Friday, 18 November 2011

ProStalk camera.

Last year I reported that I had purchased a ProStalk camera which gave very good results for some ten months and then started to malfunction.     I decided to upgrade to a ProStalk PC 5000.    This camera has given very good results and I am showing just two here.    The first is simply to illustrate the problem with magpies which are reponsible in my area for the loss of numerous song birds'nests.    The second one I found very interesting in that I was puzzled by the fox staring at something.    I believe that I have now solved the mystery and I will show that result in a later post.  

Wednesday, 16 November 2011


For many years at least two pairs of swallows each raised one, two and sometimes three broods each year in my neighbour and friend's garage.   Sadly he passed away in April three years ago - apart from a cursory visit the swallows did not return to the garage.    It was the same story in 2009 and 2010.   We live in a very rural area and it was noticeable that there was no reduction in the number of swallows flying around the area culminating in families congregating on overhead cables at the end of the season.     In late March and early April this year it was a completely different scenario with quite a number flying in and out of the garage in what can only be described as 'excited anticipation' and happily 'chattering away' to each other - the attitude was completely different to that of the previous three years.    Unfortunately due to my wife's illness I was not able to monitor their activities but at the end of July I was able to get a quick photo literally minutes before the brood of four fledged.     To the right of this nest there is a second but at the time of the photo there was no sign of any activity - nineteen days later another brood of four fledged.     A story tinged with sadness and happiness which raises a number of questions to which I have no answers. 

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Sparrow hawk

 On the last day of the last cricket test match my wife shouted from the dining room "come here, quick".  Leaving the tv I went to her and saw that she was pointing to something outside the window and grabbed my camera which was close by.     It seems that the bird had crashed into the window rather heavily and was perched on a wall close to the window.    It was obviously disorientated and confused.      I managed eight pics(one was blurred) leaving me these seven.

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Baack in harness(2)

My wife has endured over five months in hospital and has survived two major operations and a massive heart attack - happily she is now back at home but facing a long period of recuperation.    One brave, courageous lady.    Hopefully I can now resume blogging but keeping a watchful eye on her.   She has had a long interest in bats and is now pursuing that interest with our one hundred plus colony.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Big Garden Birdwatch.

This year's count compared with the previous four.
Column (a) 28.01.07.
Column (b) 27.01.08.
Column (c) 25.01.09.
Column (d) 31.01.10.
Column (e) 30.01.11.
                                    (a)     (b)     (c)     (d)     (e)
Blackbird                        7       2        4       4       7
Blue tit                           10     12       9       5      11
Chaffinch                         7       7       6      11       6
Coal tit                            0       1       2        1       2
Collared dove                  2      7        5        3       5
Dunnock                          5      3        2        3       5
Great tit                          13    14        8        6     12
Greenfinch                        9    16      10        7       4
Goldfinch                          8    11      13       12     12
House sparrow                14   17        7       14     14
Long-tailed tit                    0     8       12      10     12
Magpie                             2     4         1        0       0
Robin                               6     6         4        3       4
Starling                             0     0         0        0       6
Woodpigeon                     2     0         2        0       0
Bullfinch                            2     0         2        0       2
Tree sparrow                    9      3        2        2       5
Song thrush                       1      0        1        1       0
Fieldfare                          15      0        0        0       7
Redwing                          11      0        0        0       3
Pheasant                            1      1        1        5       1
Wren                                 2      0        1        1       1
G.S.woodpecker               2      2        2        2       1
Goldcrest                           2      0        0        0       0
Sparrow hawk                    1      1        1       0        0
Brambling                           2      0        2       3        2
Siskin                                 2       0       0       0        2
Linnet                                 4       3       0       0        0
Marsh tit                             1       1       1       1        1
Willow tit                            0       0       0       0        1
Crow                                  0       0       2       0        0
Kestrel                                0       0       1       0        0
Blackcap                             0       0       0       0        1

Greenfinch figures give cause for concern but this fact has been well ducumented over recent years.     Whilst my figures do not show any feeding station numbers decline I am concerned about numbers over the last two years in my area, where long-tailed tits are concerned.    Upto autumn 2009  on a daily basis I was seeing in the region of 40 to 45 early morning as they worked their way along the railway embankment and again late afternoon as they made their return journey(no pun intended!!!)    Each time perhaps a dozen would divert to the feeding station staying for a few minutes before rejoining the tailend of the main group.    During autumn and winter months three or four families will combine feeding/ roosting together.     During the last two winters I have not seen these family groups.   The long-tailed tit is one of my favourite birds and I am fascinated  by the way they continually 'chatter' to each other - they are a very sociable bird and I have never seen them resort to fisticuffs unlike goldfinches who are regularly  quarrelling for example.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Garden Butterflies - 2010.

A list of the butterflies seen in our garden during 2010.

                                         Small white
                                         Large white
                                         Orange tip
                                          Green-veined white
                                           Large skipper
                                           Small skipper
                                           Meadow brown
                                           Painted lady
                                           Speckled wood
                                           Common blue
                                           Holly blue
                                           Red admiral
                                           Small tortoiseshell
                                           Small copper

                                          A modest list but nevertheless very pleasing to us.


Thursday, 20 January 2011

Fallow Deer (again!!)

This shot was taken on 27th December last when six fallow deer wandered passed or dining room window late in the afternoon obviously searching for food and they seemed to enjoy the haws and sloes lying on the ground under the bushes.    It was a mad scramble to find my camera and get into a position without spooking them and I only managed three (possibly four) in this only remotely possible shot.  

Yesterday five wandered passed again and as usual I was totally unprepared but managed three individual shots.    In my defence it is obvious that I have not yet mastered the art of  shooting at an angle through double glazing and at a distance from the window, to say nothing of avoiding sudden movement and preventing 'the boss' trying to get in the act - it certainly adds interest to the exercise!!!

What is it?

On Monday my wife was driving into town and spotted this object which we believe is from the fungi world.    Later the same day I went to take two shots.   It is about eighteen feet from the ground and appears to be growing from a long established hole in the trunk of an ash tree.    My fungi knowledge is zero so much so that I would be reluctant to pick field mushrooms with any certainty!!

Monday, 10 January 2011

Happy New Year

to one and all - better late than never!!!

For as long as I can remember, with the advent of a new year I always look for signs of Spring - not for early or late seasons but simply to convince myself that Spring is on the way and Mother Nature has not forgotten us.    It may be some weeks away but these signs do help to lighten the spirits and lift the gloom.    The signs so far to name but a few - catkins on alder and hazel, buds on cherry trees and horse chestnut trees, birds starting to display in particular dunnocks and robins and blackbirds pairing.    In the past I have found nests with eggs of blackbirds mid January but I dont think that will happen this year.

I have not seen any hares on my patch since last October but yesterday I saw two racing round a winter wheat field.    However the highlight of the day was the sighting of eight buzzards circling overhead at a height almost beyond the vision of the naked eye.

All good signs for me but I readily appreciate that it will be a different story north and south of my patch.   No pics on this occasion I'm afraid.