Thursday, 16 December 2010


We have a marvellous hedge of honeysuckle and this year it has again produced a terrific show culminating in a mass of berries.    I photographed the berries on 9th August and they were completely stripped by the end of the month mainly by bullfinches and blackbirds and one juvenile robin tried to help out!!!    To give an indication of the amount of berries cconsumed - the hedge is about fifteen metres long and a metre high and wide.

Fallow deer.

I am an early riser but on 12th June this year I was woken by some strange noises.    At twenty to five I was looking out of our bedroom window across the road to my neighbour's garden where the were six fallow deer, two of which were breakfasting on one of his apple trees.    My camera was downstairs so I hurriedly dressed and was just in time to get two quick, distance shots as they crossed the road.    They seemed to be making for a maize field and some twenty minutes later I managed to get two further quick shots as they went on their way.     Still trying to get to grips with the new camera the pictures are not best quality. 

The enforced summer break.

My trusty little Ricoh camera refused to take any more photos so after much deliberation I purchased a Fuji bridge super zoom.    Furthermore on a visit to the Rutland Bird Fair with my son I bought a ProStalk nature camera.    Apart from numerous rabbits, pheasants and a rat or two the only two interesting subjects are a tawny owl twice flying through the camera detection zone and on another occasion a polecat/ferret drinking from a birdbath.    The videos are not good enough quality to post even if I knew how to do it!!!.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Back in harness.

21st May 2009

3rd June 2010
After a long break for various reasons that I am not going to bore you with I'm back with some unfinished business.     I had a number of photos to illustrate the late spring in this area but I will use two to put the matter to rest.    Two photos show one of our favourite trees - an elderly laburnum which always puts on a great display.     But as the pictures show this year was a disaster.    With the late the late spring it would probably have survived  but late frosts put paid to the flowers.    Flower strings formed but with exception of about a dozen all perished.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Late Spring

Two photographs taken from more or less the same spot illustrating this year's late spring. The first photo was taken on 18th April 2010. Looking through my library I found the second photograph which was taken on 18th April 2007 - quite a difference!!! Looking through other blogs it seems that in this particular locality we are trailing by upto two weeks. For instance whilst other bloggers are showing bluebells there is no sign of any flower buds, never mind actual flowers. Three days of glorious warm sunshine and today we are back to square one with cloud and a very chilly wind. Better days to come hopefully!!!

Monday, 12 April 2010

Near disaster!! wildlife pond.

About ten days ago there was evidence (hoof prints and droppings) that we had an overnight visit from a pair of muntjac but there was no apparent damage to plants, shrubs or trees. However about that time I was blaming our army of resident rabbits for grazing the young growth of the dwarf bullrushes. Several days after the visit and coinciding with strong blustery winds I noticed that the water level was falling but could not see or find any reason why. A 'hands and knees' eaxamination eventually revealed a hole (concealed by foliage) adjacent to the grazed bullrushes and at long last my brain clicked into gear!! I have carried out a patch job and topped up the water level and I am now closely monitoring the situation with fingers crossed that there is no further damage lower down which at present could be hidden by silt in the bottom.
I am pleased to say that in the brief earlier sunshine I counted twelve newts - now it is a matter of waiting to see what has happened to dragonfly nymphs and other aquatic life.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Love them or hate them?

On a sunny morning last week I was trying to complete a garden job and had not bothered to take my camera with me - the inevitable happened and I met these two characters. Following the recent cold weather and snow it set me wondering about their lifestyles and how they manage to survive. We complain about the cold but think about these tiny creatures - how do they survive?

Zebra Spider also known as a 'jumping spider'. It is about 6mm in length and despite the fact that it is widespread in the British Isles it is frequently overlooked because of its small size. The favoured habitat is a sunny spot on walls or rocks and is also to be found in houses!!! It stalks its prey and will tackle insects much larger than itself by jumping gaps and obstacles. It does not spin a web but in an emergency it can produce a thread to prevent itself falling should it misjudge the distance. The fascinating thing about this spider is that it has four pairs of eyes!!! The front pair are the main eyes and each pair gets smaller towards tthe rear. In my photograph you can clearly see the front pair and the second pair are less obvious.

Velvet Mite is about 3mm in length and should not be confused with the Red Spider Mite. Again because of its small size it is frequently overlooked despite being widespread in the British Isles. The larvae attach themselves to a suitable host probably a grasshopper or harvestman, feeding for several days before dropping off and burrowing underground eventually emerging as adults and living in soil and in particular bare, stoney ground scavenging for food mainly insect eggs.

These photographs are from my library - I took the vevet mite on 21st April 2008 and the zebra spider on 2nd May 2008.

Finally apologies to any arachnophobes but I stress they are harmless.
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Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Setting the scene.

I live with my wife and our 'rescue dog' in South Lincolnshire. The dog appears in the profile simply because she is more photgenic than I am and she is also 'the boss'!!!

Welcome and thank you for visiting my blog - it will mainly concern widlife in our garden and immediate local area which is predominantly limestone. Our garden is approximately half an acre - long and narrow running from our house northwards. The east boundary is an unclassifed single track road which also borders the northern boundary passing under the main east coast railway line and that in turn forms the western boundary. Hope that makes sense but the railway line is important in that it forms an important bird migratory route in spring and autumn. Shrubs and trees on the embankments provide cover and nesting sites. High speed trains provide 'kills' (mainly pheasants but an occasional deer) which attract frequent visits from red kites. Finally I visit a number of local Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust sites and they will figure from time to time in future posts.