Woods Mill

Woods Mill is a local wildlife reserve, about 15 miles from here. It's quiet spot, but usually provides something worthwhile to see. Last year I saw kestrel chicks, and had hopes of a repeat. I was too early, or at least there were no chicks in evidence. The kestrels were though, including this one which perched on the nesting box.

The sparrowhawks were out as well, though I hadn't expected to see one being mobbed by swallows!

The ponds were teeming with tadpoles…

But the real display was just above the small streams that criss-cross the reserve. The beautiful demoiselle damselflies are just beginning to appear. This is a female.

Late afternoon, just before we were leaving, we stopped by a woodland nest box. I've seen these birds before, but have never managed more than a snatched and blurred photo. Today I was in luck. A pair of adult nuthatches were busy gathering grubs for their brood.

You can just make out a hungry beak in this shot…

And talking of greedy youngsters, we have a few of those in the garden. Four or five of the cubs were out this evening, creating a touch of mayhem in the borders. They are certainly gaining in confidence…

Bold was keeping a close eye on them… and as a reward for her patience we gave her an egg.

But like greedy youngsters everywhere, one of the cubs badgered her so much that she dropped it. The cub made off with its prize.

Nature Blog Network
Camera note: all the Woods Mill shots taken with the EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens. The garden photos were taken with the EF 24-105 F4L IS USM lens.

This entry was posted in Behaviour, Bird of Prey, Birds, damselfly, Foxes, tadpole, Wildlife and tagged , , , , , , , .


  1. RobinL May 23, 2010 at 3:05 am #

    Brilliant. I love them all. The Nuthatch sure has a mouthful there!
    The Kits are just what you would think Kits are. A ball of mischief.
    Well done!

  2. debplatt May 23, 2010 at 4:05 am #

    The nuthatch feeding grubs to its open-mouthed baby was wonderful. Nice capture! :yes:

    Enjoyed all the pics. Felt bad about Bold losing her egg. :awww:

  3. gdare May 23, 2010 at 9:05 am #

    Well, she would probably give that egg to them, eventually 😀

  4. Vulpes vulpes May 23, 2010 at 10:05 am #

    Great selection – Kestrels AND Nuthatches!! The foxes made me laugh – just realised how the lower canines are designed in curves to carry eggs – it's obvious really! :p It looks as though the cubs will be regular visitors this year. :yes:

  5. Words May 23, 2010 at 11:05 pm #

    Deb, Bold does ok I think, but is absolutely selfless with the cubs. That will change in the coming months though!

  6. Words May 23, 2010 at 11:05 pm #

    Vulpes, yes the year of the cubs revisited! I'll check back on those kestrels in a couple of weeks or so, just in case there are chicks there.

    (You're right about the fox canines… they can have no other purpose :whistle:)

  7. Words May 23, 2010 at 11:05 pm #

    Robin, thanks. I ended with more photos there than I'd intended, but the nuthatches were great to see and I can never resist the foxes.

  8. Words May 23, 2010 at 11:05 pm #

    Darko, I suspect she does, but occasionally she needs to eat as well!

  9. cakkleberrylane May 24, 2010 at 1:05 pm #

    Beautiful photos! Everyone seems to have plenty to eat. Very nice of the nuthatches. I've never seen one before. And the foxes behaving like little foxes should! Tomorrow you'll need to put out a dozen eggs! 😆

  10. Words May 24, 2010 at 7:05 pm #

    Lois, thanks! I was delighted to see the nuthatches (not one of the garden visitors). The fox cubs are great fun!

  11. Words May 24, 2010 at 9:05 pm #


  12. SittingFox June 1, 2010 at 3:06 am #

    Mobbing can be such a strange behaviour at times. I doubt a swallow ever has much to fear from a sparrowhawk!

  13. Words June 2, 2010 at 9:06 pm #

    Adele, it's very similar to the way small dogs act tough to warn of a much larger opponent.

  14. Ukwildlife June 13, 2010 at 1:06 pm #

    Good photos. I saw my first nuthatch nest myself last week up in Scotland

  15. Words June 14, 2010 at 11:06 pm #

    Neil, I went back last week to check them out again, but the birds had flown.

  16. Wulpen October 19, 2012 at 8:10 pm #