The First Autumn Migrant

September 13, 2008 at 7:49 pm


Rain, rain and more rain can this Summer get any worse?

Much better weather this week and the first Goldcrest of the Autumn was in a pine tree in our garden. At 5.00am one morning the young Tawny Owl was again calling for food before settling in it’s diurnal roosting place.

In the local woods and Golf Course a well grown Leveret was found and it is good to know that the local Hares are back and doing well. More Goldcrests have arrived with an East wind and a flock of twenty plus Siskins were present feeding in birches. Two Kestrels were hunting voles, one of them stood on top of the flagpole on the green!

Without doubt the highlight of the week came from a willow bush on the Golf Course. A small bird was scolding and finally showed itself to be a Willow Tit, only the second I have ever seen locally, the last being in our garden a couple of years ago. Will it stay?

Weather For Ducks

September 6, 2008 at 1:38 pm


Rain, rain and more rain can this Summer get any worse?

Over our road one wet day there were forty plus House Martins desperately trying to catch any airborne insects. At the Golf club the Swallows have abandoned any thoughts of second broods and most have already gone South.

On the only dry morning of the week I saw two Red Admiral butterflies at Dovestones reservoir – the first I have seen this Summer.

On the Golf Course Siskins are still feeding in good numbers and at least four Bullfinches were also present. Jays are now becoming more noticeable and with a good acorn crop beginning to mature they may stay with us all Winter. There are still three coming into our garden.

No Sun

August 30, 2008 at 1:34 pm


With no recorded sunshine in the last seven days, this month has to be one of the dullest and wettest ever recorded.

Over a dozen Greenfinches are now feeding in the garden and three Jays come regularly for peanuts. At dusk one evening a young Tawny Owl was calling for food in some beeches at the back of the garden. The adults were visible against the darkening sky as they fed it.

I was awoken one morning by a calling Curlew as it headed off the moors to the coast. Skylarks and Snipe are now also moving through.

On the local golf course parties of up to a dozen goldfinches are hunting the thistles for seeds and good numbers of Siskin are still around. A family party of six Stoat have also been seen.

Last to Fledge

August 23, 2008 at 8:10 pm

Young Barn Owl

This weeks photo is of the last Barn Owl to fledge from the five that have flown locally. The tiny black specks down the flank of the young indicate that it is a female – the males breast being completely white. What with the extremely wet weather this week and the Olympics I have only managed two visits to the site this week and there are now only two birds present, these being the adults. The young having been driven away from their breeding territory.

In the garden there are fourteen Greenfinches feeding and the first two Jays have now appeared but very few Goldfinches.

On the local Golf Course Skylarks are now moving through and a Wheatear was on the first tee one morning this week. A family party of Kestrels were also mobile looking for voles.

Barn Owl Success

August 17, 2008 at 5:26 pm

Young Barn Owls

This weeks photo shows four of the five young Barn Owls that have fledged locally this year. After a gap of thirty five years Barn Owls returned last year and fledged two broods. This year they started a little later and probably only have one brood but to have five young flying around is a magnificent sight and one I have waited a long time to see. Lets hope now that they have some dry nights to learn how to hunt for themselves because after ten days they will be on their own. It’s a sad fact that no more than two of these young will survive to this time next year. I wish them well!

During the week a Green Woodpecker has returned to feed on the golf course after going somewhere to breed but where? Good numbers of Siskins are also present and seem to be feeding in the Silver Birches.

Foxes Everywhere

August 10, 2008 at 7:22 pm


The local wildlife event of the week has been the continued presence of Fox cubs both in the woods and on the local golf course. By now this years cubs are quite big and one in particular is in superb condition and very bold. Most of the golfers have got used to it and some offer tit bits on their way round. One golfer approached a tee, teed up his ball and was watched by the fox. When he walked back to his bag for a club the fox cub ran over, pinched his yellow ball and ran off with it. I would have liked to have got this on film but I was laughing that much it was not possible!

Bullfinches can be heard in the bracken and I have in the past found two Bullfinches nests built in the canopy of new bracken growth. It’s a challenge to find them but I am sure that there are second broods waiting to fledge – whether they survive the torrential downpours of the past few days we will never know.

For the second year running Swallows have fledged more than fifty young from the buggy shed at the local Golf Club.