Our friends from the Species Habitat Protection Group have turned their attention to the sad lack of properly constituted tree holes in our woodland — a flaw underlined in our recent ecology survey.
They are particularly keen to promote the habitat of pied flycatchers which already nest in our deficient holes — the oak trees are just too young (unlike the humans involved) — not gnarly and creviced enough!
We have it on authority that the pied flycatchers are due back from Africa tomorrow so, as always on our land, there was an imperative! Jan, Jon and Roger arrived this morning with 12 new nest boxes and got them up in the nick of time.
Ready for the arrival of our little avian orcas.
On their behalf I’d like to thank Jan, Jon and Roger and we look forward to more of these beautiful little birds nesting here in future.
or are we just seeing what was there all along, albeit in the shadows.
My daughter lives in a modern development in the centre of Peterborough, a city of over 200,000 people. They don’t have jackals in the subways (like Tel Aviv) but since lockdown she has been working from home and has noticed snakes in the garden, grass snakes and there are adders too. Her neighbour recently opened the door to a Roe Deer.
Feral goats have come down off the Great Orm, a hill in North Wales, to roam the streets of Llandudno left deserted by the tourists.
Locked down in Mid Wales we are spending much of our time out of doors and seeing more of the wildlife than I have ever done before.
In the wood there are flashes of Pied Flycatchers and all around the sound of Wood Warblers, starting their little engines. A Redstart poses briefly in the sunshine:
We have discovered lizards for the first time, basking in the unseasonal sunshine — skittish and shy, unlike this celebrity cousin down the road at Ynes Hir — posing for the visitors to the reserve when I last visited.
I always knew we had newts in the pond but we recently noticed something very strange — some have great big (relatively) floppy, webbed hind feet and pin-like tail extensions —
In case you are in any doubt about the identity of these little beauties — look! No spots under the chin:
Now we know that they are Palmate Newts we put them back quickly as they are protected!
Back home for tea having guiltily spent the afternoon pond dipping without even the pretence of a single grandchild but not before checking out the Pied Flycatchers nesting in the oak tree by the track.
Spring is a frenetic time but this year is different — rather than dashing about doing what Humans do, we are locked down at home so we can look around and see what most years we might miss. All within walking distance of home! Suddenly we have visitors!
Walking in the forestry above the village the din of Willow Warblers was deafening — seemed there was one at the top of every other tree (and not a Willow in sight!) Was this a fall — had they all just dropped en masse out of the sky on their migration?
Home again and the first Wood Warbler announces his presence with a call like a tiny quad bike starting (said to sound like a coin spinning on a marble slab!) Usually hidden in the foliage, for the last week or so when the oaks are still not quite in leaf we have a chance to spot these lovely birds.
In the glorious Spring sunshine we took our daily exercise climbing nearby Van Hill
We’ve seen Tree Pipits doing their parachuting display flight and hear our local Garden Warblers who flit around the shrubs and hedgerows singing their own “irresolute chatter” trying not to be photographed!
Today we walked miles in search of a Common Redstart, up on the hill in a row of mature Oak and Rowan we could hear but not see them — all we have is this chap on the wire.
We have become enchanted by the Pied Flycatchers, Bill checks them out every day, this one we call Orca.
All pictures, except fuzzy Tree Pipit, thanks to Bill Branford (all rights reserved).