My Patch – June 2017

As you are probably aware, if you are a regular reader, June was dominated by 30 Days Wild. I didn’t actually do many of the 30 Days in my patch which I guess seems a little odd now I look back at it but the Wheat crop is still present and not passable.  

Considering the height of the crop I was lucky to spot 3 Roe Deer running through the field on June 1st, I noticed them at the far back corner as they came out of the copse and managed to watch them for a short while until they ran out of sight. I walked down the track to the side of the field – there were some Rabbits feeding.  

June 4th The Blue Tits have Fledged, the parents are no longer going into the nest. Hopefully they have all fledged successfully.    

The Cuckoo was still calling on June 14th though I haven’t heard it since so I am unsure if it is still here of if it has started its migration.  

On June 15th I tried to get in the copse at the back of the field so that I could make my way to the river.  The stinging nettles are the same height of me so there was no way I was able to get through unless I cut them down.  In a way I am looking forward to later in the year so I can get around easier!

June 21st 10 Swallows were flying over the field and around the road.  

On the last day of June I encountered a very angry Starling! It is a young bird but it takes no nonsense and isn’t afraid to pull feathers out of the adult birds!  It sits in the bird feeder and goes for anyone that tried to feed.  Its defending the food so much that it seems to forget why its there in the first place! 

Collard Dove update – I have seen it in the garden, so can assume it is feeding enough to survive.

My Patch – May 2017

An early start for work on May 6th meant I heard my first Cuckoo! I drive past my patch to get to work and often stop for a few minutes if I have time.  I have now heard the Cuckoo a few times and it appears to have got closer but I’m not convinced its actually in my patch yet!

I have concentrated more on the residential (my friends house and garden) part of my patch this month, the crop has now got quite tall and I am unable to walk amongst it.

May 9th I spotted a Collard Dove that looked a little odd, on closer inspection I discovered that it has a broken beak.  It seemed to be feeding but took longer to pick up food than the other birds.  I’ll be be keeping an eye on it to see how it does as I’m not sure there is anything I can do for it.

On May 10th I wanted to get some images of the Starlings taking food into the roof space.  They were visiting fairly frequently and also removing faecal sacs.  Then their behaviour changed, at first I wondered if it was my presence but I had stood and watched them before with no effect.  One of the adults was taking food to the nest entrance, calling and then flying to the top of the roof calling again, this pattern continued for the next 20mins I continued to watch.  Once it was getting dark I left but apparently the calling continued, I believe they were trying to call their young out of the nest.

May 15th I believed the Starlings to have fledged, although I hadn’t seen any! The adults seemed to be collecting nesting material again so I am guessing they are aiming for a second brood 🙂

I have also now noticed that there’s a Blue Tit nest under one of the tiles of the porch.  The parents perch on the telephone wire before darting in to feed the chicks 🙂 While watching the Blue Tits I heard a lot of bees. Looking up I noticed a slightly broken fascia board and realised the bees were going inside – Tree bumblebee’s.  I did mention it to my friend, he doesn’t mind bees so is letting them stay as long as they don’t cause any trouble! 

The end of May and the Starlings have definitely fledged – 14 in total!

30 Days Wild 2017 – Days 26 – 30

Day 26 – As it was National Badger Week I decided to go out to look for the Badger again. I only found tracks this time, but in a slightly different location to where I saw it the first time. I’m slowly building up a picture of where it travels, hopefully as we head into the winter months and the tall vegetation dies back it will be easier to see where their sett is and hopefully observe them even more. 

Day 27 – After getting home late I was wondering what I was going to do today. Something flying caught my eye as I walked along the drive.  A White Plume Moth – it was overly obliging staying still to have its photo taken and I soon realised it was actually stuck on a thread from a spiders web. I soon freed it and it was on its way 🙂

28 – I was a little stuck on what to do tonight, all week I have been dog sitting for a friend for an hour or so and its knocked me off my path a little for what I had planned.  While looking for Ladybirds the other day I had taken notice of the leaves I was looking for them on.  Tonight I grabbed a torch and a macro lens on my phone and headed out into their garden, dog in tow to look at the leaves.  They look like micro worlds with field boundaries 🙂  

Day 29 – I finally managed to photograph one of the Swifts flying over home tonight 🙂

Day 30 – On my way home from work tonight I stopped at my patch to have a quick look to see what birds were about.  I sometimes use apps to help identify their calls when I hear something new or I’m not 100% sure I’m identifying them correctly.  I have a basic knowledge of some calls but I am definitely still learning.  When the season changes again and some of our current visitors leave for the Winter I’ll be learning all over again.

In my initial 30 Days Wild post I said I had a few days planed out, not all of those have happened in June but I will do them in the coming month or two. I managed to visit 2 Nature Reserves (rather than 3), I completed a litter pick up on June 11th, I didn’t visit a new birding site but I did visit Stanton Park which was new to me. 

I always enjoy 30 Days Wild though some days I find more difficult than others. Having a full time job and a commute does make it difficult on occasion to complete a random act of wildness. I often see wildlife on my commute which could easily work as an act of wildness for the day, though it would get a little boring for you after a few days of hearing the same thing from me!

Some of my favourite parts of the month have been the unexpected sightings of Brown Hare, Barn Owl and of course the Badger 🙂 It really is a case of going out and exploring areas near you, you never know what you will find… 

30 Days Wild 2017 – Days 21 – 25

Day 21 – I wanted to visit new places during 30 Days Wild, today I ventured to Stanton Park, Swindon; a 74-hectare country park and Local Nature Reserve. I headed out from the car park through the Great Wood. The first thing I spotted was a tiny froglet on the bark path, it only caught my eye because it moved when I got near. The Great Wood is quite an expanse of woodland, with some parts being quite dense.  I walked round the Leaf Trail and realised that most of the birdsong was coming from the edge of the woodland.  I walked on towards the lake, there were young Coots and Mallards with Swifts flying over, a Red Kite and Grey Herons.  On the path back to the car park there were many more froglets, unfortunately some had been trodden on!

Day 22 – I had some over ripe bananas left and rather than throwing them out I thought the butterflies would like them. The bananas ferment in the sunshine, the juices ooze out of slits I put in the banana skin which the butterflies will then drink. 

Day 23 – I managed to escape the office for a walk, taking the time to examine the plants shooting through the man made environment at work. 

Day 24 – Today there was a burst of little balls of fluff in the garden! The fledgling Long-tailed Tit’s have discovered the bird feeders 🙂  I have never seen quite so many of them in the garden before.  They all piled into the tree at once, feed on the fat balls, and slowly filter off again out of the garden.  They are often joined by the fledgling Blue Tits. 

Day 25 – After yesterday’s influx of Long-tailed Tits I thought it would be a good idea to complete a Garden Birdwatch to see what is exactly about at the moment and the numbers we are really getting. I was pleased to see a House Sparrow collecting a feather ready to nest again somewhere nearby.   I recorded my sightings for 30 minutes, there was no point in watching any longer as a Sparrowhawk flew through the garden and cleared it of all the other birds. I had wondered why we were low on Woodpigeon numbers, I guess they knew it was about!

1 Woodpigeon, 2 Robin, 1 Jackdaw, 3 Blackbird, 3 Blue Tit, 3 Goldfinch, 1 House Sparrow, 3 Rock Dove, 1 Dunnock, 1 Swift overhead, 1 Sparrowhawk!

30 Days Wild 2017 – Days 16 – 20

Day 16 – Today before leaving work I crossed the car park to the lavender bushes to look for bees to do a Great British Bee Count.  My timed count produced two Banded white-tailed bumblebee’s collecting nectar.

Day 17 – My Mum decided she wanted to go and see the Bath Peregrines and do some shopping for her holiday. I was happy to go and see the Peregrines but a bit more reluctant about the shopping! I checked the webcam before we left and couldn’t see them, though hoped they would be around somewhere for her to see.  Thankfully as we were walking towards the Church I could hear them calling.  We had a brief viewing before they headed out of sight to the back of the nest box.  We headed off to do the holiday shopping which thankfully didn’t take very long so we could head back to see the Peregrines for a good hour afterwards.  There was much more activity with food being brought in for them and feathers raining down from the spire.  Once home I decided a relaxing hour in the garden listening to birds was required – with an ice cream of course!

Day 18 – Today I tried to photograph the Swifts that swoop down over the garden, I was unsuccessful! They would show up, do one fly over and disappear for the next half an hour! While I was waiting for them I topped up all the bird baths.  The fledgling Blue Tits seem to favour the ‘poppy’ to drink from, its sheltered by a tree and far too small for any of the larger birds to use.

Day 19 – I realised that I really haven’t seen any Ladybird’s this year! I waited for the temperature to drop a little outside and headed out into the cool of the evening to explore the garden specifically for Ladybirds.  I have seen lots of Ladybird larvae this year and found some more in the garden tonight.  The closest I got to an adult was an emerging Ladybird though.  I have never seen this before so was quiet exited to have found it, it was located on the underside of a Hazel leaf.

Day 20 – on Day 15 I briefly saw a Badger so tonight I went back to the same location to have another look around. Driving down the farmers track I saw the back end of a Badger disappear into the hedgerow. I knew it was about, and it had headed to where I believe part of its sett to be. I parked at the bottom of the track and waited, hoping it would reappear. 40 minutes later it walked out over the track and disappeared in seconds. I was amazed to see it again. I’m looking forward to getting to know it better 🙂