Saturday, 23 March 2013

More Lardies

Following on from yesterdays update, I woke this morning like most of you did to find a white out. Spring is certainly here (I don't think) I thought it best to go down the hide and put some food down, its tough for the birds at the minute. So plenty of wild bird food, sunflower hearts, peanuts and a nice half of Squirrel for the Buzzards. It was bitterly cold and I did not intend staying long, but when the birds start to come it is difficult to drag yourself away. It was good fun watching the continuos struggles as the birds tried to out do each other and exert their authority over their rivals. After about an hour a smile came to my face, the reason was because our Moorhen has a new mate. You may recall how I found one of the pair dead, probably killed by a Sparrow Hawk, It could be this new mate is one of last years offspring.

Happy couple.

Plenty of photo opportunities of the usual species, and I took quite a few, but this next image I really like.


My time is never wasted while the Peckers are about and they were great fun today, so I make no apologies for posting another video clip of them. I will try not to get too boring with these, but they are difficult to ignore, I hope you agree.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Lard Arses

Well you don'r need me to tell you how bad the weather is/has been, it really is starting to get me down now. My plans to photograph the Hares is on the back burner, they are keeping their heads down, Spring is delayed I'm afraid. I did venture down my hide yesterday for a few hours though, there were plenty of the usual species about and the bickering between them is certainly getting to fever pitch as they each try to dominate the pecking order. Plenty of signs about that tell me they are pairing up and looking for territories also, I even found a pair of Long-Tailed tits in the process of building a nest, I will try and bring more of that to you soon. There were two Buzzards flying low over the patch when I arrived, but as usual they drifted off as I walked to my hide. Shame really as I had just stopped to pick up a rabbit road kill for them. 

I put some food around my feeding station and sat back to see what came to visit, it wasn't long before the Greater Spotted Woodpeckers paid a visit, flitting between the lard and the peanuts.


Here is a short video showing what they were up to. Lard arses.

What I did notice was two different females, I am guessing that these might be the chicks from last breeding season, I hope so anyway. At one point there were three GSW's feeding at one time so its looking good for their breeding programme down the patch this year.

It was interesting watching them with the peanuts, if they took one of the free offering, i.e. a whole nut, they would instantly fly away to a favourite tree behind the pond in canal spinney and wedge it into a crack in the tree eat it that way.

Whole nut.

If they had taken a piece from the nut feeder they would lodge it into a self created ledge so they could peck at it better. I know I have not explained that too well, but from the following still image and the next video clip you will see exactly what I mean.

I hope to bring you more images and video of  these wonderful birds throughout the coming season and hopefully their chicks.

Just as I was about to pack up a Wren appeared after just having a bath in the pond, it sat preening a while before having a forage around for food.


Here is a short video clip of my new friend.

I decided to look at a Little Owl box I had sited last year on my way back to the car, last year a Great tit nested in it can you believe, I was hoping for better this year.

The Little Owl box.

You can see from the scratching etc below the opening that this was caused by something a little larger than a Great tit, on closer inspection I was pleased and surprised to see Owl pellets at the base of the tree below the box. Is it being used for roosting in the day, or has a Tawney Owl moved in? I will let you know when I find out.

Owl pellets.

Not a bad couple of hours on a miserable day. See you soon.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Owls about a new home.

Following on from my hectic day at the Manor tree planting, I decided to finally get around to a job I had been meaning to do for a few weeks now before it gets too late. Pete (the farmer) has kindly aloud me to use his land and barns for Bird watching etc, you may remember an earlier post where we sited a Barn Owl box last year, well we are now siting another in a different barn. The original box has had some interest but we wanted to give them a choice if needed. So having transported my bench saw, drill, screws and nails, the wood was supplied by Pete, I set to work knocking up a Barn Owl box. After an hour or so, you can see the results of my labour below, yes I know its not great, who do you think I am Barry Bucknall.

What is Pete doing?

Now we know.

Boys will be boys aye, what Pete will do when a Pigeon stars to build in there does not bare thinking about, but if he rings me soon to say I have some Buzzard food for you, I might have a pretty good idea. I know that this box is not as up market as the one my mate Kev made for me, but the Owl won't be too worried I'm sure.

Poser Pete.

Now I know from the next few images it will look like Pete is doing all the work, but I can assure you its not true, although he did climb the ladder a few times though. This barn looks like it has not seen any cattle for some time, but Pete tells me there will be some in there this year. Although he never admits to it he is a great fan of Jeramy Kyle and so usually he is nowhere to be seen in the afternoons, it would take a lot of work to get the barn ready for beast so I won't hold my breath.

After siting the Barney box, I set to at making a Little Owl box, we know there are a number of these lovely creatures about and it is one of my projects this year to try and study this species and bring you some images of this little beauty.

He's at it again look. The Little Owl box.

All that was left now was to chose a site. I already had one in mine around the back of the farm, but Pete preferred the side of the barn where  it could be seen from the farm house, he could keep his eye on it, I assume the other will be on Jeremy.

Come on you Little Owls.

Monday, 4 March 2013

From Little Oaks

Today, land owner Joe Goddard and me set out to plant a few tree's in Manor House spinney. Each year I get a few tree's presented to me in exchange for doing a Wildlife talk at a Brockshill Country park.

Native species, mainly Oak with a few Horse Chestnuts now and again. These tree's are only small but ideal for out needs around my patch.

Oak & Horse Chestnut.

As you can see from the next image the spinney is getting rather sparse in some places, we hope to sort this for future generations, we plant about a dozen tree's each year, which doesn't seem a lot, but over a ten year period it equates to 120 new trees.

Joe is a great lover of nature in all its forms and is alway seen working on something or other around his land. I am indebted to him for allowing me the privilege of sharing it with him.
Joe likes to plant trees when possible next to an old removed tree stump, the new tree will feed off the rotting old stump and hopefully thrive. Cookie as you can see is never far from Joe's side.

Joe in action planting a small Oak.

While planting our next tree, we heard a scurry behind us, it was Cookie in full pursuit. We called but he ignored us, after a while we saw what he was after, a Pheasant. He was carrying it in his jaws, Joe said "Cookie leave" at which point Cookie dropped the bird. 

We assumed it was dead as it was lifeless, Cookie looked on. As we were discussing whether it would be a meal for Sue & Joe or the Buzzard it moved. It must have been stupefied momentarily, the only problem now was as soon as it moved Cookie was back on the prowl again.

Joe called him off and the Pheasant was away like a shot, a lucky old Pheasant if you ask me.

Here Cookie.

As we finished off the planting, I asked Joe if he would pose behind one of the Oaks,of course he agreed, we spoke about how good it would be to see it in a 100 years time, better still if I could take the picture as well, that would be nice aye.

Joe with the Lock house behind.

As we arrived back at the house we spoke again (yes we have ideas but don't always get around to completing them) about fixing a perch over the pond for the Kingfisher, we both agree its a good idea and decided we need to get the boat out and drive the perch in from the water side. I will let you know when we complete this mammoth task.

The Pond.

After a brew and scone, and a nice chat back at the house, it was time to leave, as I walked to my car I looked at the old barn and realised that  it won't be too long now before the Swallows will arrive back from Africa to start the their whole life cycle over again. Not long to Spring now, I can't wait.

The old Swallow barn.