My Patch – December 2017

So December was a more successful month for me out in the field, primarily this was down to having days off work (I had to use up my remaining annual leave) and what better way of doing it than out on the patch πŸ™‚

December 2nd – So I had planned to go walking around the field, but, there was the sound of shotguns.  I wasn’t sure how close they were. I assume they were shooting pheasant or maybe the roe deer.  As I have stated before they aren’t allowed to kill anything in the field, nor should they shoot in the direction of the field but to be on the safe side I thought it was best to monitor the garden birds instead! 1 great spotted woodpecker, 4 robin, 2 dunnock, 5 goldfinch, 5 blue tit, 3 great tit, 7 house sparrow, 5 starling, a coal tit, 2 chaffinch and a blackbird 

December 13th – It snowed quite heavily in the region, unfortunately it had started to melt when I was back in work so only got to see a partially covered field.

December 14th – Today was a horrible day for travel, the road next to the patch was covered in black ice.  There was already one car in the ditch and as I watched another car snaked all over the road and ended up in the entrance way to the barn.  The lady was okay and got out of her car, though I later discovered she fractured her wrist.  I was stood with her in the barn area and there was a heard of roe deer in the distance.  

December 18th – Was another horrible day for travel.  I hadn’t long parked up and was getting ready to go round the field when another car ended up in the ditch, this time at the field’s entrance.  The road is horrendous for black ice.  The awful part is you just watch people driving like its a summer day and wonder why they can’t stop when they brake!  

I made my way out into the field through the owners back garden as the road wasn’t a safe place to be! The mute swans are back πŸ™‚ there were six feeding on the crop! I’m sure the farmer isn’t too pleased to see them but I was πŸ™‚  Last April there were approximately 40 grazing so I am expecting the numbers to increase.  I walked a different route to normal as I was trying to avoid the accident.  I didn’t see a lot, a pheasant that ran away very quickly and a great tit in the trees.  There were other small birds about but they were difficult to see as the sun was in my eyes and they were just shadows.  As I got closer to the river I noticed a huge number of woodpigeon; I counted approximately 96, they were all feeding on the crop too! The river is so much easier to see into now its Winter.  I can even sort of tell where the edge of the bank is! Today I only spotted a wren, grey heron and a moorhen.

On the walk back up I stuck to my normal route, I did however quickly realise it was the much muddier choice! There were three advantages though; I briefly glimpsed two roe deer in the copse, a brown hare ran out from the hedgerow in front of me and a buzzard flew over.  I know there are brown hare in the copse and I have seen them in the next field along but but this is the first time on my patch πŸ™‚

December 22nd – I made a brief stop at the field, today there were 8 mute swans and the roe deer were grazing.  I finally got to see the pale/white deer.  Looking at the herd there are a wide variety of shades but the two pale ones really do stand out.  

The garden bird count today showed: 2 great spotted woodpecker (a pair), 2 chaffinch, a robin, 2 great tit, 5 blue tit, 9 house sparrow, 6 goldfinch, 1 coal tit and 8 starlings.

I put the TrailCam out overnight on the 22nd, the fox was back.  I think its the same one and I’m fairly sure now that shes a female πŸ™‚

My Patch – November 2017

If I thought October was a bad month for me out in the field, November was even worse.  Once the clocks had changed the only time I could see anything was in the morning before work but due to the not so favourable weather and travel times increasing I had even less time, if any at all in the morning.  I did however have a few encounters…

November 2nd – When I’m late leaving work I sometimes stop by the field and listen in the dark.  Tonight I was lucky enough to hear two tawny owls having a chat πŸ™‚ I’d love in the spring to be able to find them, I assume/hope they nest somewhere nearby. 

November 17th – It was another frosty but bright morning.  I just needed a herd of roe deer to wander across to the field to make it even prettier!   

November 21st/22nd – I put a TrailCam out to see who might be wandering about in the dark.  I wasn’t surprised to see Mr Fox, I say Mr it could be Mrs but its good to know that there is one about.  It looked to be the same fox in each clip.  I need to start documenting facial features to see if there is more than one about.

November 30th – I was on route home, about 2 miles from the field when two barn owls flew together across the road in front of me illuminated by my car lights.  It was the same location where I spotted one in June, its good to know there is more than one.  I have never seen two together before, it was a brief but very special sight.

My Patch – October 2017

October was a little rubbish for Patch sightings. Unfortunately I had to work more hours than I would have liked at work and I’d been away for a week (more about that soon) so I hadn’t been able to get out and about. The nights starting to draw in hadn’t helped much either! I did on a couple of occasions see roe deer in the field though and there is definitely a white one in the herd but I am yet to get a photograph of it. 

October 23rd – I heard a Barn Owl screech. It was far to dark to see but it’s lovely to know there is still one in the area. 

October 25th – there are geese around, I can hear them but I haven’t seen them! Now I know some domestic geese have moved in to the house next door to the field’s owner, but it’s not them. There is way too much noise! To me it sounds like they are in a field on the other side of the river. I would guess at 50+ birds from the level of sound. 

October 27th – I had a day off work so headed up to my patch. It was a lovely autumn day. No sooner as I walked into the field did I spot a single roe deer over by the copse. A rather good start πŸ™‚ I walked along the top edge of the field being careful as you can’t see the rabbit holes because of all the stinging nettles!  There is definitely a track through the hedgerow and into the field that’s being used by larger animals.  I will at some point need to get the trail camera into the field to find out what is about after dark.  Along the top hedgerow there were lots of small birds but most were too quick and nervous to hang around for me to see what they were. I did manage to identify a dunnock that sat for long enough to get the binoculars on it!  There is also quite a lot of litter about, mainly from farming I would guess, like twine and black bags.  

Walking down the side of the field next to the copse there is occasional fruit still on the brambles, but most is now gone.  I was surprised to see dragonflies darting around and also a red admiral.  Just round the bend in the field is a nest of leaves in the tree, it looks like a dray, a little further on I heard a rustling, when I pin pointed it, I found a grey squirrel in the trees of the copse watching me just as intently as I watched it! There was more rustling in the copse, I knew it would be roe deer by the noise, I could see two through the hedgerow.  Four woodpigeon were spooked and flew out of the copse.  I’m not sure why or what they were doing but there was a collection of flies on a tree trunk. 

Down by the river the birds are very nervous, they really don’t see a lot of people.  I thought or hoped I saw a bank vole, nope when I finally managed to keep it in sight it was a wren! I was surprised to see a little egret and two cormorants though! There was also rubbish in the river, not something I can do anything about as it is unreachable, in fact I couldn’t actually see where the edge of the bank is, it is so over grown.  It does make me slightly nervous, it doesn’t help that I’m short and have to move close to the edge to be able to see in parts of the river!  I heard a lot of noise and turned to see a red kite being mobbed by some carrion crows/rooks, it did drop something but I didn’t have the camera on them at that time to see what it was.  I was very pleased to see a bullfinch in the trees, I haven’t seen one here before.  

Walking back up the field I saw a wren and came face to face with a roe deer.  I had been walking in deer tracks, I guess I was on his path! We both just stopped and looked at each other.  I wasn’t going to move, I thought I’d let him do what he wanted to.  Of course I HAD to take a photo, but moved very slowly when I did.  He decided that his best route away from the strange creature that was in his path was straight across the field.  He moved a bit and stopped to check I wasn’t following and then ran off at full speed.  I do worry that if he had come face to face with one of the deer cullers that he would have been a very easy target πŸ™ At least he’s 100% safe in this field.  In the distance I could see something on the floor – it was the squirrel πŸ™‚

I spent a little time watching the garden birds: coal tit, blue tit, starling, chaffinch, great tit, goldfinch, dunnock, house sparrow, wren, magpie, long-tailed tit, robin and great spotted woodpecker.  I haven’t seen the collard dove with the broken beak since July. Hopefully it is still doing well. I have however been told that a sparrowhawk has been seen in the garden on occasion during the day. I’m yet to see him.