Friday, 18 December 2009

Buzzards, Heron, Lapwing etc

(above, a Heron with 2 accompanying Buzzards)

The fine but cold weather today brought out a whole host of different birds onto the field to the rear of our house. Part of the particular attraction today was no doubt due to the farmer having very recently put slurry onto the field! We saw Buzzards (total of 11 at one time), a Heron, Redwings, at least 1 Fieldfare, Mistle and Song Thushes and (for the first time) several Lapwings, as well as the more usual Blackbirds and Starlings. Unfortunately none got too close, but here are a collection of photo's to "set the scene".

(above, some Lapwings; below a Redwing, and right, the Heron)

Wednesday, 16 December 2009


Now that Winter is well and truly here, so are some of our regular Winter visitors, including the Redwing. They arrive with us from Scandinavia and/or Russia from mid November and the numbers gradually increase to the point where sizeable flocks can be seen scouring the fields, normally looking for worms or occasionally picking off berries from the trees.

They are our smallest Thrush, and despite their colouration, can be surprisingly difficult to see when on the ground. Unfortunately they are very wary and the slightest movement will make them take to the air, so getting close for a photo is very difficuly, and despite repeated attempts I have yet to get a good clear shot.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Wood Mouse

With the weather turning cold, thoughts turn to our loft, or more precisely the arrival of a temporary resident or two! Like many houses in rural areas on cold nights, we tend to get the patter of tiny feet (although from below it sounds more like hob-nail boots) in the loft. These particular feet belong to the Wood Mouse (aka Field Mouse) seeking somewhere warm to spend the Winter nights.

Not being one to kill our guests we had set humane traps in the loft some weeks back, and it wasn't too long until we caught one. Because the Wood Mouse has such a huge territory (typically 3 square miles) there is no point in just putting it outside otherwise it will be back in residence in no time. Instead you need to take them at least a mile but prefarably further from the house to be reasonably certain that they don't return. This I have now duly done on no less than 3 occasions, the last being last Thursday.

One has to admire the inginuity of the mice. On checking the trap on one occasion I found it jammed open with loft insulation, and no mouse in sight. From the look of it the mouse had decided it might make a nice home, particularly as there was food at one end of it!

And the best way of getting the mouse into the trap...chocolate. We currently have it baited with an After Eight Mint!

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Yet Another Sunset

What is it about sunsets? They only last a matter of minutes but its probably the most photographed time of day. My excuse, as if I need one, is that this is the first sunset we have seen for about a month!

And I managed to combine it with this overflying Mississippi Air National Guard Boeing KC-135 tanker (the military equivalent of the Boeing 707) , with the last vestiges of the suns rays illuminating the starboard side. Amazingly the pictured aircraft was built in 1957!

Monday, 7 December 2009

Grey Squirrel

Perhaps not the most well loved visitor to the bird feeders, but you have to admire their inginuity. We have 2 so-called Squirrel proof feeders. Well, they are sort of, but as the photo shows, they may be proof against adults, but certainly not against the young....see photo!

Moving on to the adults, we have one or two regular visitors, who between them eat most of the nuts in our one non-squirrel proof feeder. Feeding the birds can get quite expensive!

Friday, 4 December 2009


It's that time of year when the Starlings get together in ever increasing numbers. We now see them in huge flocks on the fields arounds us.
When they are not feeding or performing their airborne ballet, they seem to like residing in some of the neighbouring trees.

Or maybe a quick visit to the birdtable!

Marsh Tit

Easily confused with the much rarer Willow Tit, this is a Marsh Tit. This is the first one we have seen this year. Despite their name they are more likely to be found in woodland as opposed to marshland areas. They are much scarcer than the likes of the Great Tit, Blue Tit, Long Tailed Tit and Coal Tit, so much so that they are on the RSPB's "Red List" of endangered species.