Sunday, 29 April 2012

Sparrowhawks Sunday Supper....29/04/2012

A young male Sparrowhawk enjoyed a late supper meal on the lawn in my front garden this evening. One less Blackbird in my garden now! I hope the feathers left on the lawn will be put to good use by nestings birds. To have such good views of this stunning bird is a real treat!
Looking a little guilty?
With his appetite sated he rested for a minute or two then suddenly took flight, what a bird!

Friday, 27 April 2012

Sometimes.......

I sometimes get a mental block trying to think of a title, tonight I have had one of those 'sometimes' moments! Anyway, I thought I would post a few images that I have taken whilst out on a couple of recent walks taken in between the very wet and windy showers we have had this last week! . . My first sighting of a Mum and her Foal in 2012.
Mute Swan (Cob) off for a swim!
Mute Swan (Pen) keeping her 6 eggs warm. She had a walk around when the sun shone....yes it did shine occasionally...and the eggs were visible. I hope they all stay safe.
I believe this is a Garden Spider.
No need for me to name this bird I am sure, even though the image isn't brill.lol! Great to see them back again, a photo is just a bonus!
Bugle Ajuga reptans
Cream-spot Ladybird
Harlequin Ladybird (I think).
I am not sure what family this Spider is from, maybe Web-Spinning? It was a very tiny spider.

Monday, 23 April 2012

An early walk to miss the showers....21/04/2012

A bright bit cold start to the day with heavy showers forecast for later in the day so I was off bright and early(ish) for a walk around Wassell Grove Fisheries. The usual Tits and Corvids were seen along with Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Swallow x2, Dunnock, Chiffchaff, Blackbird, Wren, Linnet, Starling and the stars of the walk...Blackcaps x3! Two males and one female were in the trees as I was ending my walk. I watched and listened to them for several minutes, the males were in full song and seemingly hoping to win the heart of the female. No contact was made by the two males which was surprising and it all ended amicably when one of the males left leaving the remaining pair in peace. A lovely spectacle to see and hear.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Quackers.... March & April 2012

Early March and a Wren returned to the garden and has been seen several times since, good to see this little bird back again and also a Goldcrest has been present in my garden on a couple of occasions.. The Blackcap was last seen in my garden during the second week of March, a bird I miss seeing feeding on the apples, it was a pleasure having her visit daily! A Bullfinch pair visited briefly during early March and returned earlier this month with another male in tow, a tussle followed with the males and the young pretender fled the garden.lol! A Chaffinch pair and a Goldfinch also visited my garden during early April, both species along with the Bullfinches are occasional visitors so very nice to see. Blue Tits have been nesting for over a week in a nestbox that is on a Silver Birch tree and this week another Blue Tit pair have started nesting in a box on an apple tree, so fingers crossed plenty of fledglings just now! Dunnocks are still doing what dunnocks do and are chasing around the garden like little missiles! Robins appear to be taking food for the female or maybe even chicks and Long-tailed Tits and Starlings are using the feathers from the unfortunate Pigeon that succumbed to a Sparrowhawk kill a few weeks ago. I am so glad I swept the feathers under a conifer hedge and didn't bin them! On Monday of this week I had early morning surprise visitors....a pair of Mallards! They pottered around the garden and then the female had a swim in the fish pond and the male later clambered on the netting covering the pond (which is there to guard against the visits from a Grey Heron) and duly preened for a few minutes! I bet the fish in the pond wondered what on earth was happening.lol! I had visits from Mallards in early Spring several years ago, they alternated between mine and a neighbours garden, so this recent pair are not a first in the garden.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

What a difference a week makes....14/04/2012

The difference being the weather! Last Saturdays attempt at walking around Bunkers Hill Wood was a failure due to the mist and heavy drizzle, uninspiring to say the least! Today it was frosty, sunny and a tad cold, perfect weather, well I prefer hot sunshine but there you go! I headed for the same area that I had walked a couple of weeks ago as it is quieter (people wise),my first encounter was a Coal Tit just ahead of me on the path gathering nesting material and a little further on a Blue Tit had the same in mind. I heard and then spotted a Willow Warbler my first sighting of the year, Robins were the main songsters this morning along with the Blackbirds. I spotted a couple of male Blackcaps chasing each other through the trees, no doubt it was a territorial tussle. Wren and Great Tit were other species seen in the first part of the walk. As I walked up the hill to the much quieter part of the wood I was delighted to see a Goldcrest pair busily searching for insects and a Great Spotted Woodpecker was heard drumming, I was later to catch sight of the GSW. Surprisingly this part of the wood was quiet, I had watched a pair of Blue Tits taking nesting material in to a hole in one of the Silver Birches on my previous visit but for the life of me I couldn't locate the tree. With the growth of the vegetation and some of the trees in leaf the area was vastly changing. I lingered for quite a while but no sign of any Blue Tits or any other bird for that matter so I made tracks for the bridleway and smaller wood. A Skylark was up high in the sky singing as I scanned the fields for Wheatear and also in the vain hope of a Ring Ouzel, I was to see neither species. I walked the perimeter of the wood for a change as it overlooks arable and pasture lands. A pair of Yellowhammers flew quickly past me as they headed towards the Pig Farm, I lost track of them once they had landed though the cute little piglets grabbed my attention for a couple of minutes. I was really pleased to see a Barn Swallow had arrived back to the area, I spotted it hawking over a distant field, just the one but uplifting to see. Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Long-tailed Tit, Pied Wagtail, Linnet, Wren, House Sparrow, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard x2 and Hen Pheasant x2 were other species seen along the way. I thoroughly enjoyed my 'Saturday Solitude' walk today! I almost forgot to mention that several Chiffchaffs were also seen and heard...bless em! The first image is the only one I managed of a Chiffchaff and there were so many of them too!
16th April. Brake Mill Pool and Lane. I started my walk at Brake Mill Pool, Mallard, Coot, Moorhen were as usual on and around the water and the Cob Swan was swanning around looking out for the Canada Geese of which two were lazily sunning themselves on a grassy emabankment. I walked up the bridleway which is flanked on either side by paddocks and no matter how hard I scanned I could not pick anything up other than Woodpigeons and Corvids. The paddocks are now awash with Dandelions, very pretty but it does make it a little harder to see the smaller birds amongst them though I am sure there wasn't a Wheatear around! A small flock of Linnets were seen several times along with Great and Blue Tit, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Robin and a delightful Goldfinch perched in a tree in full song! On the way back to my car I was really chuffed to see a Barn Swallow skimming the Pool, the sighting made my day! I headed off to Brake lane to have a scan of the fields. My first sighting was a distant Buzzard perched on a fence post, I walked up the Public Footpath to see if I could get a closer look at the Buzzard and on the way scan the fields. A pair of Yellowhammers were a delight to see perched along the hedgerow, looking stunning in the sunshine. I managed closer binocular views of the Buzzard and watched as it flew from post to post occasionally, I think they are a super looking bird that command such presence! A pair of Ravens were perched not too far away from the Buzzard, they occasionally took flight making their 'kronking' call as they did so. Skylark, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit and Robin were the only other species seen on my brief (well 45 minutes or so) walk. Wildflowers seen today were Lesser Celandine, Dead Head Nettle, Bluebell, Spring Beauty and plenty of Dandelion!

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Warks W T Brandon Marsh Nature Reserve....08/04/2012

An enjoyable day was spent at Brandon Marsh and the weather was good too with sunny spells and just a couple of short drizzle showers. Highlights were: On the journey Buzzard and kestrel. Brandon Marsh: Reed Bunting, Bullfinch, Long-tailed Tit, Blackcap, Robin, several Chiffchaff were seen and heard around the reserve along with Willow Warbler but the latter were heard only, Pied Wagtail, Barn Swallow, Sand Martin, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Redshank, Little Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Teal, Tufted Duck, Common Snipe, Shoveler, Gadwall, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose and a lone Barnacle Goose, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Buzzard and Sparrowhawk. Cetti's Warbler were heard frequently around the reserve and I had my best ever sighting of one as it perched on a branch singing it's little heart out! Green Woodpecker was heard only. Marsh Marigold, Common Dog-violet, Lesser Celandine and Cowslip were delightful splashes of colour along with the blossoms on the trees and shrubs. Smooth Newt and Great Crested Newt were seen in the Dipping Pond with the latter being an especially pleasing sight to see. .