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Mistress Rose

Wildlife

We have a bluetit nesting in the unused front forks of the tractor, a wren nesting in part of the timber frame for the firewood processor, another one nesting in the top of the wood store and a bumble bees nest in another part of the timber frame. Not sure about the wrens, but judging by the was the adult bluetits are going backwards and forwards, they have young in the nest. Not sure how they are going to get out as they are a long way down a diagonal tube, but the parents seem to manage it at high speed.
gz

A bit different to our starlings under next door's roof tiles and jackdaws in next door the other way's roof (he mended the eaves' ends, but felt roof tiles and wood are no match for a strong determined beak Confused )

Plenty of gulls around too, but I'm not sure where they'd be nesting. They have plenty of arguments with the Jacks and crows.

The blackbirds in next door's laurel bush seem to be keeping their heads down for much of the time (probably due to their avian neighbours), but its good to see them and a few sparrows on the lawn. I hear them at dawn ( 4.30 am Shocked ) but I'm not inclined to take a look at that time!
dpack

harvest mice in the compost/wood store
lots of avian restaurant customers (see below )
lots of invertebrates
buzzy

Waiting for new issue Great Tits, Blue Tits and Great Spotted Woodpeckers to arrive at the feeders. Can't be long, I think.

Judging by the sounds from the sky, new issue Buzzards are about.

We've had baby Rooks for some time - I think they must be independent now as the number of "Feed Me" cries has drastically reduced.

There was a baby Rabbit at the end of the drive a few days ago - I think it had probably been hit a glancing blow by a car, it was just on the edge of the road.

Henry
gz

wondering where our newly arrived swallows had gone...found that the people next door but one had knocked off the nests Mad
At least some have decamped to neighbour over the road's garage...
buzzy

As if on cue, baby Great Tits sitting in the hedge waiting for food from mum and dad who are dashing madly backwards and forwards with beaks full of peanuts.

Henry
dpack

last evening one of the sammy mouse family discovered the delight of coconut yogurt ( from a remnants of a hoverfly rescue:roll: ) from the pot a couple of feet from me.

a bit jumpy at first but it soon realised i was a good cat repellent . Cool

the sparrows trust me with their children ( as do several other species )

a big garden is nice but in a very small yard it is easy to get to know the wildlife chums with birds and mice is good, the first deal with most vermin ( and the worm surplus ) and the latter are charming ( and a canary in the mine if we develop another rat issue Twisted Evil )

iirc somebody said to discover a new species study a square yard of your garden, well so far i have found some fairly rare snails and learnt quite a lot of names for assorted invertebrates but nowt with no id as yet Laughing
buzzy

Young Tawny Owl calling for food, last night and the night before. (In the trees in the garden)

Henry
buzzy

Some of the baby Great Tits are feeding themselves, but others are still being fed by adults - probably more than one brood.


Baby Great Spotted Woodpeckers feeding themselves.


Still waiting for baby Blue Tits to appear.


Henry
Mistress Rose

One of the baby blue tits was near the top of the tube on Thursday and hogging all the food. Hopefully the others did get a look in. Think they will soon be out. I like seeing the baby wrens in the wood; mother is in the undergrowth calling youngsters to her as I walk along a path, and they are quite unconcerned and don't see me as a threat at all.

I expect the robin in the garden to produce some young at some point as he has been hopping round getting insects virtually from under my feet. Think it may be the young one from last year that I saw growing a red breast.
buzzy

Baby Blue Tits arrived at the feeders yesterday.

Baby Great Tits and baby Great Spotted Woodpecker still visiting regularly.

Henry
Mistress Rose

Sounds good Henry.
Mistress Rose

Went to our usual place looking for bee orchids. Lots of pyramid, and found rock rose and milkwort, but no bee orchids. Anyone know if they are late this year, or is it a bad year for them?
buzzy

Baby Tawny Owl calling at dusk last night, and still calling this morning. Maybe its parents have said "Get your own food!"

Henry

PS I'll ask around about the Bee Orchids
Mistress Rose

Thanks Henry.

It must be about the time of year when young birds have to find their own food, so you could be right.
Nicky Colour it green

I have a nest of tree bumble bees in an old hay bale on top of the hen house. Their runway into the nest is on the door, so the bees get a little confused when I have it open to collect eggs, so I try to be quick.

Nice watching them land and walk in
Mistress Rose

That sounds lovely Nicky. They do get easily confused. When it is is dry we find that the badgers go for bumble bee nests and because they turn the soil over near the entrance, there are a lot of very confused bees around.
dpack

stumpi sammison and i just had a nice chat. i am too shy to ask how the loss happened.

biggi sammison is huge for a long tail mouse

sammi seems to have entered the next realm but the extended family of his descendants fill the halls and "forests" with his kin.

there are lady mice but they are rather more shy and demure( or too busy with the kids ) to bother with more than a hiya in passing.

they are rather fun and seeing how they have adapted rural skills to an urban landscape ,with green bits/ urban bits and bird table scraps/ winter feeding but lots of cats and more owls and raptors than most rural locations is fascinating.

sammi decided 2 hounds and a bramble perimeter was a good place to set up a dynasty and moved into the compost, firewood ( and stuff ) store.
smart mouse .

tis a while since i did snaps of em, at least one is likely to vogue for a bit of coconut yogurt Laughing

the white tail bees ( lots ) have been joined by a few other species but tis only week one for my blackberry tangle so i hope to beat last years 9 species in a minute at about week 3 of flowering.
dpack

ps there is a fledged to hunting alone peregrine again so i guess the minster pair ( or the other less public ones ) have raised chicks and this one follows the last to new lands.

last years one was a fast learner but seeing the odd "lumpy" unplanned landing and a harsh lesson in how to alienate crows and gulls at the same time was pretty funny.

i like peregrines, a while back i was lucky enough to share a place with a pair long enough to watch em get from hatch to "flying" baby .

pps battybat and chums are doing ok on the night fliers and the swallows and housemartins get the day menu
Mistress Rose

I like peregrines too; they provide me with the odd pigeon so pigeon breasts for dinner.
buzzy

dpack, might biggi sammison be a Yellow Necked Mouse? They are bigger and more brightly coloured than bog standard Wood Mouse. They like soap, and dried cheggies. (And lots of other things, I expect!)

Henry
dpack

biggi is wearing a rather fetching pale brown onesie, a little darker than most of them have chosen but i would not describe any of them as gaudily dressed.

i will bait em out and get some snaps.
buzzy

Snaps would be good!

Henry
Mistress Rose

We sometimes get woodmice around the yard. They have large ears and big eyes and are rather sweet, but still mice, and can be a nuisance if they get indoors. Still leave the same smell, which I learnt at school, was acetamide.
buzzy

We sometimes get woodmice around the yard. They have large ears and big eyes and are rather sweet, but still mice, and can be a nuisance if they get indoors. Still leave the same smell, which I learnt at school, was acetamide.


They taught us at school that acetamide was odourless and the smell was produced by the impurity methyl-acetamide. All I know for certain is that when we made acetamide at school, the chemmy lab reeked of mice!


Henry
Shane

Just got back from a lovely couple of weeks in Blighty. All the littl'uns seem to have fledged at exactly the same time. Here's a few pics:

Here's one of the two juvenile greater spotteds with his dad:




Juvenile nuthatch:


The two baby blue tits begging for a feed:




One of the baby coal tits braving the constant drizzle:


Mum feeding the bairns:


All the baby frogs made a hop for it at once - they were absolutely everywhere!
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We also had baby blackbirds, great tits and robins, but didn't manage to get any decent shots of them.
Mistress Rose

Lovely pictures Shane, and seems as if you timed your visit just right for the young birds and frogs.

We had to rehome a toad the other day that had decided the heap of wood we had in the log store was just the right place to settle. I moved him to a pile of wood outside the store that won't be disturbed.
gz






Fresh on the gooseberry bush this afternoon..I'm not sure if the caterpillar is the same variety.

and on the elderflowers I picked, although it looked more green than in the photo.

buzzy

Two Magpie Moths and a Magpie Moth caterpillar. The moth (Abraxas grossulariata) used to be regarded as a pest of Gooseberries and currants, but has declined and is now not so much a problem. The wing pattern of the moth is extremely variable.


The greenish caterpillar from the Elderflowers is a greenish caterpillar.


Henry
Jamanda

I got the moth - the caterpillar just looks extremely hungry.
gz

Two Magpie Moths and a Magpie Moth caterpillar. The moth (Abraxas grossulariata) used to be regarded as a pest of Gooseberries and currants, but has declined and is now not so much a problem. The wing pattern of the moth is extremely variable.


The greenish caterpillar from the Elderflowers is a greenish caterpillar.


Henry

Thankyou Very Happy
buzzy

I got the moth - the caterpillar just looks extremely hungry.

Somebody should write a book about that. Wink

Henry
Mistress Rose

I think they did. Laughing Aren't caterpillars always extremely hungry? dpack

5 types of bee in the brambles in a minute .

the orange tail ones are slightly over loading the leg stores Laughing
Mistress Rose

They are collecting pollen while the sun shines to paraphrase a familiar saying. Lots of things flying in the woods at the moment, including far too many horse flies. Son thinks he saw 2 purple emperor butterflies yesterday, and something large keeps zooming through the yard, possibly hornets. Wish they would take out some of the horse flies. derbyshiredowser

We have Linnets nesting in the garden , this is a first in 37 years here and especially as they are on the endangered red list. Not bad for 2.8 miles outside Derby city centre but we put out niger seed and sunflower seeds. dpack

never had em local in many places, extra food is a nice idea.

linseed? just a guess
Mistress Rose

Well maybe. Laughing

I am happy to report that the diminished insect population is not affecting our woods. We could hear them buzzing yesterday. Included are hornets, wasps, and possibly purple emperor butterflies, but the large dark butterflies we have seen have been moving so fast it is impossible to be sure. Sadly it also includes horseflies and mosquitoes, but fewer of the latter at present.
sean

We'vee got young sparrows, greenfinches, & greenfinches. Haven't seen any juvenile bullfinches yet but I'm reasonably confident that we will. Mistress Rose

Very Happy sgt.colon

I discovered this weekend that we have some Swift's nest in our eves. Mistress Rose

Lovely. We had a young robin round us yesterday who has not yet developed the red breast. dpack

lots of sparrows, lots , a very big number of them, too many to imagine.

quite a diversity of other birds, the swallows seem happy with our airside insects
Mistress Rose

I don't very often see too many sparrows, but every so often pass a bush that is twittering. They seem to be happier in a bush than out in the open.

Saw a white admiral butterfly in the wood yesterday while we were filling the charcoal kiln. Loads of silver washed fritillaries, some browns, probably meadow brown, and assorted whites, but all moving to fast to identify. More butterflies than we usually see because of the warm weather.
dpack

painted lady drying her makeup on the wall, lots of baby birds including 3 long tailed little brown jobbers that need to grow into their tails Laughing

considering the size of the yard it has enough productivity and micro climates/ecosystems to give a surprising biodiversity in observed species in residence or visiting. a fledgling woodpecker was an unusual person to find a couple of feet from me. it was having a rest on the wall top and well gillie suited among the bramble stems Cool a very polite and urbane guest on a brief comfort stop.

the sammison family are looking ready for winter ( rather than beach body buff Laughing ) fattest long tails i have ever seen, urban has a lot to offer seed eaters if folk have bird feeding stations and seed filled gardens/alleys etc

it seems a bit wasp light at the mo, there were a few but no shows for a while Question
Mistress Rose

We have seen a few wasps up the woods over the last couple of weeks, but very few seen generally this year. We are getting to the period when they become more usually seen as they will be eating fruit rather than catching insects to feed young. sgt.colon

I saw my first couple of wasp's of the season down at the allotment last night. Mistress Rose

Out yesterday in the wood, and loads of butteflies. Had lots of silver washed fritillaries, probably meadow browns, ringlets, peacock, red admiral, and a couple of yellow butterflies fighting. The yellow ones confused me because the wings didn't have the black edges I would associate with clouded yellows, but it seems now is the one time of the year when you can't expect to see brimstones. Any ideas? buzzy

Given the oddness of the weather this year, I'd be perfectly happy to accept your yellow butterfly sightings as Brimstones. The UK Butterflies web site has charts showing sighting during every month of the year.


Henry
Mistress Rose

Thanks Henry. The 'when to expect the adult' charts I have found show them as absent only at this time, so glad to know they may be found any time. dpack

a wasp after a few months Cool i was beginning to worry about them. dpack

i just met a smallish moth (25 mm or so ) that had a rather fetching, bookmatched cubist picture of an edwardian gent with a tash in a pale buff and brown palette.

stylish ,no idea what spp it was.

cute though.
Mistress Rose

I was able to get closer to the yellow butterflies today, and they are brimstones. Think there was a female there too. We had a rather beautiful hornet drinking at the bucket we have put out in the yard. There is a block of wood floating in it so that insects can easily get at the water and anything that falls in can use it as a life raft. gz

Went for a morning stroll in the community woodland.
Saw a Roe deer, a robin, blackbirds and moorhens, disturbed a vole-hunting buzzard and heard plenty of small birds..I'm not good at id of bird song!
Mistress Rose

I'm not either Gz. It took me ages to identify one, which turned out to be a chaffinch.

Saw a white admiral, more brimstones, silver washed fritillary and white butterflies today, and a hornet has been coming for water at the bucket in the yard.
dpack

i just rescued one of the sammison children from a recycling box, it seemed rather pleased

it was probably a little taken aback by my sleeve catch method but a dive into a "safe hole " and couple of seconds of warm confusion followed by a quick release is better than a hand catch for small mousy critters Laughing
Mistress Rose

You may have a mouse family as semi-pets at the moment Dpack, but have you thought about when the children and their children have more children?

Saw a muntjac deer crossing a local road the other night. First I have seen. Thought it was a dog at first, but getting closer it was definitely a deer. There are some in our area, but as yet they haven't become too much of a nuisance.
buzzy

But what about when their children, and their children's children grow up? When you walk through your wood and see forty Muntjac an hour, it's a different matter. Shocked


Henry
dpack

i had no idea they would metamorphose into muntjac .

oh well they make great jerky.
Mistress Rose

I agree Henry. I am hoping they don't become a problem otherwise we will have to see about more control. At present, with culling in other places around us, the roe deer are on the high side of acceptable levels. If we get obvious signs of muntjac I will have to see about control in our wood, but at present, no signs.

Were in Newcastle over the weekend, and saw loads of kittiwakes. For reasons best known to themselves, the council are at present encouraging them. They may be the least common gull, but to my mind a city centre isn't a good place for them. Walking under some of the bridges is becoming a bit of a hazard, and yesterday, as it rained, it was getting a bit slippery and guano smelling with the droppings. We went up on the Baltic Flour Mill and saw a number of them close up. DIL got some good pictures including of one with food in its mouth. There were some young up there still being fed.
dpack

lots of wood eating beetles in adult mode,
more wasps than a couple of weeks ago , the one i said hello to this am was pretty bored of hunting insects going by the way it grabbed and abandoned what looked quite a tasty fly

the young thrush is doing a fine job of snail control and the shells are not too crunchy underfoot Laughing

the sparrows are less in number , adults broodying/feeding the next clutch and a highish casualty rate among the young at an informed guess

bunnies seem to be doing well , not my bunnies, not my problem , no ones problem as their territory is mixed and they are ignored or welcomed. the greater warren includes top quality park ( the buns and mr McGregor have an understanding), "wasteland", sports club, hedges n edges, sssi salad grazing, spinney and i assume the odd bit of garden. good location as most of it is fairly flood proof unless it gets very very damp. they are prey for foxey, raptors and sometimes feed a hound or two ( not mine, although the buns have played "nicely" while we saunter casually to them and say hello ucap, counting coup on the local bunnies makes up for lots of elmer phudd moments with some very smart bunnies Twisted Evil )
as an observation on bunny behaviour, if you act harmless but acknowledge them from a distance if they catch your eye it is then possible to bimble about ignoring them until they are within reach. covering most of the distance from there to them using fieldcraft does speed it up Laughing
bunny greeting is open to ethical debate , imho is a rather neat way to train hounds to not disturb wildlife when pottering about ( and how to make sure there is dinner if necessary )
anecdote not data but there seem less bees than last year, similar range of spp. but less numbers, maybe i was playing builder rather than looking Rolling Eyes
buzzy

Oh dpack! You have made my day by using the word 'bimble'.

One of my late father's favourite words, and I've not heard it, let alone seen it written down, since he died.

Henry
dpack

Cool dpack

as the first of the blackberries are ripening, good crop this year, i would have expected fruit keen wasps, a fraction of lasts years count so far.

a damp start and then a dry mid year might not suit em.
might be something else, insect food seems to have been ok for the birds who go for that in spring/early summer.

anecdote not data but i recon less bees, wasps and hoverflies this year ( visiting my tiny strip yard )
butterflies quite a few, bit short on moths. (ditto)
birds doing rather well (ditto)
Mistress Rose

Have seen a fair number of bumble bees, hornets, butterflies, horse flies and mosquitoes. Seem to be quite a few moths coming in the house at night. Not seen too many wasps, but more coming round now. We tend to see them more at this time of year when they start going onto the fruit. Ty Gwyn

Well I got stung last week by the biggest wasp I`ve ever seen the bugger was 1 1/4in,caught me just under my rib cage as I was bending over a feed bag filling a bucket,


A week before on a TB test i was doing i noticed this huge fly on the steers back,this was 1 1/2in long,even the Vet had`nt seen one,but mentioned someone had brought into the surgery one similar,this one got squissed,i noticed on a farming forum it was a Giant dark horsefly,never seen one in my life before.
dpack

i never want to meet a horsefly the size of a hornet Rolling Eyes

that could need celox and a tourniquet.
sean

One of the juvenile sparrows has taken to hopping in through the french windows to pick up crumbs from under the dining table. Smile dpack

Laughing

our local ones are confident enough to treat me as a harmless and sometimes bountiful part of the environment outside. so far none have popped in for a snack.
gz

Out for a bike ride today from Southerness near Dumfries..saw a curlew flying low across the road in front of us.
Then in the Mabie Forest between New Abbey and Beeswing,a goshawk going through trees at speed, also crossing the road. It made riding up the hills worth it!
Jam Lady

I generally don't have much of a reaction to wasp / yellow jacket / bee sting. While weeding last Thursday I got bitten on the inside of my right forearm by - I guess - a spider. Red and swollen over an area about the size of my hand. Itching / burning. Took an antihistamine, applied a topical antihistamine ointment, ice 20 minutes on / 20 minutes off. Took two days to clear up. dpack

we have something that lives in the water meadow salad which i assume to be a fairly small spider by the bite

i thought the back of my hand was going to split .

topical pain relief and antihistamines is never wasted on such a challenge

hope no long term damage.
Mistress Rose

I didn't know British spiders were venomous enough to do that much damage. There are some nasty flies around though. I am glad to say that our hornets haven't bothered with us at all, although they come hawking round our yard. They are very beautiful with pink legs and orange and black bodies. Can't miss them. dpack

no gnt it was a uk native, york has been cosmopolitan for quite a while. whatever it was it had a fairly nasty venom. the tiny fang marks were less than a mm apart and the initial nip was sharp but no more than a thistle spine in intensity. for the next 12 hrs or so it just got nastier and took a couple of weeks to recover to a normal shape and colour.

a few years ago i had a fiddle back on my doorstep in huddersfield. i recon that came out of a parcel Rolling Eyes

a chum who sells world music instruments has had some interesting stowaways. always hoover a dige before trying it Wink Laughing Laughing Laughing
Mistress Rose

They used to import bananas through Portsmouth and some interesting spiders were found as stowaways there. Think Southampton has that joy now. dpack

barri had a specialist spiderman, iirc there is a colony of yellow scorpions at sheerness docks etc etc . Shane

barri had a specialist spiderman, iirc there is a colony of yellow scorpions at sheerness docks etc etc .
Indeed there is!
Mistress Rose

Amazing photos. sgt.colon

Ugly buggers aren't they!

Love that last shot of the moon.
buzzy

Just seen a blackish Grey Squirrel climbing through the hedge and apparently eating unripe Haws. I think it was the type with the mixed gene, so not the pure black type, but rather the 'brownish-black' one. First sighting this year.


Henry
gz

Went out on a bike ride a few days ago,it seemed the day for raptors..first a sparrowhawk being mobbed by a couple of dozen swallows,then a buzzard and a red kite seeming to have a territorial dispute dpack

kite buzzard , similar dinner so a dispute seems likely.

york's city carnivore birds are a bit smaller.
SH, K,Peri.

the latter seemed to have 3 chicks from 2 families last year.
this year i have seen one chick out learning with a parent.

that might be lack of suitable watching , afaik we have quite a few. tall church , tall cliff who cares if there are pigeons nearby?. Smile

we have owls as well. mostly barn owls although there are others
Mistress Rose

I haven't seen it, but the peregrine could be about again as I have found feathers down the garden a couple of times lately, so could be from a couple of ex-pigeons. Mistress Rose

Found some cudweed yesterday, Gnaphalium uliginosum. It was where I had found it before, but couldn't find any last year so was afraid it had died out. Also found some guelder rose last weekend in the coup we cut last year, which I was very please about as it seems to have died out in it's previous home, and we have only one or two in the whole woods.

Also think there is a buzzard rearing young near our yard because of the odd noises made.
gz

Where we were mowing yesterday has plenty of Buddleia bushes..but not one Peacock butterfly this year. Just plenty of Black Veined Whites.

They did have plenty of small birds, chaffinches, siskins, sparrows, greenfinches..she does feed them.
The forestry around them was clear felled last year.
buzzy

They'd be Green-veined Whites, I think. Smile


Henry
Jam Lady

Roadside cleanup crew at work.

sgt.colon

What bird is that Jam Lady? Jam Lady

It is a black vulture, sgt. colon. Big birds - wing spread is 55 to 60 inches. We also have turkey vultures which have red head and neck. Mistress Rose

We tend to get magpies and crows which are quite a lot smaller than that Jam Lady. They still seem to do the job though. dpack

we do have buzzards, not as big but a bit scary if they mistake snoozing in the sun for carrion Rolling Eyes and ravens which are pretty big as corvids go but are utterly charming and rather clever. kites are a decent size and thanks to some good folk have made something of a comeback from nearly extinct in the uk, they were common street birds in medieval york.

the uk is a bit short of huge carrion avians, we have a couple of hunters that could do beagle eagle or an owl with a pussycat. Laughing
Jam Lady

I don't know just what you are asking me about / referring to, dpack. I've seen great horned owls, wing span 3 to 5 feet. There are bald eagles near here on the Delaware River, wing span 6 to 7.5 feet. Mistress Rose

I think Dpack was adding to the list of carrion eaters that we have in the UK. You seem to do things a lot bigger in the US, perhaps because the distances are so much greater. Those great horned owls and bald eagles must be massive birds.

Continuing on the same lines as Dpack, I forgot the ravens, buzzards and kites. We see them in the wood, and I think we may have a buzzards nest near where we work as I can hear a sound that I can't fit with any other bird.
dpack

yep i was just comparing what we have with those rather charming vultures, i spose our kites are about the same size.

iirc size is more dependant on temp and available food than on distances , with a mild maritime climate the uk has very few cold adapted animals, the few we have such as arctic hares are considerably larger than their warmer climate rellies brown hares.

the effect of people on large critters is quite important , hunting dinner for the village and especially farming/gamekeeping do not favour large " pests " or large meals if they are tasty.
dinner probably does not apply to largish carrion birds/raptors but in the uk they were nearly wiped out by keepers raising shoot birds, we still have a problem with some estates killing protected species
Jam Lady

There is a range of sizes in the local owls and hawks. If there is a niche with suitable food it will be filled. dpack

definitely plenty of scope to adapt to dinner be it vole or bambi.

what i was getting at was that the bigger things are often seen as a pest by humans. a mouse hunter is a pal but if billy bird can potentially lift a lamb or allegedly has a taste for "fine dining" on grouse he has been dealt with as a "problem"Rolling Eyes

as a slight aside i have heard one very credible first hand account that there was at least one puma sized cat wild/feral in the surrey heathland in the 1980's.
even if we have eliminated the bears, aurochs, wolves and lynx etc the odd interesting "menagerie skp" does seem to settle in fairly discretely Laughing

afaik there are few "uk" species that havn't colonised or recolonised since the retreat of the ice, trade has brought a few that will probably be considered "native " before too long.
i could forward a good case for mink now being "native", less than a century of escapes and releases and i recon in some areas there is a fairly stable breeding population .
they alter the watercourse ecology a lot ( dont nest just dont really just dont ).
it seems likely that they are with us for the immediate future as are things like muntjak.

uk wildlife is complicated, even the micro critter things and flora are fairly recent colonists. a couple of miles of ice is not an ideal substrate for most species so what we have is mostly arrived in the last 15000 yrs or so.

last known polar bear about 13000 yrs ago but we still have lots of seals Laughing
Mistress Rose

We have a wild cat that we think roams along the South Downs Way around the Hampshire/Sussex border. Husband and son have definitely seen it, and I think I may have done, but thought it was a dog, so not that certain. Have a paw print in mud photographed. It has been seen recently along a track near us, and further along the South Downs Way by someone. The deer get a be nervous when it is in the area. A swamp cat was killed on a road not too far away from us a few years ago. dpack

the visual id thing can be tricky , paw prints are fairly strong data.

deer kills that show the marks of being choked by a big cat with sharp claws and rather big teeth to drop em and then partially eaten cat style is quite compelling as well.
ex fil was deer warden for a huge area of farms, heathland and posh gardens, he thought he had a cat about the size of a puma. he was not unfamiliar with big cats as a hunter but he could also compare the marks to those made by the 2 pet lions down the lane that he gave deer carcases that were not fit for venison. hence being quite specific about cat and puma sized. lion man was also convinced after seeing a kill site but was rather keen to point out that lion kills look rather different, their teeth were 2 times the size of the ones on kills and his two have an alibi in their secure compound.
they tried many things to see if they could "meet" it but never got closer than a rustle of bushes a few times and finding prints/kills . ( it was quite amusing in a moby dick sort of way, he was called dick just to add to the amusement of a chap hunting a "personal "beast, that didn’t go down well Twisted Evil )
he said there was a big pussy eating deer i believe it he had many faults but in some things he was stunningly realistic and the forensics were very compelling.

iirc the keeping "dangerous" animals laws of the late 1970's led to quite a few being set free to avoid the costs of zoo quality security etc.
as there are so few well documented examples now it seems unlikely there is a breeding population of big cats but folk do still have "hidden tiger" etc as status pets so a few getting loose is possible and would explain relatively isolated, shortish timescale ( more than a couple of years is unusual ) sightings and encounters.
imho most reports are mistaken id but a few have beyond reasonable dought data ( if the data is true ).
that does beg the question of why are there no trophies on walls? if i wanted something shot ex fil would be a good candidate for a trigger man, he didnt get his one.
it does seem a bit unusual that active measures and road traffic have not provided a specimen and most of the photos are open to interpretation. afaik there is no reliable fur or dung sample analysis data, etc

re mistaken id my wolf was mistaken for a bear when he said hello to a couple in the woods Laughing and i know of a GSD shaved for mange treatment that caused a lion panic by pottering about with a mane and tail tuft Laughing Laughing Laughing
Mistress Rose

Son agrees with the source being the 1970s law, but he thinks there might be a small breeding colony. There have been sightings round here for a very long time. The latest was by a man walking his dog in a green lane quite near our woods, and both he and the cat were quite surprised by the encounter I think. It seems to range along the south downs way, so has a pretty large territory.

Changing the subject rather, we went our with some people doing a bat survey of our woods last night. Packed up early at about 11.30pm as we all had other things to do this morning. Caught 2 natterer bats; one male one female, a pipestrelle and a brown long eared bat and detected a soprano pipestelle and a serotine. We got a score of 6 last year, so not too bad, and very dependent on how they feel that evening. Nothing spectacular, but shows a healthy woodland anyway.
dpack

long duration visitations would indicate more than one generation or multiple releases , i can see no reason why some cat species could not thrive in the uk. the geographic ranges of quite a few are similar enough to the uk in climate, food types etc etc.

iirc we had medium and large pussys in the past, some were "native" between the retreat of the ice and the establishment of farming so the environment can be suitable

a quick check revealed that several have been captured, shot or found dead these all seem to have been released/escaped and your downland ones are quite famous if rather elusive.
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