Sunday, 31 July 2011

Preparing for the Next Brood

As it has been quite a while since the Great Tits fledged and there has been no more activity seen in the camera nest box I decided it was time to clean it out.

The box conveniently has removable panels at the front which makes cleaning a doddle.


The nest wasn't as high as I had imagined though it was probably compressed towards the end with the weight of two adults and four youngsters. The camera can just be seen at the top of the box.


The nest and the bottom of the box were alive with fleas and mites so it was as well to dispose of it.


Hidden well under the moss was one of the two eggs which didn't hatch.


The box was brushed out and then sprayed with Ark-Klens. That was left to dry for an hour and then the box wiped out with kitchen tissues. Once the front panels were re attached the box was ready for any prospective roosters or nest builders.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Friday at the Flicks - Early Morning Corvids, Young Blue Tits, Hay Making

Long before I get up in the morning there are many birds visiting the Birdy Bistro. At the moment there are several young Crows and Jackdaws with the occasional Magpie:

When the young Blue Tits visited earlier in the week I was able to take some video of them as they helped themselves to the peanuts.

On yesterday afternoons walkabout there were scores of seagulls over the built up part of the village. They were there for well over an hour but I didn't see them visit any of the fields which is where they are usually found. We ambled across to lane which divides two fields to see if there were any gulls there. No gulls but the farm workers were busy gathering hay the modern mechanised way. The crop had already been cut. First the fallen hay stalks were raised up so the bailer could easily do its work. Then the bales were loaded on to trailers to take back to the storage area.

Have a great weekend observing the wildlife around you.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

A Good Read

Let me start by saying this has nothing to do with nature or photography. One type of book I really enjoy reading is autobiographies of people who have travelled the world. Not your everyday tourist type of person but those who have set out on an adventure making a leap into unknown territory for them.

Many years ago I had a proof edition of 'The Autobiography of an Old Drifter' which I read many times. It is the story of Percy Clark of  Victoria Falls who drifted around Africa in the early 1900's. Having seen how much the first editions of the book can fetch at auction I am peeved at having lost my copy though I have found a reasonably priced used reprint on Amazon.

Another book I found enthralling was 'The Long Walk', The story of Slavomir Rawicz who was sentenced to hard labour in a Russian Siberian Gulag, escaped and walked for a year covering 4000 miles to reach freedom. I wish I could remember in which country it was considered bad manners to eat everything from the plate. Eating it all told the provider that they hadn't given you enough. Not the thing to do when a poor villager is sharing their own scarce food stores with a complete stranger. Good manners was to let out a loud belch to show you were full and how much you had enjoyed the meal.

Recently I have found a book to go with those: 'You've Gone Too Far This Time, Sir'. The autobiography of a British junior school teacher (Danny Bent) who decided to cycle to India. I haven't read it all yet but like the previous books mentioned it gives fascinating glimpses of the people he meets on his journey, their lifestyles, customs and the hazards he has to overcome on the way. Though not the best prose and sometimes superficial and disjointed I have found it difficult to put down. I couldn't help laughing at the part where he had lost the visa which would allow him to leave Russia at any border. The border guard told him he would have to go back the way he entered or for a consideration the guard could help though it would take a lot of effort, time and money to bribe all the people needed to smooth his passage. As soon as Danny handed over $50 the guard immediately waved him through! His first lesson in the art of bribery.

The ebook edition is free, at the moment anyway. It is a Kindle edition from Amazon, free on and I assume the same will go for If you have a Kindle ereader - no problem. If not, no worries as there are apps for the iPad and Android devices as well as a reader for the PC (and probably for the Mac) These are free to download. Once installed you use the app / reader to access Amazon's Kindle store, sign in if you have an Amazon account, create one if not, find and download the book. You 'buy' the book though the price is £0.00. There are other zero priced Kindle ebooks on Amazon so you may find something of interest to you.

If you have read and enjoyed a book on a similar theme to those above please let me know so I can build up my store of reading for next Winter.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Wings for Wednesday

It has been abysmal lighting conditions here for photography for most of the past couple of weeks or so. Thick dark clouds have meant having to up the ISO rating to Winter levels so may recent photos are very grainy. This is a pity as so many young birds have been visiting the garden recently.

Amongst the corvids visiting have been this young Magpie
Juvenile Magpie

and for the first time Carrion Crows.
Juvenile Crow

Great to see a group of young Blue Tits regularly visiting the nut feeder:
Juvenile Blue Tits

Of course there have been plenty of young Starlings about:
Juvenile Starling

I haven't spotted any young Goldfinches as yet but there are about five adult regulars:

Monday, 25 July 2011

Macro on Monday - Guess What

Congratulations and virtual Gold Stars to Frank, Adrian and Keith for identifying last week's subject as a Blue-tailed Damselfly. To Matron a Silver Star for identifying it as a Damselfly. It was one which had somehow flown into the kitchen in spite of all the mesh I have over the two doors it had to negotiate.

Page_1    Blue-taled Damselfly

This week the part to be identified is in the large picture, top left.
The other photos act as a clue.

Guess what:

No prizes, just for fun.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Friday at the Flicks - Night Visitors

Very little of note going on here recently though I must admit I haven't really been in the mood to notice. Been feeling weary with life not helped by being in a bad temper a lot of the time.

Hedgehogs continue to visit nightly.

This one from earlier in the year when there were frequent visits by a mouse.

Have a great weekend observing the wildlife around you.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Macro on Monday - Guess What

Well done and virtual gold stars to Adrian and Matron for identifying last week's mystery object as being a wasp. Not exactly one of my favourite creatures.

Page_1    Wasp

Once again I have put together three views of parts of the same object. These are crops from the same photograph.

Guess what:

 Good luck. No prizes, just for fun.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Friday at the Flicks - Great Tit Family

It is quite a while since the Great Tit youngsters left the nest. I saw an adult and three fledglings two days after that first flight and then they disappeared until last Friday afternoon. I can't be sure they were the same family but there they were - one adult and three youngsters. The first part of the video was shot through an area of the kitchen window with strong reflections but things got better when they moved to a feeder close by.

Since then they have been spotted around the garden on most days.

Have a great weekend observing the wildlife around you.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

A Wednesday of Wings

It's that time of year when the air is busy with insects. Some times too many for comfort. Sunday was a good day for lazing in the garden but that idea didn't last very long as everything was soon covered by an invasion of greenfly and those tiny thunder flies. At least one spider must have been happy when its web filled up with breakfast, lunch and dinner for days ahead.

web 1

There is a bush growing just over the fence though most of it seems to be my side. Over the past week it has been a constant attraction for scores of bumble bees.

Bumble Bee

It is also the start of the Crane Fly season here. They often stay in the same place on a window for hours on end. (That is not a sting but a back leg in line with its body)

Crane Fly

Finally it is also the damselfly season on my garden pond. There have been several males and a few female Bluetailed Damselflies.

Blue Tailed Damselfly

Bluetailed Damselflies 3

Monday, 11 July 2011

Macro on Monday - Guess What

Aha. Caught you all out last week. I love to chop up some chives to sprinkle on a chunk of cheese and last week's close up was of a chives flower.

Image 08    P1020662

This week for an experiment instead of giving a clue I have taken three photos, through the microscope, of different parts of the same object. The parts are not to scale. Each is the result of stacking between 20 and 30 focus stacked shots.

Guess what:

 Good luck. No prizes, just for fun.

I must start putting my glasses on to read the time on my bedside radio. Shot out of bed this morning only to find it was 5.15 a.m. and not my usual 6.15 a.m.. It was beautifully deserted on our earlier than usual walkabout. I did get one surprise on our return. It has been quite a while since I saw a Heron in the garden pond. As I glanced out of the kitchen window it took me by surprise when one took off. I had forgotten just how big they are.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Hungry Juvenile Jackdaw

I'm here Ma and I'm hungry:

Juvenile Jackdaw 2

Juvenile Jackdaw 1

Oh well. If you won't feed me I'll see what this tastes like::

Juvenile Jackdaw 3

Juvenile Jackdaw 4

Photos were enhanced using the ReDynaMix plugin.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Friday at the Flicks - Juvenile Jackdaws, Red Admiral

Just a bit wet here last night. Raging thunderstorm with 0.61 inches (15.5mm) of rain recorded in half an hour. Not a lot by some standards but a great deal for this part of the country. It was so intense that the even the satellite TV signal was lost.

Every morning for the past few days the air has been filled with the squawking of hungry juvenile Jackdaws. They are old enough to feed themselves and if they pester the adults they get chased away. As always Jackdaws are very wary and fly away if they see the slightest human movement so part of this video was filmed through the kitchen window and the remainder captured automatically by the Hedgehog camera.

Visits by butterflies are still something of a rarity this year. I have seen a few whites and the occasional brown flutter through the garden but this Red Admiral has been the only one to stay for a short while.

 Have a great weekend observing the wildlife around you.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Median Wasp

At this time of year there are always wasps visiting the pond to drink but yesterday was the first time I had noticed this particular variety. A Median Wasp  -  Dolichovespula media. Common to much of Europe this is a relatively new species to Britain having appeared in the 1980s

Median Wasp

Not the best of views but it wouldn't cooperate, always coming back to the same lily leaf and always facing the same way. For a good view showing the markings and shape hover over the thumbnail on this page on Garden Safari.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Macro on Monday - Guess What

Congratulations and virtual Gold Stars to Adrian, Wilma and Keith for identifying the close shot of a tea bag, Sydney would have been proud of you. (For those who remember the Tetley Tea Folk)

P1020633c    P1020630

I couldn't make my mind up what to use today but finally decided on this.

Guess what:
Image 08

Clue: Love it with a chunk of cheese, though not this part.

No prizes. Just for fun.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

On Wings of Reflection

On our afternoon walkabout down a narrow footpath I spotted a Southern Hawker which obligingly landed on a nearby stalk for a while. The colours were blown out in the direct sunlight but on viewing the photo I could see the nearby green vegetation reflected on, or maybe refracted through, its normally transparent wings.

Dragonfly 1

Dragonfly Wing

Friday, 1 July 2011

Friday at the Flicks - Moorhen, Rainy Weather

I don't see the Moorhen every day as sometimes it arrives while I'm still in the land of nod and leaves before we get up. On the whole I am pleased it doesn't stay all day. Since it arrived and decided water lily flowers were delicious I am lacking some colour in the pond.

Here an early morning visit:

The Moorhen may be smaller that a fat waddling Wood Pigeon but it is the only bird I have see attack one and drive it away from food.

Here the Moorhen went walkabout on the frame that supports the feeders and even spent a short while on the wires above. Unfortunately I missed recording it walk along the wires:

Finally another time when a Wood Pigeon took advantage of a rain storm to have a thorough shower. At one stage the rain was so heavy I thought it would knock the pigeon over.

Have a great weekend obsering the wildlife around you.
Related Posts with Thumbnails