Saturday, 18 February 2017

Frog Spawn

Following the arrival of frogs two days ago - there are now 6 clumps of frog spawn in our pond.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Frogs return to my pond

I awoke this morning to loud croaking chorus from our pond heralding the frogs return following hibernation.
The pond is just outside the conservatory window and the frogs notice the smallest movement at the window - but definitely 13 frogs at the moment

Courtship in full swing as they are already jostling to form pairs.

Males and females common frogs look the same but there are a few clues you can look for.

The female common frogs are often a bit larger than the male and the female has a darker throat, while the male’s throat is often white.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Goldcrest visiting my bird feeder

A pleasant surprise visitor to my bird feeder - a Goldcrest. Smaller than a wren, along with the firecrest, the goldcrest is our smallest bird.
I noticed the goldcrest in the branches of the buddleia and it eventually came down onto the feeding tray of my bird feeder picking up tiny bits of food that had been dropped by sparrows and tits feeding on the fat balls.

The goldcrests plumage is olive above and buff white below, with darker wings displaying two white wing bars and an orange or yellow crown stripe flanked by a black edge.
Adult males have an orange or orange-yellow crown stripe, in the female the stripe is yellow. In the photographs the head stripe appears to be orange so this goldcrest is probably a male. Looking at the video the crest looks more yellow - but maybe due to poor light and damp windows.

After clearing up all the scraps from the feeding tray, the goldcrest flew back up into the buddleia and after a few seconds surprised me by flying onto the birdfeeder and eating tiny bits from the fat balls.

Goldcrests are largely insectivores so I was surprised to see it  on the bird feeder

In winter I have observed the occasional goldcrest foraging for food in the evergreen passion flower in our back garden but never seen on the bird feeder before.

Monday, 23 January 2017

magpie eating ice cystals

Another of those icy foggy days. Magpie back at the bird feeder early this morning but could not get a drink as the bird bath was frozen and I had not yet had the chance to defrost it.

The magpie flew up onto the roof of our neighbours shed and was using its beak to scratch off and 'eat' the frost that covered the roof of the shed.
Not long after I tipped boiling water into the two bird and separate water bowl to melt the ice and then refilled, tipping in a little of the boiling water to make the water a bit warmer and less likely to refreeze.

Although we have few actually snowy days, there are many days when standing water is frozen and limiting places where birds can get a  drink.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Clever magpie

Magpie demonstrates its a member of the crow family by overcoming the problem of getting food from one of my 'fat ball' bird feeders.
First attempts were from the left hand side of the bird feeder - stretching from the very bendy outer branches of the adjacent buddleia bush, just as his beak touched the fat ball the magpie would over balance and fall off.

The magpie gave up for a while and found small food items underneath the bird feeder - that had been dropped by the sparrows and blue this that visit the feeder.

When the magpie could not find any more food on the ground - it tried again to tackle the bird feeder, from different positions and eventually found a way to reach the food.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

winter butterfly

Another warm spell and noticed this tortoiseshell sunning itself on the west facing wall of our bungalow.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Acrobatic House Mouse

I watched this acrobatic house mouse outside my window feeding on the fruits of out passion flower.

It was fascinating to watch as he clambered around just outside the window and seeming unaware I was just the other side of the glass.

I have included some video footage below


Better quality footage at

House mice are often treated as vermin - but these tiny mammals are a great example of adaptability. In fact they have colonised much of the planet land mass as they have adapted to us humans.

The house mouse originally came from Asia and spread to Europe 4000 years ago. House mice took advantage of the spread of farming and hitch hiked on ships trading with other countries.

One might also blame mice (and rats) for domestic cats as they were first brought into Europe by the Romans due to the cats 'mousing' skills

Amongst the 44 plus children wildlife books I have written - high up there with the titles I enjoyed writing the most is a book about the humble house mouse.