My Patch โ€“ March 2019

March 6th โ€“ This evening I spotted a moth on the kitchen window just as I was about to go home.  I stepped outside to have a closer look, once the light had come on I realised there were about 6 moths flying around and 9 on the window.  I quickly went to grab my camera to get a picture as I had no idea what type it was.  I found something in my insect book that looked similar; a common Quaker so I went online to see if I could find more images to clarify.  It wasnโ€™t the right moth but there were also images of a small Quaker which I was 99% sure it was.  I posted my image on Twitter and @MothIDUK kindly confirmed my ID was correct.

Small Quaker generally live in deciduous woodland and are on the wing from March to April.  They feed on sallow blossom, which explains why there were so many in the garden โ€“ the goat willow is currently covered in catkins with their green/yellow pollen ๐Ÿ™‚  The larvae feed in early summer on deciduous trees including willow so I will be looking closely at the tree later in the year to see if we have any larvae.  

March 11th – When I got to the field this morning I was told there were brown hares in the field but I would need to look out of one of the upstairs windows to see them.  One was led down and the other ran across the field as I was watching them.  I love seeing the hares as they are so secretive it is very special to see them.  

March 13th – there were 9 fallow deer on the far side of the field tonight. 

March 14th – there were 25 fallow deer in the middle of the field tonight.  I do worry about them as the white ones really do make the herd stand out! 

March 20th – there was a pheasant in the garden under the bird feeder! I have a feeling he may become a regular visitor! 

March 21st – tonight I went out to listen for tawny’s but again there were none.  Whilst I was listening I was also looking; for cellar slugs.  The RHS is looking for people to submit their sightings of yellow cellar and green cellar slugs to their iRecord recording page.  They are looking to find out which garden features may influence where the slugs are located.  I found 18 green cellar slugs but no yellow.  The yellow cellar slugs are in decline so any sightings are really important.  I’m going to try and complete a search once a month, the slugs are nocturnal so make you have a fully charged torch before heading out for this survey! 

I heard a noise and thought it could be a fox over the other side of the fence, stepping up onto the raised bed a bat flew over my head and was illuminated by my torch light ๐Ÿ™‚ I discovered the noise I thought I heard, it was in fact in the garden, I think there is a hedgehog rustling around in the leaves.  I will have to put the trail camera out next week to find out for sure.  

March 22nd – the pheasant was back again this morning; I managed to get a very bad photo of him on my phone.   

March 25th – I wanted to walk around the field this evening as it was such a lovely evening, however the farmer was fertilizing! I walked along the track towards the copse.  I wanted to see if any flowers were growing.  I found one lesser celandine and some leaves that indicated that there are others that may have already flowered.  There are some cuckoo-pint leaves and some leafy sections although at present I’m not sure what plants they are.  There will be lots common nettles again this year which will benefit the insects.  I don’t believe the copse is managed in anyway and I can only assume that the lack of varying vegetation is due to the deer who probably eat it.  There are tiny saplings growing, I’m not sure which trees they are so I need to have a closer look.     

March 27th – this morning the blue and great tits were not on the feeders but looking around the shed roof and the leaves of the newly sprouting roses for more natural food sources.  There is now a pile of twigs underneath the jackdaws regular nest site so I can only assume they are refurbishing their nest, especially seeing there is a twig sticking out of the entrance hole – its looks like they have got it well and truly stuck! The twigs that have fallen on the garden floor from the goat willow have been left for them to use if they wish. 

Tonight we put up two new nest boxes in the field near the house.  I am hoping we have some sparrows nest in them, but I would be happy with anyone using them to be honest.  I may have to spend some time sat in the field just watching the boxes to see if there is any activity. 

I put the trail camera out facing the wren/robin box on the side of the house, it was triggered, although I only had footage of the box with nobody entering or leaving it!  I’m guessing the trail camera won’t be much help at that nest!  

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 

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 ๐Ÿ™‚  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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ The snow began to thaw in the afternoon and I am sure they were all as glad about that as the rest of us! 

Potteric Carr Nature Reserve – April 2016

I didn’t want to drive all the way to East Yorkshire in one go, but wanted to make the most of the time away visiting wildlife. ย After a search on Google I discoveredย Potteric Carr Nature Reserve and made a plan for a route that passed by Doncaster.

Potteric Carr was so easy to find, so easy in fact I had to double check I hadn’t got lost! One of the lovely volunteers gave me an overview of what had been seen recently and I was off on my way around the site.

One of the first birds I encountered was a Moorhen chick trying to follow its parent across a stream. ย They soon disappeared into the vegetation though.

I made my way to theย Kingfisher Tearooms for a spot of lunch. I can highly recommend the bacon sandwiches and Cream Tea’s ๐Ÿ™‚

Opposite the Tearooms is Willow Pool Hide. I thought I’d pop in for a quick look and ended up staying nearly 2 hours; there were adorable Canada Goose goslings with their parents and a rather cute brown rat feeding on the food put out for the birds!

I finally managed to drag myself away and headed towards the Duchess Hide. Half way there it decided to rain which meant a pit stop under a bridge to get the wet weather clothes out! The weather cleared by the time I got to the hide and as the rain clouds moved away they gave a lovely backdrop to Huxter Well Marsh. A Marsh Harrier was making regular flights across the marsh and there were Blackcaps and Wrens in the vegetation just in front of the hide. Out of the corner of my eye I saw something to my right, a Roe Deer had walked out of the bushes. It stood temporarily and then ran across the front of the hide.

It was getting late and I was conscious that the car park was going to be locked at 5pm (if you would like to stay later than 5pm, ask at the front desk when you arrive) and I had another hour drive to my hotel for the night!

I decided to take the Dragonfly Trail back, walking along Mother Drain and although I wasn’t really looking for anything in particular I saw something move on the ground. It took me a while to figure out where it had gone, but a small movement drew me to this little chap. I’m not 100% sure, but I thinks it’s a Field Vole, a lovely end to a very nice day exploring ๐Ÿ™‚

My full list of sightings for the day:
Birds: Black-headed Gull, Blackcap, Canada Goose, Carrion crow, Chaffinch, Coot, Gadwall, Great crested grebe, Grey heron, Mallard, Moorhen, Pheasant, Reed bunting, Robin, Swallow
Mammals: Brown Rat, Field Vole, Roe deer