Adders, udders and Exmoors

Tom PoniesWell, it has been a while since I’ve done a blog (hopefully no one’s noticed but I have been on holiday!) and I’ve had a few days with the grazing team, in between more litter picking and other estate management related jobs. TomPonies2

I was involved with moving our 6 Exmoor ponies from the grazing enclosure at Arden’s to an enclosure at Lone Oak.

Here they are at Lone Oak, drinking from one of the pools and mingling with the Woodlarks.

Going out with the grazing team does mean that I get to a few places that I otherwise wouldn’t, including Windy Ridge. The other day we came across this striking male Adder! TomAdderThis is the first Adder I’ve seen on the Forest (still waiting for Dartford Warbler!!!) and this one is trying to climb a garden wall – he did eventually find a hole to shoot into.

The Adder was at Windy Ridge and that is where our Hebridean Lambs are. They are still getting to know the world and here are some finding out what a twig is. TomLambsThey are still reliant on milk from their mothers (hence the udders reference in the title of the blog) and after the ewes have eaten their pellets there is a period of loud bleating from all the sheep as they are reunited.

I am trying to get to know my moths a bit better and not one to pass up an opportunity, here is a Maiden’s Blush TomMaidensBlush(thanks to iSpot for identifying it for me) that landed in the wheel of one of our tractors while we were having lunch.

In another unlikely spot, here is one of the more colourful day-flying moths, a Cinnabar Moth! This one was just at the entrance to our dump on a dock stalk. I always think it’s worth reiterating if you find a black and yellow stripped caterpillar it’s probably one of these and DO NOT PICK IT UP! You will get a rash from it! This moth extracts the toxins from its food-plant, Ragwort, and uses them as a defence against predators. TomCinnabar

All good fun as we continue through 2014 (how are we halfway through May already?).

That’s all for now,

Tom Simon

Countryside Worker