 born green woodpecker seeks reassurance that all is well.

A 2016 born green woodpecker seeks reassurance that all is well.

They are much spottier than their parents who, it must be said, look a bit careworn after all of their child rearing exertions.

A second youngster joins the group

A second youngster joins the group

Here’s number two.

Probing for ants - just like mum and dad

Probing for ants – just like mum and dad

They have learned how to hunt for ants.

It looks as though the green woodpeckers locally are secure for this year.


The muntjac again

May 10, 2016

We like to keep a watch on local wildlife and once again our curator found a muntjac deer sampling the tasty plants in his garden. This wasn’t long ago – just last month – but the primroses were clearly in bloom and seemed to be of no interest to the deer.

A muntjac in Market Lavington - April 2016

A muntjac in Market Lavington – April 2016

Compared with other deer, the muntjac is a bit lacking in elegant grace. Roe deer get away with being a garden menace because of that beauty. By and large people don’t like the muntjac. But really he is quite a handsome fellow and what a pleasure to see such animals, gently browsing the shrubs in the garden. They were, of course, introduced into this country and have escaped into the wild. They are not a native species. Their homeland is in South Asia. However they are now well established and seem to be thriving as a species.

A Scarlet Tiger

July 17, 2015

No! To the best of our knowledge no large striped felines have been on the loose in Lavington. But a large and pretty moth – the scarlet tiger moth has been seen – up on the sands.

Scarlet tiger moth on the sands at Market Lavington

Scarlet tiger moth on the sands at Market Lavington

This one is sitting on a peony seed head and is showing only a hint of the scarlet that gives this moth its name. Moths are four winged and it is the under wings which are scarlet. When resting, like this one is, there is barely and sign of that vivid red colour.

By rights these moths should not be up on well drained, sandy areas. The books (and web sites) all comment on them being found near water.  This one, and a nearby friend, were well away from anything more than a small garden pond.

Not one,  but two of them

Not one, but two of them

This second moth also showed just a small hint of scarlet.

We are lucky to get the variety of wildlife we do in the Lavingtons. Long may it continue.

The Sparrowhawk

December 1, 2014

A drab and drizzly November day is not the best kind for bird spotting or taking photos. But modern cameras can do quite well at coping with poor conditions. So here we have, on just such a day, a sparrowhawk which perched for a while in our curator’s garden.

A sparrowhawk in Market Lavington - November 2014

A sparrowhawk in Market Lavington – November 2014

These are not everybody’s favourite bird. They prey on smaller birds and have the speed, in flight, to catch them on the wing. If ever you see this happen you’ll realise it is such a sudden event. A flying bird is just plucked out of the air by this high speed bird of prey.

But of course it is just nature at work and it can’t be denied that the sparrowhawk is a handsome beast.

Many don't like their eating habits but they are handsome birds.

Many don’t like their eating habits but they are handsome birds.

Yes, she’s really quite a beauty.

So, for a second time in quick succession, we ask for other local residents to be on the look out for wild life – do send us any photos.

A lizard

November 29, 2014

It’s good to report that much wildlife can be found in Market Lavington. Today we are looking at a lizard, spotted by our curator a couple of months ago.

There's a Market Lavington lizard hiding in this photo

There’s a Market Lavington lizard hiding in this photo

It has to be said that you need to be a bit sharp eyed to spot our lizard in this somewhat wild area of orchard, but we can, of course, zoom in.


That’s a bit more visible


Let’s zoom in a bit more!

Aha. Now we see it more clearly!

Aha. Now we see it more clearly!

This is the common lizard and it was really quite a tiny creature. You are unlikely to see one now as they hibernate from about October to March.

Do keep your eye open. We do like to keep a record of local wildlife.

Recent wildlife sightings

October 15, 2013

We haven’t featured our wildlife book for some time so here are a couple of recent photos we have received. They all help to build a picture of 21st century wildlife in our parish.

We’ll start with a long tailed tit. These delightful little birds are now flitting about sometimes in single species groups but at other times in mixed groups with their cousins the blue tits and great tits. This photo, which wouldn’t win any prizes at Lavington Show, was taken up on the sands.

A long tailed tit in market Lavington

A long tailed tit in Market Lavington

Next we have a vole, also spotted up on the sands.


A vole but is it a bank or a field vole?

A vole but is it a bank or a field vole?

We are not sure if this is a bank vole or a field vole. Maybe a reader can help us on that.

Do, please, offer us any wildlife photos you may have – just as long as they were taken in Market Lavington or Easterton. We are not only after mammals and birds we would like a record of all sorts of animal and plants as well.

Muntjac Alert?

October 31, 2012

For many of us it would be a wonderful moment, if a deer chose our garden for a morning forage. By tradition, deer are delicate, graceful animals and a wonderful sight to see. We commented on a roe deer in our curator’s garden back in the spring – click here to see it.

Somehow, the muntjac does not quite excite the same emotions. This particular beast is regarded as a rather unattractive member of the deer family, with a huge ability to cause damage to our threatened woodland. The British Deer Society actually think that muntjac don’t do much damage, suggesting their worst economic impact is by collision with cars.

One reason for the disfavour shown to the muntjac is that it is a comparatively recent intruder. The deer is native to South Asia and it is believed that the present population – widespread through most of England, descends from animals which escaped or were released from Woburn in 1925.

But the main problem for the poor animal is that it just isn’t as pretty as other deer – or most people think that.

Take a look at this buck which wandered through our curator’s garden yesterday.

A muntjac deer in Market Lavington.

We know it’s a buck because it has little antlers. This was a hurried photo with the first camera that came to hand, but the deer showed no inclination to leave so Rog was able to get a different camera which could gather more light and had a bit more zoom.

A closer view of the same deer showing antlers and tusks

We can see the little antlers and as our muntjac feeds on fallen leaves, we can see the fang like canine tooth as well. In fact the head has something of the carnivore about it. Muntjac are not carnivores.

Our curator is pleased to have another photo for the wildlife album which is building up a photographic record of Lavington plants and animals of the 21st century.

And it seems we should learn to love the muntjac – a much maligned species.

A Deer in Market Lavington

April 29, 2012

Yesterday morning, our curator got up to see this out of his window, It is a roe deer.

A roe deer in Market Lavington

Here he is. He spent time patrolling the boundary. This was a shame, since it meant our roebuck (yes, it was a male) had a wire fence in front of him.

But, eventually, he hopped over – and it was no problem to him at all.

At first he kept to the dark edges, taking an occasional nibble at shrubs. Then he broke for more open ground.

Walking up the garden path

He walked up the garden path here, looking for tasty morsels which he found in a small rose bed.

Nibbling on the roses

That’s another image for our Market Lavington Museum wildlife book.

Recording Wildlife

July 17, 2011

Back in the nineteenth century, Ben Hayward of Easterton, amongst others, recorded some wildlife he saw in his notebook. Here’s an extract.

Extract from the notebook of Ben Hayward of Easterton

So back in 1837 Ben heard the first swallow of the year on 22nd April. He didn’t record dates for the first wryneck or cuckoo but he was clearly very surprised to see a shrike or butcherbird on 4th December.

Incidentally, can we take this opportunity to send our condolences to the Hampton family on the recent death of Roger Hampton. They descend from Ben Hayward and hold the original notebook. It was Roger, who was a really good friend to the museum, who loaned us this wonderful notebook so that we could copy it.

Ben, were he around in the 21st century, might be shocked that wrynecks, shrikes and even cuckoos are not commonly seen or heard in Market Lavington or Easterton.

Our curator has decided it would be a good idea to note these changes by compiling a ‘book’ for display in the museum, of photographs of wildlife taken in Market Lavington. This can includes anything from tiny insects up to any strange large cats, which some people have seen in the parish. If you have photos – must be taken in Market Lavington or Easterton – and be capable of being printed at at least A5 size then do email them to the curator saying what animal it is and when and where it was taken.

To set the scene, here’s a couple taken by the curator as he tried out the museum’s new camera.

Green woopecker, Northbrook, Market Lavington - July 2011

Fox (young), Northbrook, Market Lavington - July 2011

Hail – Market Lavington

May 22, 2010

Weather is always a topic of conversation, in Market Lavington as elsewhere in the United Kingdom, but a hailstorm, which hit the village in 1862, does seem to have been exceptional.

1862 Newspaper Headline at Market Lavington Museum

It warranted a whole page in the Devizes Advertiser. We have a copy of this page, framed and on display at Market Lavington Museum.

The headline ran right across the page, which was then packed with text. Photography was still in its infancy in 1862 and photographs were not, then, part of the news.

These extracts, just a small part of the whole article, set the scene.

The scene is set for Market Lavington’s hailstorm

Mr Neate and Mr Blake, well enough off to insure their crops, probably coped well enough from the effects of the hailstorm.

The 1862 hailstorm in the Northbrook area

Mr Axford, the dog breaker was probably badly hit by the disaster.

The storm hits Easterton

Easterton was away from the centre of the hailstorm but still suffered damage with property of Mr W B Gauntlett, Mr B Hayward, Mrs Williams and Dr Hitchcock getting a mention.

Wildlife is badly hit by the 1862 Market Lavington hailstorm

It wasn’t only humans that suffered although Mr Fowle lost a long length of wall and Mr Rymer’s house was barely saved. The local bird life suffered more with 78 dead birds found in the fairly small churchyard area.