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find this page of any interest. Do you want me to put a few pictures
page? If there is not much response I will most likely
take it off. I shall attempt to update it as often as possible, or when
something good happens !
A recap on April 2001
Most of the migrants
arrived very early this year but most of them seemed to pass through. We
had a Cuckoo on the 12 th, and a Redstart the following day, which is
the earliest in 22 years. Buzzards, which have only moved into the
forest this past few years were much in evidence displaying over the
nest sites. The pair will soar at a great height and then the female
often closes her wing and plummets down to the wood below. Plants
pushing on as normal, with Toothwort, a parasite on Hazel, found on the
20th. Bumble bees frequent. Woodcock are 'roding' or in other words
performing their display flight at dusk over the wood where they intend
to nest. I have three pond in the garden. All three species of Newt are
back, the Great Crested, Palmate, and Smooth. Both Frogs and Toads have
spawned and gone, but a pair of mallard duck took up residence and have
eaten all the tadpoles. I am tempted to shoot the ducks.
Ravens pass over twice a day back to feed their young after scavenging in the
field around Bewdley. They always nest early, trying to coincide with lambing
time. Not that there is a shortige of food this year, because I have never seen
so many rabbits. The grass in the meadows around the house are like putting
greens. Due to the foot and mouth outbreak, the forest has been devoid of people
and it is strange how many species are turning up in places they were
never seen before.
It is the 8th of the month now and the
forest is still closed. All being well, things will be back to normal before
long. The plague of rabbits continues, and that can be seen by the lack of
cowslips in the meadows. What few there are
being stunted. The bluebells are just breaking as I
write, and the vernal species like Wood Anemone, Violet, Dogs mercury, Celendine,
Ransoms(nearly),Bugle, Barren Strawberry,Yellow Archangel, Wood Sorrel, Primrose, and Cowslip are in full
bloom. There is a fine spell at the moment, but there have been hard frosts in
the mornings. In the wetter meadows down the valley, Marsh Marigold and Ladies
Smock is in bloom. One or two butterflies are out such as Tortoiseshell, and
| Saw my first queen Wasp yesterday. Got some pictures of Crows,
Magpies and a Buzzard feeding on a dead rabbit which I had staked out. I
tried it two days ago and got to the camera just in time to see a fox making off
with the rabbit, and that was in the middle of the day! The most interesting
thing of late was the discovery of a Green Woodpeckers nest only 6 feet off the
ground in an old apple tree. I rigged and open microphone up with a 70 metre
cable to the house and got some superb recordings of the bird digging out the
hole, and calling. It nearly blew my headphones off when the bird did his loud 'yaffle'
cry only 18 inches from the mike!. I found the nest the day he started digging,
so I will know exactly how long it takes to complete the nest hole. It is the
10th day now and he is still digging. A pair of Stock Doves are
nesting in the next tree. A Blackbird is feeding young in the nest under a
nature reserve sign alcove. Still no Song Thrushes around, but two pairs of the
larger Mistle Thrush are nesting. The migrants around the farm are all
settled now, but are down in numbers. Those here are Redstarts, Willow Warblers,
Chiff Chaffs, Pied Flycatchers, Cuckoo, Wood Warblers, Tree Pipits, and
There are several pairs of House Sparrows nesting in boxes in the garden which
is good because there is a national decline in the species. We have some
old galvanised sheets laid down around the edge of the meadow and these are
great for a number of species. I have just had a look now, and there were
several Slow worms, Field Voles, a Toad, and a Wood Mouse. Found a Coal Tit's
nest in the ground at the base of an old hazel bush. (That's the tit with
the white patch at the back of the neck)
The Oak trees are just breaking bud, and the Blackthorn and Wild Cherry are in
full blossom. Saw my first bat of the year
last night, and my wife came across a Glow worm, so things must be warming up.
Put a few nest boxes up for
the late arrivals as the house sparrows have taken over so many. Saw a
strange bird feeding in the meadow this morning. Turned out to be a
Wheatear which is very late as they are usually about the first to arrive,
often in March. they nest on moorland so he was way off course. Mind you,
they often nest down rabbit holes so he could be alright here! Found a
beautiful Chaffinch nest, nearly complete, in a bramble patch down the
track. I say beautiful, because they decorate the nest with lichens and
flower petals. Play woodpecker sound ( Just
trying this out) Have not got this streaming rubbish sorted yet. Click on it
and see what happens.
Well, I've got a phobia about thunder and lightning, and had a good night
last night. It blew my modem out. Did some pics of Marsh Marigold this
afternoon. Found a Kingfisher nest site. Will keep you posted.
Also a Grey Wagtail about three metres away. This sudden burst of warm
weather has brought the Pipistrelle bats out around the house.
Well, it's been a bad week for me. This phobia of mine about lightning
has really been put to the test. Several short bad storms. I spent most of
the time with my bottle of bells and headphones on. The weather has
gone mad. A couple of hot days and then back to cold wet conditions. there
seems to have been a second fall of migrants.- many more redstarts about.
The chaffinch is sitting and I think the Woodpecker has started to lay. I
had an E Mail about some one with small blue butterflies in the garden.
These are Holly Blues, and the catterpillars feed on holly and then later,
with the second brood, on ivy. The Grey wagtail has got two eggs, and the
chaffinch is sitting. Went to the black country museum at the weekend and
it was strange to see a Coot nesting on a canal in the grounds, with the
nest built almost completely of rubbish, including tin cans and polythene
bags. had two Goldfinches in the garden today, which is a bird we don't
see very often down here. Somebody wanted to see what it's like where I
live, so here's a picture.
picture was done
on the CanonXM1 video
camera, as four still shots,
and then joined together.
Not bad eh?
What a great week it has been for the weather for a change. The fine
spell has really brought things on. The chaffinch is still sitting, and
the Woodpecker too. The cat has had one Blue Tit out of a box in the
garden, so it's a good job the the Redstarts and Pied Flycatchers went
somewhere else. I bought the cat for my wife as a 30th wedding anniversary
present. It is a pedigree Burman. I went for the snooty type because
I thought that they just sat on silk cushions all day and left the birds
alone. She does,- she leaves the sparrows alone, and goes for the good
|The Pearl Bordered
Fritillary butterflies are out in good numbers. It is one of the rare
species found in the forest. They are often found where woodland work
has gone on, because this attracts violets, which are the food plant of
the catterpillars. Saw my first dragonfly of the year today. It was the
small blue damsel fly.(Ishnura) Watched the two mallard
duck catching newts in my pond, as they came up to the surface for air.
That's another excuse to give the ducks lead poisoning. It's funny
but no matter how long one has been in this game, there is always a
surprise around the corner. I got one last Tuesday - it was literally a
chance encounter of a lifetime. I was walking in the forest with
my wife and dog, which is an event in it'self. The dog suddenly shot
back from the side of a track after disturbing a male Adder. The good
bit is though, that it was in the process of swallowing a vole.
Pearl B Fritillary
Now to see an
adder feed in the wild is something that very few people have seen, and
most never will. I had my digital video camera with me,(the Canon
XM1) and managed
to get some really good footage. The picture here is off the tape.
Normally when any snake is eating, they will regurgitate the food. Grass
snake often do this. Evidently the Adder bites the prey then waits for
the venom to take effect then seeks out the stricken animal.
have jaw bones which come apart so that they can swallow large items,
and it was interesting to see this one put his mouth back in place after
swallowing the vole. I was telling a friend about this in the pub
and we had been talking about the fact that Kidderminster had lost
it's local hospital. He pointed out that if you were walking in the
forest and got bitten you would now have to go to Worcester to get a
'semen' injection. I replied that I would probably end up in Afghanistan
if anybody tried to inject any semen into me!
Well the weather seems to have settled a bit now. The chaffinch has
got three young and the Woodpecker is still sitting. Talking about
woodpeckers, my wife jean has found another two Greater Spotted
Woodpeckers nests with young, all within 400yards of each other. That's 1
Green and Three Greaters we've found now, which is quite a density. It
must be all the fat and nuts we give them in the Winter! Tried to sell the
Adder footage to the BBC but they don't seem interested. It's strange how
birds addapt. I went to B&Q (not an advert) yesterday, and had an ice
cream in the car park. Across the way was a small patch of scrub and
planted bushes. In full song was a Whitethroat, which is a bird which has
declined a great deal in the past few years. Who knows what there might be
on Sainsbury's ! Found two Twayblade orchids in the meadow. It has a green
flower spike and is the most un-orchid like one could imagine. Went
fishing for the first time in a year the other day and had one 10 lb
Common carp. The first of the larger hawker Dragonflies are out. It's the
large blue bodied one - Libellula depressa. Had an interesting E-Mail from
Canada the other day. This couple had found a Ruby Throated Humming birds
nest in the garden. Make you sick, doesn't it!
A bad day! We had a bantam which has been sitting for
21 days in the shed. The chicks hatched yesterday. Gone this morning,
during the day, so it's Magpies or Crows. They got the chaffinch chicks as
well. Decided to give them a little lead poisoning- only a warning though,
I don't like killing anything really. I shot to the side of them several
times, and the corvids, or Crow family learn quickly. I've hardly seen one
all day. I staked another rabbit out, and wired it down. There hasn't even
been a Buzzard down. I think they know that because there were no Magpies
or Crows around that something was wrong.
I did get
some nice footage on foxes though. Even they knew there was something not
right though. There appears to be one cub and the vixen. Even the cub was
extremely nervous. How do they know? Does the vixen pass on some
kind of message that we cannot understand? The interesting
thing was that the cub ran off across to the other side of the meadow with
a mouthful of rabbit, and buried it. A few minutes later
magpies were digging it up. - and the fox sat and watched! These
pics are off the a Canon UC9Hi8. I would never have been able to do stills
in the light as it was 8.45.
I'm going up into the
top meadow now because I know where the magpies roost. I'll just fire the
air gun empty, and it makes a hell of a bang. That should give them
the message. Long live conservation. Hope there's no Bogey men up there.
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