Thursday, 26 February 2009

Bumblee and Goldcrest

The frogs are still active in the pond. There was a lot of bird activity in the tree three gardens up the road early this morning. It appears to be a meeting place for birds travelling in the area, including birds that pass through our garden. In just a few minutes I noticed a goldfinch, greenfinches, a great tit and a blue tit as well as a small flock of startlings.

Later in the morning I noticed a goldcrest in the tree that overhangs our back garden. This is the first time I have seen this tiny song bird in our garden (but I did get a close encounter in the local park - see earlier entry).

When the sun came out I watched a queen bumble bee investigating the holes between the bricks in a low brick wall. Probably looking for a nest site.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Frog courtship

A lot more frogs have appeared in the pond. Difficult to count because they are easily disturbed and shoot of in all directions. There are several pairs and clumps off courting frogs. As to be expected there is also a lot more spawn, about 8 clumps in all, one being much larger.

As it got dark, the frog chorus started up and continued all evening. When I went outside to put the rubbish out (at about 10.00pm) I noticed that the sky looked rather spooky right out of a horror film.

It wasn't foggy so I can only assume that it was the lights from the sports stadium reflecting off the underside of very low cloud. It did look very odd.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

First spawn in the pond

I noticed a pair of frogs in the pond on Friday. There was also a solitary frog on its own.

This morning I noticed two small clumps of frog spawn floating in the pond, one in the middle and the other on a shallow ledge.
Our cat has also notioced the action going on in the pond. The chances of her catching a frog are vertualy zero as the frogs react to my slight movements a metre or more away in the conservatory. We did need to rescue a couple of frogs frpom her last year. They would scream when our cat gently patted them, which effectively made our cat very wary of them.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

First frog of the year

Just came back from Spain yesterday to find the first common frog had arrived at our garden pond.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Longtailed tits, Gold crest and Redwing

As I walked back from taking our daughter to school I was attracted by the sounds calls of Longtailed tits up in the trees. I watched them as they flitted around, hardly staying in one place for more than a second, making them quite difficult to photograph.

I carried on and walked through Easthill Park. There was lots of bird activity today; blackbirds, thrush and numerous blue tits. I was attracted by a small bird in the bushes at the edge of the park. I followed it as it flitted from branch to branch, bush to bush. My perseverance was rewarded, it was a tiny goldcrest. The goldcrest is the UK's smallest songbird, dull green above and buff white below with a distinctive orange or yellow crown stripe. In winter it may join with flocks of tits and other woodland species. It was the presence of blue tits that first attracted my attention. I managed to take a few pictures. They are not very good as it was quite dark and the goldcrest moved very quickly.

As with many of our songbirds, the goldcrest population has declined recently. Goldcrest also suffer in very cold winters, this year being a change to the recent succession of mild winters.
They are known to take up residence in suburban parks and large gardens. Apparently large numbers of migrants arrive in the UK in the Autumn and may be found in coastal bushes, particularly on the east and south coasts.

Just before left the park I noticed a small flock of Redwings. Unfortunately they were disturbed by a car before I got a close look and they flew up into the trees.


Monday, 2 February 2009

Snow, snow, snow!

Apart from the dusting of snow we had in January this year the last decent amount of snow was last year 6th April.

View of our back garden.

As my daughter was out sledging with friends I took a walk around the Old Village (Portslade). The following are a few of the pictures I took

My favourite view of the Old Village, coming in from the west. It looks even more beautiful covered in snow - a possible contender for my home made Christmas cards next year.

A beautiful robin, singing from a bush, another Christmas card contender.

A small feeding flock of goldfinches

I walked along to Easthill Park to see what birds were around. Compared to the snowy days last year, there were very few birds around.

The blackbirds were the most active, scattering the snow so they could root around in the leaf litter.And a few blue tits (above) great tits and a chaffinch. A flock of what looked like fieldfare flew over but did not settle.

The snow created some amazing patterns on the branches of trees.

I am not sure if the ponies in the adjacent horse rescue centre appreciated the snow as much as the children.

A family were building an igloo. They had a plastic container which they used to compact snow into bricks and then used them to construct the above. Unfortunately I did not see the outcome and it they managed to get the roof to stay on.

To my surprise, our cat (which was a house cat and never been outside before we had her a coupe of years ago) was quite happy to brave the snow.