Monday, 30 May 2011

More Babies

Baby Squirrel
The garden seems to be full of youngsters at the moment. This tiny squirrel probably came from the drey photographed below high up in an oak tree. Not sure if it fell from the drey or was just exploring.

I would imagine that they are very vulnerable alone on the ground, so I hope it found its way back.

The photograph below shows the drey, woven out of twigs and leaves, perched precariously on the branch of the tree.

Squirrel Drey

Finally, this weekend (a public holiday in the UK) is usually the weekend when we see the first roe deer fawns, if there are any. This year was no exception.

The field in front of our house has long grass at this time of year, before the farmer cuts it for hay. This is an ideal environment to bring up a fawn. It follows its mother around but is so small that you can only see its ears sticking out of the grass! I am looking forward to a better view of it and a better photo at some stage.

Roe Deer Doe and Fawn

Friday, 20 May 2011

I Hate Woodpeckers :(

I am a little late posting this because it happened a couple of weeks ago - just no time to post.

I realise that nature can be cruel but sometimes I find it hard to take. I posted a few weeks ago about the blue tits nesting in the box in our pergola. The box is just outside my office window and I heard tapping. It was a Great Spotted Woodpecker hammering away trying to get into the box. It was after the babies.

I kept chasing it away but it kept returning time and time again. Finally, it found a crack in the bottom of the box and started pulling out moss, part of the nest. I took a photo of it when it reached one of the babies - blood all over its beak :(

I realised that I had to do more to save them, but I did not want to interfere with the box too much otherwise the parents might abandon them. So, I stuck a piece of plastic over the crack and secured it with masking tape. I could feel movements in the box so some of the babies were still alive.

The GSW still kept coming back but luckily did not manage to hurt any more babies.

Mr & Mrs Blue Tit still continued to feed the remaining chicks until they finally fledged.

I will post a link to the photo I took but I prefer not to display directly in this post because I find it distressing.

Photo here.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

My Book is Completed :)

I mentioned in earlier posts about my project for 2010 photographing "A Year in the Life of an English Country Garden". I am pleased to say that I have now completed my book on Blurb and there is a preview available.

Comments and/or feedback would be very welcome.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Still Fighting

Fighting Cock Pheasants

The cock pheasants have been fighting on and off all day. I would have thought it was a bit late. I think most of the females are already sitting on their nests, but there are a couple of females still wandering around. These guys really don't like each other. They have started to leave feathers on the lawn after their bouts of fighting. They are very aggressive to each other.

At the other end of the spectrum, this hare was lying in the grass all afternoon, very relaxed. I have been finding out more about hares and their lifestyle from Marc Baldwin, whose web site ( is a mine of useful information about British wildlife.

Once again I crept up on this hare and only when I got close, did it sit up. You can see from the photo it is assessing how much of a threat I was! They rely on their camouflage and speed to avoid danger.

I wanted to post this photo because it shows really well the length of its front legs. These help make it the fastest land animal in the UK reaching speeds up to 45 mph.

Brown Hare

Monday, 2 May 2011

Feeding Time

Blue Tit with Caterpillar

The blue tit eggs have hatched in the nesting box on the pergola. Mum and Dad are very busy feeding the youngsters with lots of juicy caterpillars. I don't know how many little ones there are. It would be nice to have a nestcam. The incubation period is about 2 weeks and I think they have probably only just hatched in the last few days.

I have never yet seen them fledge. I think they must take their first flight out of the nest very early in the morning.

There are not many birds around at the moment. I think they are all sitting on their nests. The bird feeders have hardly been touched recently.

However, great excitement the other day when I saw a bullfinch. It landed on my office windowsill but had disappeared before I could get the camera out.

Yesterday, I caught my first ever glimpse of the cuckoo. We hear it every year but I have never managed to spot it. This year it has been exceptionally vociferous. It is calling from morning till night. I managed to find which tree it was sitting in but still could not spot it until it flew off. Again no possibility of a photo.

The amazing weather continues. It is not quite so warm but still very sunny. I don't recall getting any rain at all in April, which is very unusual, although there may have been a shower during the night on Saturday. It cannot have been much because the ground was dry when we got up. However, the cars have a layer of yellow pollen all over them and there were water droplet marks in the pollen - but not enough to wash off the pollen.

Finally, for this week, the hares seem to have taken up permanent residence in the garden. They are coming closer to the house and we see them every day - at least two of them. Even when I go outside to take a photo, I can get to within a few metres before they run off. I particularly like the photo below.

Brown Hare