A Sad Story

December 9, 2007 at 3:25 pm

Male Sparrowhawk

If last weeks weather was bad this weeks weather has been even worse with only five hours of sunshine and 2.39 inches of rain!

There have been plenty of birds in the garden with a peak of thirty seven starlings and twenty eight House Sparrows and the inevitable happened a male Sparrowhawk pounced on a Starling. This always presents a moral dilemma – do you rush out to rescue the Starling that was still squawking or do you let the Sparrowhawk have its meal? I arrived at a compromise, I walked out of the house slowly to let fate take its course. I almost reached the Sparrowhawk , with the Starling still calling, when instead of releasing its prey it flew off carrying it to a quiet corner to devour. Nature had taken its course.

Another Wet Week

December 2, 2007 at 10:08 pm


Not a lot to report since last week with the weather being very wet except for one sunny day on the 29th November.

On Hopwood a Woodcock was flushed and ten Long Tail Tits seen plus two Reed Buntings. At Rhodes Lodges twenty Goosanders were present and looked good in the sunshine until flushed by a man and his dog, who insisted on having a swim – the dog that is!

It always seems good in the garden when it is wet weather and we had a peak count of thirty seven Starlings and twenty eight House Sparrows but still only four Blue Tits.

A Kestrel hovering over the busy main road in Castleton left us wondering what meal it was contemplating!

Green Woodpeckers still around

November 25, 2007 at 9:12 pm

Green Woodpecker


A totally different weeks weather this week compared to last with only one good day on the 23rd with sunshine all day.

The garden has proved good with thirty one Starlings feeding one day, twenty six House Sparrows on another and eighteen Greenfinches on another. Jays come every day but the Blue Tits are in low numbers following the very poor breeding season

At Dovestones a Green Woodpecker was calling and forty plus Siskins are still feeding on the cone crop.

On Hopwood a Redpoll was present and a Green Woodpecker feeding on ants. A Kestrel was hunting the good numbers of voles.

Barn Owl Success

November 18, 2007 at 10:19 am


A good weeks autumnal weather since my last report and the big news is the fledging of three young Barn Owls locally. This is a second brood and the first breeding at this farm since 1972 and yes, I have checked this site twice a year since then and finally, thirty five years later, it has happened again. It just shows that perseverance and good faith will work, although it has to be said that I cannot wait another thirty five years for a repeat!

During the week I have flushed three Woodcock from different places so it can definitely be said that Winter has now arrived with their appearance.

In the good sunshine I videoed some Siskins and even better a male Brambling on larch cones. I have never seen Brambling on cones before so this was a pleasant surprise. All we need now is an influx of Waxwings and the prospects for the rest of the Winter will look good – time will tell.

A Wet Week

November 11, 2007 at 3:35 pm

Grey WagtailThere have been several wet days this week and only one visit to the local Golf Course. Goldcrest and two Grey Wagtails were the only decent birds seen. Grey Wagtails must be on the move as today, one was in our front garden on our bird bath – an unusual garden bird.

A visit to Dovestones reservoir produced a Green Woodpecker and a flock of thirty plus Siskins feeding on the good crop of Larch cones. Although there was some good sunlight they stayed in the tree tops but there may be opportunities to film them during the rest of the Winter once they start feeding lower down. Coal Tits were also present though they were taking their seeds and burying them in the forest nearby.

There are very few Hawthorne and Rowan berries around this Winter and all the Redwings and Fieldfare have moved through.

Home Again

November 6, 2007 at 10:05 pm


Well here I am back home again after seventeen days on Islay.

The first week provided some good weather for October but the last week has been dull and mild with one day raining all day – an unusual event for Islay.

There has been a continuous passage of Whooper Swans through Islay with some family parties not even touching down and flying straight on to Ireland. Not a bad feat after flying non stop five hundred miles from Iceland at 40mph!

Islay is always a brilliant place for raptors and on one day I saw five Hen Harriers on my travels around the Island but this time failed to see any Golden Eagles. The highlight was disturbing a Hen Harrier and a Hobby fighting one morning at dawn. The Hobby is a very rare visitor to Islay and late October is not the time of year you would expect to find one.

Ardnave is always one of Islay’s most popular places to visit and walk around and during my visits two Snow Buntings and three Slavonian Grebes were seen as well as thirty plus Chough feeding in the high tide seaweed.

In the very mild Autumn weather forty two species of flowers were found which is an incredible number for November – global warming perhaps?

I only went looking for Otters once and found two in the Sound of Islay. One of these climbed a rock to spraint and then entered a cave to sleep.