Why leave the garden? It was another beautiful sunny day. Quite mild, and more time for getting on with the spring clear up. Not that it’s too much of a hardship with so much to see just by looking around. And there’s one big surprise at the end.
Overhead, several buzzards flew over late morning. The gulls chased them without ever really getting serious; just enough to shepherd the buzzards directly over the garden.
The gulls were rather more upset when a heron crossed the sky. They cleared a large passage for it, and by the sound of them were clearly not happy. It’s the first time I’ve seen a heron from the garden so although it was some distance away and the shot isn’t up to much, it’s here as part of the ongoing record.
A good part of the afternoon was spent removing weeds and leaves from the garden pond. It was somewhat neglected last year and was becoming a bit of a tangle. I clean it out by hand and spotted several newts (plus I inadvertently caught one, but quickly returned it to the water). The job’s only part done, but it does mean that tonight I was able to take this photo of one of the many newts.
Slightly off topic is this next shot. It was taken during the day but I’ve converted it to black and white. I had hoped to see a plane leave trails directly across the moon (I think I’ve got a shot like that from several years ago), but this will do.
The big (and very welcome) surprise comes towards the end of these video clips from the trail camera. Plenty of foxes, and a couple of badgers to enjoy.
Watch the video and you’ll know what I’m looking forward to seeing soon!
Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 7D and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L USM IS lens except the newt which was taken with the EF 100mm f/2.8L macro IS USM lens.
It’s been one of those quiet pottering days, some of the time spent in the garden but with a brief walk out on the Downs on the way back from taking yet more garden cuttings to the local recycling centre. I’ll start though with a photo from last night. It’s a lone frog in the pond, though a noisy one. We didn’t do well with frogs last year, so I’m not sure whether we’ll get any spawn this time around.
Pretty seems to turn into a shy fox in daylight. She does come by, but today refused to move beyond the back of the garden.
The local recycling centre is about a mile and half from here, just a short drive and to get to it I have to drive past the entrance to Sheepcote Valley. Sheepcote is my favourite kestrel site, but there weren’t any around today. Instead of roaming the valley I headed down one of the footpaths.
It was sunny but cool, and the skylarks were hovering overhead filling the air with their distinctive trilling. They really do make it feel like spring has arrived.
Skylarks are meadow birds and never venture too far from the fields. Goldfinches, however, are tempted to come into gardens and a small group (scarcely enough to call a flock) were flitting in and out during the afternoon. Mainly they hid out of sight in the higher branches, but just briefly they showed enough of themselves to warrant a photo.
Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 7D and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L USM IS lens with the exception of the frog which was captured with the EF 100mm f/2.8L macro IS USM lens.
There was hint of sunshine this morning. It didn’t last and we’re currently shrouded in mists this evening, high up in the South Downs. But the sun was nice while it was there, and it brought out the early morning duck feeders to Falmer pond. I’m sure the ducks did well enough, but whatever the ducks don’t get, there are always other hungry and watchful creatures around determined not to miss out on the free grub.
Patience proved to be a virtue, and after several scurries back out of sight, the rat was rewarded with by the appearance of several pieces of bread.
With each piece it would disappear into the undergrowth, before re-emerging a minute or two later empty handed. I watched its route each time.
This is where it was taking its hand-outs. To the top of the tree in the left of this shot. I suspect it may have a nest up there. It stands just over 6 feet high, and it undoubtedly safe from any potential flooding. Wise little rat who lives in a tree
Later in the day a similar pattern played out as some of the lunchtime duck-feeders distributed more bread. This time the bread was going into the water, not on the bank. A lesser black-backed gull circled several times and took its share, but the main beneficiaries were the carp.
Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 7D and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L USM IS lens.
With the sun deciding to stay around for the whole day you could be forgiven for thinking that spring is really on its way. There’s blossom on the trees, and this pretty male chaffinch was making the most of it this morning at Seven Sisters.
There was little else until the end of the day, when I passed back through Seven Sisters on my way home. The smaller birds were hiding in the trees, but a pair of mute swans were gliding on the still water in the end-of-day light.
Not much change in the garden. In other words, Pretty was back flying the flag for the foxes. I don’t think she scratched or picked at herself at all this evening, which is certainly a good sign that her treatment for mange is working. She certainly looks well enough as you can see in these photos.
Camera note: all bird photos taken with the Canon 7D and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L USM IS lens. The fox photos were taken with the EF 100mm f/2.8L macro IS USM lens.