Butterfly Bonanza

April 26, 2020 at 7:01 pm

The last seven days has produced over eighty hours of sunshine and warmth which is a perfect combination for butterflies. During my daily walks in the local woods I have seen more butterflies than I have ever seen in the last fifty Springs. These have included 110 Orange Tips, 49 Peacocks, 32 Speckled Woods 28 Large Whites, 6 Small Tortoiseshells one Comma and best of all one Brimstone which I have never encountered before. Photos of some of these are in this weeks gallery but, unfortunately, the Brimstone was too quick to catch up with!! Click here

Gathering Moss

April 19, 2020 at 7:47 pm

Just as I was staring at the garden wondering what to do next out  of the dense cover popped a Wren with a bill full of moss. For the first time in more than fifty years a male Wren was building a nest in the garage. It was an opportunity not to be missed. Enjoy the gallery and if you wondered how I know it was the male when both sexes are identical, well it is the male who builds several nests then the female chooses one which is then lined with feathers and used. Click here

Wish You Were Here!

April 11, 2020 at 7:14 pm

In 1976 we visited Islay for the first time and I was captivated by one of Britains most spectacular raptors – the Hen Harrier. Since then we have returned to Islay one hundred and ten times and I have filmed breeding Hen Harriers, at the nest, sixty one times – considerably more than anyone else in Britain!
Sadly, of course, our visit this year has had to be cancelled so after forty four continuous years our long-term study may come to an end. To celebrate those years I have included in this weeks gallery some of my favourite recent photos including a food-pass executed in the most perfect late evening sunshine. click here

Long Tailed Tits and Woodcock

April 4, 2020 at 1:48 pm

Here’s a wildlife fact that I can guarantee you will have no knowledge of and will not find in any of your bird books.  Its all about the close connections every March between Long Tailed Tits and Woodcock.
As we all know Long Tailed Tits are one of our commonest woodland birds and widespread around Greater Manchester. In contrast Woodcock arrive into our area on the first full moon in November and migrate back to Scandinavia and Russia in late March. They feed nocturnally in our field on worms then lie up during the day under brambles or bracken where their cryptic plumage ensures their safety from predators. So you may ask how are Long Tailed Tits connected to Woodcock in March? Well as Woodcock rest during the day, under bracken, they preen. This preening increases just before they migrate in late March and some of the feathers that are replaced are their soft breast feathers. These are just what Long Tailed Tits are looking for, to line their nests with, so as the Woodcock fly back east their old roosting places are visited by the tits and all the soft down feathers removed to their nests. click here