My Patch – August 2018

August 1st – The buzzard was back on the bale of straw tonight, it looks like it could be a juvenile to me.  

August 2nd – This evening there were 3 mint moths on the mint, so I’m really glad that it has been left to go to seed.  They were also joined by a mother-of-pearl month.  

August 8th – the great spotted woodpecker is still feeding on the nuts! He’s the main bird I see at the moment as he seems to be slightly braver than the other birds and will still feed if I’m in the garden as long as I’m not moving about too much. 

August 9th – I haven’t seen the rabbits in the field since March when I saw them running about in the snow. This morning they were running about near their burrows.  This afternoon I also found a 22-spot ladybird, I’ve never found one before! 

August 13th – One of the hedges has been cut! There isn’t a lot I can do about it as a local farmer is contracted to trim them but really! don’t they know they shouldn’t be doing that until at least September 🙁 There were fledgling goldfinches in the garden tonight, they were making one hell of a racket. I think the parents were trying to get them to feed for themselves. I wonder if they had been displaced from the hedgerows? I also found a buff-tip moth caterpillar, it took me by surprise as it was on the edge of the arm of one of the chairs. 

August 15th – I thought I saw a frog in the garden the other day but wasn’t convinced as it was small and mud coloured, it hopped but I only saw it out of the corner of my eye and it could have been a cricket. Today I saw it again, it was about an inch long, it saw me and leapt under the fence and into the field. 

August 22nd – This afternoon I found a badger in the ditch, I seems it was hit over the weekend and someone had moved it.  We moved her round into the field so any other creature wanting to feed on her wouldn’t be hit too.  The entrance to the field is where there are regular animal crossings. It’s on a slight bend and people just don’t slow down at all, they also seem to drive in the middle of the road so if another car is coming they have to swerve!  You would think if you were a regular driver of the road you would have more sense, but I guess not! 

August 23rd – tonight I took a walk down to the river, there wasn’t much activity.  There was litter floating downstream, sadly this is a regular occurrence each time I visit but the water is too deep for me to do anything about it.  The rabbits are still digging their burrows in the walkways around the field so I walked back along the track as I knew I wouldn’t be able to see them walking back across the field.  I can generally only see them when I walk into the field, in the other direction they are more camouflaged!  I spotted some of the culprits on my way back!

August 24th – One of the cats left a dead rat in the front garden of the house today!  At least we know the rats are still about… there is a barn a little further down the road and we think they catch them there, or next door have chickens so its a possibility they are in their garden too.  I do however think if they catch them they should eat them, not just leave them on the floor!

August 31st – tonight I found lots of caterpillars on the rose bush, after a little investigation I have discovered they are large rose sawfly.  All the gardening websites tell you how to get rid of them but these are happily munching away in the garden!  

My Patch – February 2018

February has been a much more successful month in the field, with Spring finally on its way I have seen many more goings on…  

February 12th – I noticed this morning a Jackdaw looking in the chimney. They nested in it last year so hopefully it is a good sign that they will nest there again. 

February 13th – there were 32 mute swans in the field this morning. It’s nice to see they are still visiting in good numbers. 

February 15th – 10 starlings were sat on the roof chattering.  I noticed one sitting on the guttering near one of last years nest sites, it then popped in under the roof tile – looks like they are revisiting last years nests 🙂 The crows were also up on the chimney again.

February 20th – this morning there were 30 mute swans and a pheasant in the field. I know pheasants are around the field but this was the first time I had seen one at the top end of it. I had a quick visit to the garden tonight, I discovered fox scat in the flowerbed!

February 22nd – this morning there were two male pheasants in the field. They were closer to the garden and I am starting to wonder if they are picking up bird food that might have been dropped over the fence. Also 21 mute swans 🙂 

February 23rd – I put the trailcam out in the garden over night to see if the foxy visitor returned. Unfortunately nothing but plants swaying in the wind.

February 24th – the trailcam was put out over night in the field, the plan was to try and find out what was using the holes in the field as home (I assume rabbits).  Nothing came out of them, there were however a few visitors that passed by – fox, roe deer and possibly 2 badgers… or one that walked the same route a couple of times!  

February 25th – I decided seeing it was a sunny afternoon to head out in the field to look around.  Now I don’t normally see any other humans at all, however it being a Sunday afternoon I saw three!! Which might explain why I saw less than the normal amount of wildlife! Note to self – only go on the weekend if its really early! Along the north hedge I saw more than normal (no other humans there!) 5 starlings, 2 house sparrow and a blue tit, there were other small birds flitting around but they were hard to see darting into the hedge so I can only assume they are more of the same.  I know that there are tree sparrows in the area but I am yet to see any here.  

Walking passed the copse I again spooked the roe deer, 6 of them ran out the other side and settled in the next field over, through the trees I could also see where all of the mute swans have slowly disappeared to 🙂  Along the edge of the trees as I was walking down to the river I saw a bird running along the hedgerow, 99% sure it was a red-legged partridge.  I’ve not seen one in the field before.

Walking along the river I saw 2 of the humans, 2 mute swans and I heard both a moorhen and robin.  I still haven’t been able to have help to go and collect the litter, good news is its still there and hasn’t washed away! I’m still unsure if the ‘land’ its on is actually stable to stand on! 

On my walk back up I’m sure I saw a tawny owl sat on a tree branch on the edge of the copse, it flew off as soon as I saw it so I didn’t have a good view, but it looked owl like in flight, it flew back into the copse.  

February 26th – 5 mute swans and 11 roe deer near the copse this morning 🙂

February 27th – 1 pheasant and 2 mute swans in the field with 5 long-tailed tits on the feeder and a robin pottering around in the flowerbed. The mute swans have reduced in number over the month, but at least I know they are just in the next field over 🙂

Snow Tracks

Although the recent snowfall was only a couple of weeks ago, to be honest it feels like a lifetime ago! I headed out on the Saturday morning to look for snow tracks.  I have a good idea what visits the field in the day and a fair idea of what wanders around after dark, but normally finding tracks other than roe deer is not easy.  The snow however made it much easier 🙂 

I had been told that the house next to the owner had been walking their dog through the field, so I needed to get there early so I didn’t have dog prints in the mix.  Luckily they hadn’t been out by the time I got there.  I did however have cat prints everywhere! They were quite easy to spot as the cat wandered out into the field so I could have a good look at his print!

Along the top edge of the field along with the cat! I found fox prints, it had been quite active during the night by the looks of it but I guess seeing I now know there are rabbits living along the hedgerow I can see why.  It had been looking into the rabbit hole and it did look as though there had been a chase or at least a rabbit running in an arch.  The rabbits had clearly marked their burrow entrances with urine! At least I now know for sure who the holes belong to!  The only other tracks I found were pheasant, which seem to be spending time in this part of the field.

Instead of heading around the field I headed out into the next field along, I knew the mute swans were there and wanted to check on them.  I also found roe deer, rabbit, brown hare, fox and badger prints 🙂 All the four legged mammals that I have seen in my patch. Its good to know that they were all okay out in the snowy conditions; well at least they were on the move 🙂 The snow began to thaw in the afternoon and I am sure they were all as glad about that as the rest of us! 

My Patch – September 2017

September is definitely showing signs of Autumn. There are more blackberries, the ivy is starting to bud and early mornings are seeing an increasing amount of mist and glistening spiders webs. 

Morning of September 7th before heading to work I heard a call I recognised but not heard on my patch before. A green woodpecker hopped along the fence of one of the gardens and up into the tree. I regularly see spotted woodpeckers but this was a first for here. There were lots of garden birds about this morning; great tit, coal tit, goldfinches and starlings. 

September 18th – I never like seeing shapes of animals on the road but when its next to my patch I dislike it even more.  It was a badger. This isn’t the first badger I have found in this spot, there was another in February.  I called the field owner to help me move her, we moved her from the road into the field to allow nature to take its course rather than her getting smashed to pieces by more cars.  Next year I want to try and get to know the badgers that roam around the area.  Thankfully there hasn’t been a cull here so they have been safe this year.  I do worry that if I get to know them and a cull happens next year I would loose new friends.  Of course I would try to protect them but unfortunately the land around the field has a different owner so there is little control.  

September 21st – Autumn colours are starting to show in the trees, the copse and the brambles and hawthorn berries seem to be plentiful in the hedgerows. I heard a buzzard calling in the distance that drew my attention behind me, 10 roe deer were walking down the edge of the copse. 

I had a companion again who came for another walk, he was helping with finding holes! I think it’s a new hole and belongs to rabbits which is slightly concerning though! Billy doesn’t go hunting, there is another cat however who does, he catches field voles! 

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 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 🙂