30 Days Wild 2019 – Day 25

The great spotted woodpeckers are regular visitors to the garden; they can be spotted on the nut feeders or within the branches of the willow tree.  They can generally be heard before they are seen!  I knew there was a pair that visited the garden and in recent days thought there might also be young by the calls coming from the tree.  Today I finally saw them; one of the young landed on the fence and the parent landed to feed them.  The nuts are always topped up at the feeders so hopefully I will see them feeding again. 

My Patch – January 2018

January at the field has not been overly successful.  I have only spent one day in the field and not had many encounters in the evenings and mornings because of the lack of light at the moment – though it is improving 🙂

January 10th – the mute swans are still in the field this morning there were 16 🙂

January 26th – I took the day off of work to spend some time at the field. I was lucky it was a sunny as the days either side were wet and gloomy.  I don’t ever see a lot walking along the top edge of the field, I think part of that fact is I have to look down a lot!   There are lots of holes/burrows in the ground, though the ones I have mentioned before seem to have collapsed as the ground has sunk though new holes have appeared! I’m sure they belong to rabbits, but I am yet to see a rabbit in the field!  I did have a quick glimpse of a robin and a blue tit that were in the hedgerow.  There are a lot of paw prints along the track I was walking, though I am 100% sure they belong to the cat!

Walking down the side of the copse was again the most productive part of my walk. The squirrel drey is still securely in the tree and as I was looking up a heard a nose and looking at the base of the tree a saw the whites of two large back paws bounding away, I had disturbed a hare that I think was sunbathing in the cover of the part of the hedgerow.  I hadn’t seen it, if I had it would have made a lovely photograph.  I was looking out across the field and saw a couple of lumps, I had a look through the binoculars thinking they would be clumps of mud, nope TWO HARES!!!! They were a fair way off in the field and didn’t seem at all bothered by me watching, they were grazing, cleaning etc  I was having problems photographing them, I was looking into the sun and there was a heat haze across the field – typical! I have never seen two hares together before and I was so surprised to see them. My attention was drawn away to the birds in the hedgerow, two robins that were hoping about having a slight territorial dispute and then to long-tailed tits in the top of the trees.  Walking down the lower part of the copse towards the river I again spooked the roe deer.  I hear them moving then normally see white bottoms bouncing off through the trees.  I need to locate myself in the copse at some point to photograph them.  My guess is there is normally two or three that run off. 

The river was full.  It had obviously burst its banks recently as a patch of the field was a large puddle.  I have never seen it that full before.  It did look pretty with the sun shining and the neutral tones of the fields behind. Two swans flew over and later a cormorant.  I heard a wren and a moorhen but didn’t see them.  The holes that I have seen in the bank previously were fully submerged so if they were homes to any creature they were 100% flooded out.  I was stood watching three goldfinch flitting between the trees, I turned round to find a hare metres from me.  I slowly lifted the camera to take a photo but it was gone as soon as I moved a muscle, I hadn’t expected to see one right behind me!  I estimate there were 3 to 4 hares in the field! As the river receded from its original flooded level it has dropped lots of plastic bottles along the rivers edge, I did think about trying to get them out, however, I was on my own and didn’t know how sturdy the bank was! I will take backup and fish them out next time I go.  If the water level doesn’t rise again they look like they will remain wedged in the tree line.

Rather than walking round the field I walked back up the copse. Two wren were in the hedgerow and a blackbird was keeping a few meters ahead of me all the way along, I’d get close it would fly a little further along and the continued.  I heard a bee, a queen buff-tailed bumble bee, it was buzzing along the side of the hedgerow.

As I reached the top of the field I heard a buzzard calling, when I turned I realised there were three circling over the copse riding the thermals.  Looking over the slight ridge to the left I could see the mute swans, 24 of them 🙂

As I wouldn’t be able to visit the patch over the Big Garden Birdwatch weekend I decided to do a count in the garden for my own records.

Great spotted woodpecker 1
Blue tit 7
Great tit 3
Goldfinch 10
Robin 2
Collard dove 3
Starling 14
House sparrow 6
Dunnock 1
Carrion crow 1
Chaffinch 2
Total no. of species 11
Total no. of birds 50
Weather Light cloud

January 29th – It is now noticeable that the evening are very slowly getting lighter.  I am looking forward to February as I’ve scanned the sunset calendar and by the time February 20th rolls round the sun will be setting at 5:31pm which means I will be able to get about half an hour of light to have a quick look around or start work on the garden at my patch – the land owner hasn’t done anything with the garden for a while due to personal reasons and I have been granted permission to ‘improve its wildlife friendliness! 🙂

January 30th – 31 mute swans were just on the other side of the fence, I didn’t have my camera so I took a quick photograph on my phone.  I haven’t seen them that far up the field before.  Hopefully they will be staying around for a little longer, I think they will still be there for as long as the crop is still sprouting.  

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 🙂

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 🙂 there were six feeding on the crop! I’m sure the farmer isn’t too pleased to see them but I was 🙂  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 🙂

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 🙂