May Top Trumps....wildlife geeks step this way and get your spots in here!

(683 Posts)
ArielThePiraticalMermaid Tue 01-May-12 09:37:30

I'll start - I'm hoping that someone will do better than an infernal wood pigeon and obnoxious noisy herring gull. Before the morning is up, hopefully.

And remember, cast ne'er a clout til May be out.

GrimmaTheNome Tue 01-May-12 09:54:32

I don't think I'm going outside today so all I've got is blackbirds and woodpigeons scoffing the suet block I lobbed onto the garden table.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Tue 01-May-12 09:55:51

It's bright sunshine here! And the wind has dropped - glory be.

Signing in - although nothing to report - yet.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Tue 01-May-12 10:04:10

Still wearing my clout! I get seen in in September, and she'd it like a carapace in June! It's pissing down in Framlingham. Absolutely no wildlife here whatsoever!

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Tue 01-May-12 10:06:19

Scrap that, I can hear a wood pigeon! confused

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Tue 01-May-12 10:06:58

Saggy, your second sentence is mystifying me.

Isn't a carapace a sea turtle's shell? confused

Northey Tue 01-May-12 10:16:13

<boggles at saggy>

Cowslips everywhere today, practically out of nowhere, glimmering softly on banks and verges.

Lots of flooded fields too.

Oh yes - I saw loads of cowslips yesterday but alway forget to mention flowers (as I usually can't identify them). They did seem to appear from nowhere.

Must walk down to the local pond at lunchtime to see if there is any frogspawn.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Tue 01-May-12 11:12:53

Yes. <<wanders if I'm having a humour malfunction>>
I get sewn into my thermals in May, and keep them on until June. Hence shedding them like a shell! maybe I should have said exoskeleton
Can we go back to seeing squirrells on boats please? confused

GrimmaTheNome Tue 01-May-12 12:06:46

Just for you here or here ... seems like its quite commonplace grin

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Tue 01-May-12 12:13:09


iseenodust Tue 01-May-12 12:20:07

After yesterday's glorious sunshine the rain is back. Six goslings on the raod and one parent being extremely protective.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Tue 01-May-12 12:32:53

grin @ Grimma! It's been tipping it down here today, I've just bought a hot chocolate and halved my takings!!

Northey Tue 01-May-12 13:09:20

Darling adventurous goslings!

GentleOtter Tue 01-May-12 13:13:12

Red kite, an owl, two red squirrels and a woodpecker but not all on the same day. That would be overload. and a rat at the bird feeder

GrimmaTheNome Tue 01-May-12 13:19:09

Hello Otter (I so so much want to see a real live wild otter...)

Lovely stuff but if not all in the same day then can't qualify for May TT grin. Not that we mind a bit of retrospection, but points only for fauna and flora actually spotted this month.

Northey Tue 01-May-12 13:26:24

Yes, and some people can be quite firm on the rules. Though who could possibly be cross with an otter?

Hi everyone

I've just seen a Great Spotted Woodpecker in my garden grin

YouBrokeMySmoulder Tue 01-May-12 14:43:19

ooh Ellie we have a ground woodpecker that comes to ours almost everyday - it is a very skittish thing but a lovely green colour.

GrimmaTheNome Tue 01-May-12 16:16:35

A ground woodpecker? Where do you live, YBMS? I googled 'ground woodpecker' and it came up with a Southern African bird, but that one is reddish not greenish.

AIBUqatada Tue 01-May-12 16:23:14

I'd LOVE to see an otter in the wild. Apparently there are some on our local river.

Once when I was swimming in a stream on Dartmoor a mammally thing flitted past me in the water, which could have been an otter. But I think it much more likely that it was a mink. I only had the tiniest glimpse.

That is a non-May2012 spot, sorry. ALL of the wildlife here has disappeared in protest at the lousy weather. I haven't had the smallest spot for days.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Tue 01-May-12 16:54:06

This is my only best otter anecdote - I used to live by the Torridge in a house share with some friends. One evening one of my mates and I were sharing some beers by the weir, chatting and generally loving life, and one popped up in the river about ten metres away and stood on its hind legs looking around for about 20 seconds. We didn't move a muscle. It could have been Tarka himself.

<wipes eyes with nostalgia>

UnChartered Tue 01-May-12 16:56:53

i saw some 'Lady's Smock' on the edge of the woods today - the google-machine says 'late spring/early summer flowering', perhaps the flower knows something we don't?

GentleOtter Tue 01-May-12 20:33:12

<hangs head with shame for sneaking in April Top trumps> grin

Ok, today we saw two red deer, a swallow and five fat ducks pecking at a tired cyclist's shoelaces.

I miss the otter who lived with us for almost a year and then went back to the wild. We can hear the otters calling to each other on still nights, they work the tiny stream about 50 feet from the house. I hope our girl is one of them.

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Tue 01-May-12 20:35:16

Swallows and swifts seen overhead tonight.

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Tue 01-May-12 20:36:15

Oh an I heard the cuckoo while filling the feeders.

laptopcomputer Tue 01-May-12 20:38:41

I heard the cuckoo abuot an hour ago whilst out with the dogs - really thought I was going to be the first with that!

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Tue 01-May-12 20:40:09

You lived with an otter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You're practically Gavin Maxwell (in the nicest possible sense) Wow! Tell me more, pleeeeeeease.

I went on a lovely stroll this evening and it actually felt like the start of summer. I saw.....<clears throat>

1) some sparrows
2) some pigeons
3) a gull on a lamp post
4) A tiger. It was definitely a tiger. It was a very large, fierce, orange cat with stripes.

Do I win?

GentleOtter Tue 01-May-12 20:40:36

envy at cuckoo.

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Tue 01-May-12 20:43:55

Cuckoo was heard by the warden on the reserve about 10 days ago but tonight was the first time I've heatd it this year.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Tue 01-May-12 20:45:24

Cuckoos are EVIL!

GrimmaTheNome Tue 01-May-12 20:48:17

grin at Otter being envy at a cuckoo when we're all massively envy at her namesakes!

GrimmaTheNome Tue 01-May-12 20:52:56

(Saggy has isshoos with cuckoos)

GentleOtter Tue 01-May-12 20:54:07

We found her as a baby - her mother and father had been killed as they were both found up the road. sad

I had no idea that they did not take to water immediately so she learned to swim in the bath at first then when she was older she went to the little stream.
She ate tiny fish (which cost me a fortune) then progressed to trout (bigger fortune). I was so proud of her the day she caught her first trout in the stream. They eat the middle and leave the heads and tails.

Her holt was the recycle bin turned on it's side and she was always free to go as she lived outside but she enjoyed coming in to the house and playing with my (then) young daughter.

It took hours and hours of living down by the water to try to coax her back to the wild and as she became more able and bigger, her natural instinct began to kick in. She was very excited when she discovered other otter spraint on a rock and she was happy to stay at the water.

She used to make many different noises and you could 'understand' when she was hungry, when she wanted to play, a 'cross' noise etc and there were different sounds when she went fishing.

She never bit any of us (hence my name) and although it is 7 years since she returned successfully back to the wild, I miss her.

laptopcomputer Tue 01-May-12 20:54:14

The cuckoo here was right noisy bastard last yea,r and wouldn't shut up for weeks... smile

GrimmaTheNome Tue 01-May-12 20:56:58

Oh, that's so lovely <going all teary>. It must have been a lot of work but what a privilege.

Northey Tue 01-May-12 20:57:20

What a beautiful story, GO. Sob. <rereads for the sixth time>

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Tue 01-May-12 21:04:23

<<wipes eyes>>

GentleOtter Tue 01-May-12 21:06:24


hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Tue 01-May-12 21:07:43

Lovely story, what an honour it must've been to raise her and return her to the wild.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Tue 01-May-12 21:08:30

<<plots to kill all Cuckoos>>

mrspnut Tue 01-May-12 21:18:45

What a fantastic story Otter.
My spot for today was a weasel with a death wish. It ran across the road in front of my car narrowly escaping with it's life.

GentleOtter Tue 01-May-12 21:20:26

It was an honour and I remember thinking at the time that this was a once in a lifetime experience.

I did inform the SSPCA as it is illegal to keep an otter but our little otter lived outside and used to vanish when the wildlife officer visited. Many others came to see her, though and I worried when she began to love the fuss as she might have turned very domesticated.

It was a lot of work helping her back to the wild but it was the sort of work which was so special that I loved every minute with her.

I have one non digital picture of her milling round my daughter's feet so will try to upload it by photographing it with a small pixel camera. The camera is up at the farm so I will try putting it on profile tomorrow.

chixinthestix Tue 01-May-12 21:36:37

Otter what a lovely story. And cuckoos too. All I've seen today are a couple of romantic pigeons shuffling up and down next door's fence.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Tue 01-May-12 21:53:47

I have GENUINE tears in my eyes at that. What a lovely story.

Grimma I apologise for the message I sent you demanding you tell me all about your otter! Must take more notice of usernames grin

AIBUqatada Tue 01-May-12 22:36:16

That is completely wonderful gentleotter.

GentleOtter Tue 01-May-12 23:09:24

I don't know if it worked but I tried to post the photo.

Ooh - looking forward to GO's otter picture tomorrow.

Jealous does not come near to my emotions.

Sack that - have seen photo. Jealousy complete.

Northey Tue 01-May-12 23:11:19

Oh, the little soul. What a wonderful thing to do.

GrimmaTheNome Tue 01-May-12 23:15:25

I see from your profile we're the same age, GO .... so, did you get taken to see Ring Of Bright Water at the age of about 8 and (a) want an otter (b) still remember the Spade<shudder>

Love the otter story! I saw a pair of otters in the sea loch off the coast of Skye last year.
House martins here, always a bit later than the swallows. Goldfinches and a goldcrest have been the high spots of the garden this week, plus a couple of midnight hedgehogs quacking like ducks!
Have seen bluebells (a bit peely wally), campion, lady's smock and stitchwort. The same cowslip plant has flowered continuously in the garden since Christmas.
Orange tip and lesser tortoiseshell butterflies.
Rain by the bucket.

Love this thread!

Grimae - I am a year older. And I have never watched Ring of Bright Water all the way through. I did read the book though.

<needs therapy at the memory>

GrimmaTheNome Tue 01-May-12 23:22:51

>a couple of midnight hedgehogs quacking like ducks!
really? grin extra points for a spot at midnight, surely.

And I now know (having looked it up) what 'peely wally' means. This thread is an education in itself.

Sorry - that should have said Grimma not Grimae - tis my age you know.

Yes, truly a loud quacking sound and such a regular huffing it sounded like a a a a huffing machine!

GentleOtter Tue 01-May-12 23:37:45

We lived in the Highlands (near Maxwell's home) when Ring of Bright water came out and I think everyone fell in love with the otter then broke their hearts at the spade bit. sad A bit of you died.
Same with Kes. I think I cried for weeks.

My daughter received a lovely letter and otter picture from a man who was closely associated with Gavin Maxwell and I took her up to Kyle to see where Mij lived. Sadly, we never saw wild otters when we were there but they are around.

We saw porpoises though.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Wed 02-May-12 08:52:19

I WANT AN OTTER <stamps foot>

We went to the Sandaigs when I was about 11. I still remember the peace and melancholy feel of the place, the ruined cottage and absolutely bloody FREEZING water! We hired a boat and puttered amongst the seals. Gorgeous place.

GentleOtter Wed 02-May-12 10:04:40

Mum and I stayed in Dornie - Mum was relief district nurse and we lived in the nurse's house which overlooked Eilean Donan and yes, the lovely letter was from Jimmy Watson!

We are going back to the otter hide on Skye, I hope, during the summer holidays. smile

You are welcome to break your journey here if you make the drive as we are midway between the A9 and the Crianlarich road. It takes us about 2 1/2 hours to get to the Mallaig/ Armadale ferry.

iseenodust Wed 02-May-12 10:18:26

Loving the otter story <sniffles>.
Cried at Ring of Bright Water.
Cried at the lion reunion clip on One show last night. <Clearly needs to get a life>

We went to the Skye hide summer 2010 and saw seals (and from the fab little ferry) but no otters. However a couple of days later saw otter in the water when driving north from Applecross. BTW Applecross pub does fab lunch and local seals kept popping heads up to see if we were enjoying the seafood.

Stayed in old Skye ferry waiting room - excellent waters' edge location! google Scottish National Trust holiday accom.

I want to go on holiday to Scotland.

This minute.

GentleOtter Wed 02-May-12 11:03:07

Oh, come to Scotland! <does luring hands and plates of tablet>

The sun is shining and the countryside is alive with wildlife.

hides rat on bird feeder


Oh - have to take DD to dentist this pm as she was hit in the mouth by a rounders ball yesterday.

Maybe tomorrow.....

iseenodust Wed 02-May-12 11:06:46

Exit your poor DD that must have hurt.

Just one incident in a long line of hurts.

<accident prone genes>

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 02-May-12 11:27:55

GentleOtter your otter in the past out trumps my cuckoo in May by a million million points! East Anglia is so pants and Scotland is so lovely! I'd be living in the Shetland Islands if it wasn't for DP! curse him

Thank you GentleOtter! If I ever run away they will know where to look for me.
Saw a pair of otters playing in the kelp beds to the left of the ferry point crossing, by the little harbour place on the way up to the hide. Saw the same ones from the hide too, but much clearer from the path.

EastAnglia is not too pants Norfolk way! I was watching marsh harriers there at Easter. You should try the midlands!

GrimmaTheNome Wed 02-May-12 12:01:35

Norfolk broads in May is fabulous - we had a boating holiday may halfterm two years ago and the birdlife (plus a swallowtail butterfly) was incredibly rich.

Saggy mightn't like it though... DH accidentally set the alarm for 4am and we had a duet of cuckoo and bittern boom!

violetwellies Wed 02-May-12 13:26:05

We have mud and dampness and squelch, swallows have vanished, but two yellowhammers turned up at hen feeding time. 3 of my 5 newly hatched arucunas have been squashed flat <sigh> Feel totally inadequate and unable to compete with G. Otter.

Northey Wed 02-May-12 13:35:48

Squashed? What by? Are they dead, or just a bit... flat?

Large thrush sitting on the washing line post and watching the cat below.

I have ten thousand yellow snails living high up on the buddleia where no hedgehog will ever reach them.
Two buzzards, going up on the thermals. (How that sounds like bigknickerclimbing)
A wood pigeon the size of a turkey

I'm sorry about the squashed chicks. Squelch here too.

violetwellies Wed 02-May-12 14:56:59

I think its my fault for not removing the nest box earlier, she's a big Croad Langshan hen, surrogate mum. But she has two live ones and Ive got some Croads in the incubator so if they come off soon she can have some of them.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 02-May-12 16:37:56

My spots today are further entries to the procession of seasonal flora. In addition to all the previous stuff, my local riverside woodland now has wood avens, wild strawberry and bird cherry.

5318008 Wed 02-May-12 19:12:57

GO awwwwww <wipes eyes>

onto my news:

dead stoat (roadkill) sad

orange tip butterfly

bluebells are out at LAST hurrah

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Wed 02-May-12 19:45:21

Marsh harrier (I think, I am never sure if it's a Marsh or a Hen, need DS to ID for me), muntjac, fallow deer and long eared owl tonight while walking the dog.

Greater spotted woodpecker, reed buntings and gold finches on the feeders in the garden.

I love this thread. I used to share my news with DS but he moved out in Feb, he's now a falconer. He has a new love in his life, a three week old raven he is raising.

Northey Wed 02-May-12 20:02:28

No, really? What an exceedingly cool job. What sort of falconer is he? I mean, is it the sort if thing where they fly them for displays at castles? Or for hunting? Or for keeping pigeons off public buildings? <is insanely excited>

CoffeeAhorlicksAnonymous Wed 02-May-12 20:07:17

Lovely otter story.

The swallows have just arrived here, are nesting in the eaves and stealing the leaves from the drainpipes.

Mind if I join? desperately excited I'll check the loch tomorrow, can only see swans atm but normally have herons, cormorants, shellducks etc oh and mosquitoe type things which have exploded in population the past few days sad

Northey Wed 02-May-12 20:13:37

Another Scotland-dweller? Oh it isn't fair. Between you and the forriners and the mermaid, how is a girl meant to stand a chance?

violetwellies Wed 02-May-12 20:15:37

Swallows are back (waves pom pom emoticon) and less happily the terrier has caught a mixy rabbit, its his know to catch vermin, but mixy is foul, black death for rabbits. Its been getting closer but has been half a mile away for months.

violetwellies Wed 02-May-12 20:23:55

The falconry sounds fab, I used to go rabbiting with a friend and his hawk, brilliant fun. Not for the bunnies, but better than myxomatosis.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 02-May-12 20:24:24

Northey - oh come on, there's good wildlife everywhere. I find plenty in Lancashire, and don't forget my Merseyside seal pup. (geographically it was beside the Dee, not the Mersey <pedant>)

We can guess at Coffee's general location, but I'm really curious to know Hell's whereabouts, and other people's ...

violetwellies Wed 02-May-12 20:24:55

It is the terrier's job

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Wed 02-May-12 20:26:03

Northy-Private display centre, they offer handling days, hunting days, they do weddings, schools, private parties and country shows. They also have an archer on site so they offer combined archery/falconry days. They have a Cara Cara who is a real character, she's learned how to steal £10 notes from the back pockets of jeans. Among other things they have falcons, vultures, owls, Harris Hawks and Gill, a female kestrel who thinks she's human and wants DS for a mate. DS is just 20 and knows he is extremely lucky to be in his dream job.

DH saw a black squirrel today, raiding the bins at work.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 02-May-12 20:29:21

violet... when some of us were young, we barely ever saw a rabbit and if you did it was probably myxy. I've not seen one like that for ages, lots of heathy bunnies hereabouts. Sorry you've got it encroaching.

Northey Wed 02-May-12 20:36:31

I know, grimma. Just feeling melodramatic after eating too many fizzy cola bottles smile

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Wed 02-May-12 20:55:45

I live in East Anglia, I am lucky enough to back onto a SSSI it is one of the few remaining bits of fenland that has never been drained. When Vermuyden was brought in to drain the fens round here the villagers had a riot because they feared for their livelihoods so the area was never drained. It later became the National Trust's first ever nature reserve. Almost every dog walk throws something up special.

There is a photo of DS on my profile, taken during his first few weeks as a falconer.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 02-May-12 21:10:14

well, I've just spotted a miracle of nature. A woman who gave birth at the age of 81 and is now a remarkably well-preserved centenarian. <hard stare> grin

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Wed 02-May-12 21:15:03

I'm a miracle, me.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 02-May-12 21:22:21

Sounds like a fab place to live... is that one of the places that has those humungous spiders? (if it is, you'll know what I mean)

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Wed 02-May-12 21:35:43

Yup, we get some fairly hefty spiders here and some spectacular slugs too

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Wed 02-May-12 22:07:20

GentleOtter, I am coming up to stay with you for a while. That's ok, isn't it? Isn't it?

Today, lots of swallows flitting in from the sea. And lots of diving gannets. And some kittiwakes, And, um, a shark. Of the basking variety.

mrspnut Wed 02-May-12 22:18:32

I saw nothing uncommon today, house sparrows, wood pigeons, blackbirds and a field of swans.

I've also just seen a cat fight in my front sitting room, there's an opportunistic black cat that likes to sneak into our house and today it fell unlucky that our cat caught it. Fur flying and some shrieking later, intruder has been repelled and our cat is hiding under the dining table.

Oh goody - lots of lovely new posters.

<jealous of spots but lovely to share them>

Ahem - GO invited me first I think?

GrimmaTheNome Wed 02-May-12 23:14:36

'nothing uncommon...a field of swans'
most people just have wheat or bloody oilseed rape, you know! OK, so its not diving gannets and sharks envy but swan fields aren't that common!


Stoats are so unusually seen around here that when DH found one dead but unsquashed he very kindly brought it home for me, and not wanting to bring it into the house left it in the car, all nice and cosy. For some time.
The smell was amazing. Not of death, of stoat. From something so small (and elegant) such a stench.

Swifts, and a willow warbler warbling in a willow tree. That's it for today. I do envy the basking sharks (Gavin Maxwell was not as nice to basking sharks as he was to otters.)

GrimmaTheNome Wed 02-May-12 23:16:57

Exit - but maybe if Ariel GO's north, you could move into her undersea palace or whatever piratical mermaids live in...

Oh yes

<dusts off diving tanks> - or whatever they are called.........

CuttedUpPear Wed 02-May-12 23:33:53

4 white geese with the fifth one on their nest on an island where they keep their (usually doomed to failure) eggs every year
2 Canada geese - never seen them round here before - staring out the white geese
Ladies smock, cowslips and bluebells in the garden

2 slow worms basking in the brief sunshine, stretched out on top of the compost.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 02-May-12 23:35:57

I was all full of excitement, I was going to post that I think I saw a stoat, and it's been done! sad it was perched on the under the trees, on the fence of my paddock, and I being short sighted thought it was a squirrel. I couldn't work out why it's white chest stood out so much, and it's coat was dark red/brown. I tried to get a closer look, but it ran away. I've been mulling over what it could have been all afternoon, done a bit of googling, and a stoat seems to be the answer. I'm just miffed that I couldn't get a really close look.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 02-May-12 23:38:45

Swans are old hat around here. Manningtree has its own colony. They are beautiful, but a bit of a pest. they congregate along side the road, next to the water, and have a tendency to walk out in front of cars and nap in the middle of the road. We also have resident black swans. Now they ARE gorgeous!

GrimmaTheNome Wed 02-May-12 23:39:13

Yes saggy but t'other stoat was a dead one so you've probably got Live Mammal of the Day.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 02-May-12 23:41:26

Cool! <<grins inanely>>

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 02-May-12 23:42:52

I'm on a hunt at he moment for American Signal Crayfish. I can't wait to actually see taste one!

GrimmaTheNome Wed 02-May-12 23:43:53

On the Broads trip I mentioned earlier, a pair of black swans turned up right next to where we were moored and began 'dancing' - each imitating the other in almost perfect synchronicity. Beautiful indeed. Culminating in, ahem, a 'David Attenborough' moment. Very educational for DD.

chixinthestix Thu 03-May-12 00:02:17

Today was the most beautiful day and I had 20 mins to stop and eat my sarnies on a gorgeous beach while a gannet lazily flapped round the bay and skylarks burbled on the cliff behind me. No sharks or otters but couldn't have been lovelier.

Then I had to go back to work but the rest of the day was so much better.

GentleOtter Thu 03-May-12 03:53:05

<opens top trumps commune in the Perthshire hills> grin

Yesterday was really hot and I saw a yellow bumblebee, an orange one and a honey bee. Lots of hoverflies too.

envy at black swans.

mrspnut Thu 03-May-12 07:11:40

We have a canal and a river running in parallel so there are loads of swans around here.
Every spring they gather in the fields along the edge of the river and as the crops grow they move along to the next field until they run out of places to go then they disappear until next year.

There's always loads of swans in town on the Brayford as well.
We also have lots of stoats or weasels around here, it's very difficult to tell the difference because they usually move so quickly.

lazydog Thu 03-May-12 08:00:36

Looks like our humming birds are arriving back again (I'm in the BC Rockies) after having the sense to overwinter in Mexico. I saw the first one today smile Hope the weather improves for the poor little blighters soon!

DaenerysTargaryen Thu 03-May-12 09:14:23

I love this thread, have nothing to add because I live in the city and just about know what a pigeon looks like but I love reading this so I'm marking my place hope no one minds smile

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Thu 03-May-12 09:54:42

Lots of....ahem... MUSTELIDS then <looks round for approval at use of good word>

I remember that one from March.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 03-May-12 10:04:42

Daen - even cities have wildlife. You might have to look a bit harder, but every park and even wasteland may have something. Extra points for urban spots smile

PeriPathetic Thu 03-May-12 10:13:16

What a lovely thread smile

I'm on the outskirts of a city in nearly-northern Europe. Today in my garden I've seen:
Red squirrel
Fox (there's a den in my neighbour's garden with 3 cubs, aww! Dog fox is very bold and mostly diurnal]
Green woodpecker
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
Black redstart

Apparently there are also racoons here, but I haven't seen one sad

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Thu 03-May-12 10:19:07

Did you see on the Shard programme last night about that little fox which made its way up to the 40-somethingth floor and was rescued? shockshockshock For some reason I nearly burst into tears at that. Something to do with the bewilderment of animals as we slowly creep insiduously over the earth and they have to try and adapt to their changed world <breaks down>

<possibly hormonal>

PeriPathetic Thu 03-May-12 10:24:00

No I didn't see that - our satellite's gone on the blink since the trees suddenly got all their leaves this week confused It would have upset me too. I saw a programme about wolves in the US recently and the hunters' attitude made me weep.

Daen- peregrine falcons in our local city, living on the pigeons!

Daen- I am on peregrine falcon watch in our local city very soon. I bet you have them too- they'd love your pigeons.

Sorry! Mumsnet vanished just as I posted. Didn't mean to go on. (Spectacular birds though!)

Northey Thu 03-May-12 11:52:20

Do you know, I am 90% certain I just saw a fawn from my train window. In a field, in the long grass near a solitary tree, I saw two little ears, a slender muzzle on an elegant neck, and a hint of tiny straw-coloured body down on the ground. It was the ears, really. A very distinctive outline.

So far today my bird feeding station has attracted
Blue tits
Great tits
Coal tits
Long tailed tits
Wood pigeons
And 5 squirrels!

And DH found a huge hedgehog rooting around in our recycling last night

PeriPathetic Thu 03-May-12 12:59:17

I miss Jackdaws. We have Hooded Crows here, so handsome, but not as cute as Jackdaws.

The fox ran across next door's garden earlier. My dog went nuts and the cat is refusing to go outside again!

mrspnut Thu 03-May-12 13:27:36

Peregrine Falcons in our city too, living in the Cathedral Tower. I wonder if I live near barbarian?

Just swans in the field for me again, a pair of blackbirds in the school drive. Mrs blackbird was chasing Mr Blackbird. I think he'd been out on the beers last night and had woken her up when he staggered in with the dawn chorus.

Where are you people who don't have Canada Geese? We have bloomin hundreds of em (apart from the one that BastardDog caught during the April thread).


I think we need to ask that people give an idea of their location in their hover again as my mind is boggling at some of these sightings.

And regarding weasels and stoats

A weasel is weaselly recognised and a stoat is stoatally different wink

AIBUqatada Thu 03-May-12 17:39:46

Hmm, my dog has just mauled a dying collared dove in the garden. I think that counts as a spot, but it might not be in the spirit of things.

I think he had just witnessed a cat attacking the dove, from his Neighbourhood Watch Command and Control Point by the living room window. There was lots of squeaky over-excited barking, so I let him out and he investigated with extreme prejudice.

AIBUqatada Thu 03-May-12 17:40:49

In his defence, it was just a speedier end for the poor beastie, though I don't imagine that compassion was his motivation.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 03-May-12 18:20:13

Exit - well I've got an informative hoverer, what's your excuse?

I remember seeing hummingbirds when I visited my great aunts in BC(Okanagan valley). I didn't realise the wee things migrated to and from Mexico.

I went out. To tuck the horse in and walk the dog. Will do it now.

CoffeeAhorlicksAnonymous Thu 03-May-12 19:47:09

Don't know what a hoverer is? but am in southern Scotland.

A blanket fog of wee midges, no evil big mosquitoe type ones but will catch one and send it off to the uk mosquitoe watch.
Ducklings!! grin and ducks
Dive bombing Swallows.

All wild:
Skirtle? I think
Cluster of old Cherry trees in blossom and some saplings
Blue/Green algae

envy at humming birds/wood peckers/sharks

GentleOtter Thu 03-May-12 20:56:44

Yes envy at humming birds.

Saw some wild periwinkle for the first time today and some wood avens.

Lots of curlews, lapwings and little pied wagtails in the field, pecking the oats we were sowing today.

The fat, yellow bumblebee came back too.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 03-May-12 20:57:30

I saw a Kestrel today. It was hovering over the headland of the field next door. Also a pheasant.
We used to have a pet wild pheasant called Norman, he was absolutely stunning. He had a crooked beak, and soon learned where to come to fill his belly, we used to feed him grain. He was so tame, he would let us touch him. His beak got so bad, I was toying with the idea of catching him and getting his beak trimmed and building him a pen. before I got the chance, he was hit by a car. I was really upset! sad

GentleOtter Thu 03-May-12 21:29:17

Poor Norman sad

chixinthestix Thu 03-May-12 21:35:58

Ooh coffee, what's skirtle? Is it a scottish name for something else?

Saggy your poor Norman reminds me of the hedgehog we had in our garden last year, the first we'd seen in 10 years. We were so excited and kept going out and hearing him rustling about. Then all went quiet and I found him flat in the middle of the lane. sad

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Thu 03-May-12 21:55:13

Not much today, can hear a fox calling (spooky sound). Just our regular woodpecker, blue and great tits, goldfinches, robins, wren, sparrows and reed buntings on the feeders today, DD walked the mutt for me so I didn't venture out for my evening walk.

CoffeeAhorlicksAnonymous Thu 03-May-12 22:49:11

Chix blush yes, sorry, it's a wild yellow day lily, grows beside the water not on it.

sad for norman and hedgehog

Kingcups the brightest things about today. Went up to the moors for a bit of air (Derbyshire) and it looked like midwinter with the blackened heather and yellow grass and low dark sky. One kestrel, one lapwing tumbling, one squashed hare to join Norman and the pheasant.

Selks Thu 03-May-12 23:05:31

Hello fellow nature nutters grin
I haven't seen much this month yet, but I think I have birds nesting in my gutter - haven't been able to spot what kind, but they're small by the sound of them.

Loving the otter story, and Ariel how cool to see a basking shark - I love those beasties. smile

DaenerysTargaryen Thu 03-May-12 23:52:44

Extra points for city spots? Oooh

Ok, I'm going to try my hardest to spot something and then google it to find out what it is grin

Jealous of black swans and what is a black squirrel? I've only heard of the red or grey kind, I see loads of greys if I go to the right places but I'd love to see a red.

DaenerysTargaryen Thu 03-May-12 23:55:11

Gonna look out for peregrine falcons now too.

amistillsexy Thu 03-May-12 23:58:12

I've stumbled across this thread and not too good at spotting wildlife, but driving over the Penine Moors today, a curlew flew right across the road in front of us.
I got a lovely view of it's long curved beak.

it reminded me that I once saw a very strange long, thin creature running across the road at that very spot. Maybe it was a weasel or a stoat? It moved very fast, but undulating its body up and down as it ran. anyone have any ideas what it could have been?

amistillsexy Thu 03-May-12 23:59:20

its long curved beak, not it's. Ouch! I hate that!

<<slinks off to Pedant's corner for a telling off>>

GrimmaTheNome Fri 04-May-12 08:50:30

Black Squirrels - that's just the first relevant google I found. I didn't know we had them in Britain - I think Hell is in East Anglia, sounds like that's where they're commonest. Cool!

Now this is why we want those hoverers so we know where the wildlife is (I thought when I first read 'black squirrel' it must be abroad). You just go into MyMumsnet, click on Registration Details and set your User Status.

ami - yes, that sounds like a stoat or weasel. As already mentioned, hard to tell apart unless you can see the tip of its tail - stoats have a black tip. Here are some details. If it was bigger (and you were near water) it could have been a mink I suppose.

Ami Whereabouts on the Pennines. Could have been one of my curlews.


Yellow wagtail (is there such a thing?) and two dippers on the river yeserday evening.

Lapwing at the stables this morning. Love 'em.

Selks Fri 04-May-12 11:06:26

Ami and Exit - I'm in the Pennines too - Yorks / lancs border smile

Ami, your undulating animal does indeed sound like a weasel or stoat. Fantastic creatures! grin

Get yer hovers sorted.

PeriPathetic Fri 04-May-12 12:20:00

First ducklings of the year grin just three but awww!

Mum had 17 in her garden last week, from one duck. Last year she had 12. Sadly they only survived a couple of days before something got them. We're trying to work out how to prevent this next year <ponders>

chixinthestix Fri 04-May-12 13:00:42

A pair of beautiful bullfinches in the garden just now. Not quite so happy with them once I realised the were scoffing the blossom off my pear tree but still.

Saw Ma Buzzard looking distintly like she was feeding something in her nest this morning. No sight of any little fluffy heads yet though. to try and hover...

GrimmaTheNome Fri 04-May-12 13:18:55

Well done Chix smile. Luck you having bullfinches (pears aside). Maybe I need some blossom trees to try to attract them.

chixinthestix Fri 04-May-12 13:27:55

I love them, so shy for such showy birds and a lovely soft call too.

Peri, I think I put something on last month's thread about ducks being bad mothers. The ones we used to keep seemed to manage to lose most of their babies by just not looking after them very well (by leading them out of the pond up a bank so steep they couldn't climb it, into fast flowing stream where they got swept away, across road where they couldn't get up the kerb etc), so unless you put them in a pen probably not a lot you can do.

<wanders off pondering the cruelty of nature>

violetwellies Fri 04-May-12 14:35:05

The myxomatosis seems to have got hold sad 3 out of 4 rabbits shot last night had it.

mrspnut Fri 04-May-12 15:30:26

Oh dear, poor bunnies.

We have spotted today some penguins, macaws, alpacas and small capuchin monkeys but as we have been to Sewerby Hall it has been slightly cheating.
Otherwise nothing but millions of bloody seagulls and the odd wet magpie.

mrspnut Fri 04-May-12 15:38:18

How do I put something in my hover? Completely clueless.

GentleOtter Fri 04-May-12 15:38:24


I was shocked to see a magpie as we don't have them here.(but that was in April so does not count)

MrsPnut Fri 04-May-12 15:40:16

Ignore me, I've actually read further back and done it.

GrimmaTheNome Fri 04-May-12 17:20:44

Just garden birds today.

Baby blackbird being fed by both parents - when it got alarmed by something it scuttled into a little hidey hole between three of my patio pots - about 1ft through the glass from my feet.

Lots more male blackbirds singing their hearts out. Some have quite distinctive phrases in their songs.

And (small fanfare) a trio of sparrows - house, hedge (OK, that's a dunnock which isn't really a sparrow) and a tree sparrow.

GentleOtter Fri 04-May-12 17:26:11

Dd in from a school walk in the hills and they saw a white wild deer.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Fri 04-May-12 19:36:07

Sorry I can't write actual details here, but today I have seen an actual real monster. I am beside myself shock. It was the spot of the bloody century.

You can PM me for details

<ideas above station emoticon>

GrimmaTheNome Fri 04-May-12 20:11:19

I don't know, there am I all delighted by my tree sparrow, and there's GO with a wild white deer and Ariel with a blimmin monster!

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Fri 04-May-12 20:14:19


As you know I am a bashful person who doesn't like to show off <lies>

Sorry, I wouldn't normally shout this loud but I did nearly wet myself with excitement.

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Fri 04-May-12 20:18:50

Ariel I need to know but can't pm as the tablet won't open links today.

A Muntjac and the dog came eyeball to eyeball today. They stood and stared at each other for a bit then turned their backs on each other and walked away.

GentleOtter Fri 04-May-12 20:54:58

envy at monster.

The deer dd and her class saw is an albino red deer which is quite well known in the area around the school. Photo in the paper and everything and on youtube. (Deer not dd)

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Fri 04-May-12 21:04:09

Albino red deer? shock? That must look like the Pure White Stag from Narnia! Wow.

Wow to the white deer!

One pair of Wheatears, that's my best today.

(Can't log in so can't fix hover- keep resetting password but I seem locked out. But Derbyshire. The hilly bit.)

GrimmaTheNome Fri 04-May-12 21:44:45

It must be wow. There's a white fallow deer stag in the herd at Dunham Massey (NT) - that reminded me of narnia. It was hanging out with a normal and a melanistic stag when we saw it last year.

amistillsexy Fri 04-May-12 21:52:25

Sorry I've only just returned to the thread. Have been busy with th elesser spotted Lying Cheating Insurance Company all day angry!

I think it must have been a staot, Grimma, because your link says that stoats don't mind altitude, and this was quite high up.

Exit and Selks, I was just coming out of Cragg VAle. Anywhere near either of you? <this is where we discover we actually all live next door to each other grin>

I also have a Heron that I see most days, flying up and down the river just in front of my house. We love watching the heron, he's so prehistoric!

Oh! I should also tell you about the bats that fly around in front of my upstairs windows on warm evenings, just around twilight. Fantastic to watch!

Selks Fri 04-May-12 21:53:55

That is about two miles from me Ami!! grin

hellymelly Fri 04-May-12 22:04:49

Saw several red kite today. Greater spotted woodpecker on the nut feeders. No otters although they are plentiful here and we often see them. I am another one traumatised by the spade in Ring of Bright Water. I still have the noise of it in my head....urghh.
I want to know about the monster! (pleeeeease pm me).

amistillsexy Fri 04-May-12 22:10:38

About 2 miles from me, too, Selks. We really are next door neighbours, aren't we? grin

Selks Fri 04-May-12 22:28:12

Indeed Ami... grin

Selks Fri 04-May-12 22:30:47

have private messaged you, Ami.

Is Cragg Vale near Hardcastle Craggs? Know that well.

Selks Fri 04-May-12 22:49:01

Yes, just a couple of miles, Exit.

amistillsexy Fri 04-May-12 23:08:29

grin round here, everything's just a couple of miles from Cragg Vale

('Beware the Moors, Lads')

Selks Fri 04-May-12 23:21:10

Yes, and that's as the crow flies! grin

Ami Exit and Selks I was born and brought up just a few miles away from you all (although in Red Rose territory!)

I managed to get a photo of a great spotted woodpecker in my garden yesterday smile not a very good photo as it was on my phone and through the window but it's clearly a woodpecker so I'm extremely pleased with it grin

Ami we get loads of bats where I live now and once had to rescue one from my shower (after I'd stepped on the poor thing!) in the summer I regularly have to chase them out of the house when we've had the back door wide open in the evening

I almost moved to Shropshire a few years ago.


Where did you grow up Ellie?

amistillsexy Sat 05-May-12 16:05:12


I'm picturing the Hardcastle Craggs meet up!

Bats are wonderful. My Dad once caught one outside the house and brought it in to show us all.
Mum was in bed at the time. The bat was a bit disgruntled at being set free inside! (misguided, my Dad, when it came to Wildlife!).

I recently saw a woodpecker in the woods just opposite my house.

Oh yes - let's take a picnic, but do not try to get me across those stepping stones. If I remember there was one in the middle that was sort of sunken and I was always petrified of slipping.

Nothing much around here today, although I do notice how much more independent the lambs are getting, they are hanging around in groups now rather than sticking with mum.

MrsPnut Sat 05-May-12 17:24:23

I've had a great day, we went to Bempton cliffs and I saw gannets, razorbills, guillemots, puffins, kittiwakes and a yellowhammer and a brambling.

Had lots of fun chatting to people that take this sort of thing very seriously.

I'm off to Anglesey in three weeks and can already here the Oyster Catchers calling me.......

Selks Sat 05-May-12 18:20:40

Well, we could organise a Hardcastle Craggs meet up........

I'm up for it if anyone else is! grin

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Sat 05-May-12 18:56:13

envy of Bempton Cliffs.

I love the name Hardcastle Craggs. It sounds straight out of Wuthering Heights!

GentleOtter Sat 05-May-12 19:00:01
violetwellies Sat 05-May-12 19:05:14

Whilst Dragging the dustbin up the hill, ds in sling, <lord he's getting heavy> red campion, purple vetch, lesser stitchwort, cow parsley, a red cranesbill of some sort, thin it was herb Robert, a yellow clover type thing and a yellow one that I have absolutely no idea about. smile

RustyBear Sat 05-May-12 19:29:41

I've been sitting here this afternoon with one eye on the FA Cup final and one on the feeders just outside the window - apart from the usual pigeons/magpies etc, there's been a coal tit on the kibbled peanuts, who just nips in and out too quickly for me to get a picture, but I did manage to get one of the Greater spotted woodpecker eyeing up the suet in the coconut shell and my favourite pair of goldfinches on the sunflower seeds. They take turns to peck, one each side and they look like one of those pecking bird wooden toys we used to have.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Sat 05-May-12 19:44:36

DUNKELD!!! I used to work up there! We used to sit in the pub and listen to Dougie Maclean fiddle! Oh those were the days..... <sighs mistily>

I'm from Burnley originally Exit

GentleOtter Sat 05-May-12 20:51:28


Dougie Maclean's fiddle nights at the pub are still going strong...

Ospreys at Loch of the Lowes (not that I have ever seen them)

The Hermitage

I love Dunkeld.

<lure, lure>

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Sat 05-May-12 21:06:48

Oh! <wipes eyes>

The ricketty wooden bridge over the Tay at Pitlochry! The salmon jumping in September!

I jumped off the Hermitage you know nearly died of cold mind

Pitlochry - I've been there.


Full moon tonight, methinks.

5318008 Sat 05-May-12 23:38:02

oh the salmon ladder, what a brilliant thing that is; we went last year, I was gobsmacked at the size of the fish

(historic lunch in Hettie's tea room too)

sorry for random interjection

as you were

CoffeeAhorlicksAnonymous Sat 05-May-12 23:40:03

Love Pitlochry.

Just lots of garden birds today. Sat up last night watching the moon, very low and very bright yellow but not visible tonight.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Sun 06-May-12 20:50:37

I saw a Fish Eagle today! It was rather large!

violetwellies Sun 06-May-12 21:21:42

Hawthorn in flower also speedwell as well as drifts of bluebells.

violetwellies Sun 06-May-12 21:28:33

Went to Cleveland Bay horse show today, wish I'd stayed at home to shout at the muppet who left the gate open. At which point didn't they notice 45 highland and highland cross cows. Grrrrrrr
I'm totally in favour of access to the countryside and am a bit of a heavy tights of way user myself, but sometimes I think that there should be a intelligence test first - <grumble chunter, moan whinge>

violetwellies Sun 06-May-12 21:29:23

Hawthorn in flower also speedwell as well as drifts of bluebells.

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Sun 06-May-12 21:33:35

SaggyOldClothCatPuss I think you win!

chixinthestix Sun 06-May-12 22:03:33

sorry Violet, couldn't help a quick giggle at your heavy tights of way. Our hawthorn isn't out yet although must be way further south than you.

No exceptional wildlife today but a beautiful walk through bluebell woods with the sun streaming down through the new beech leaves.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Sun 06-May-12 22:12:46

It was a very lovely fish eagle. in the falconry display at Hedingham Castle wink I don't think that really counts!

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Sun 06-May-12 22:16:14

I think it might just be cheating.

MrsPnut Sun 06-May-12 22:23:26

We saw a hare this morning in a field on our way up of Bridlington.
Other spots have been mundane, the usual garden birds and a dead deer by the side of the road.

MooncupGoddess Sun 06-May-12 22:24:26

Well, I saw a pair of proper wild ospreys today, from a steam train! One was standing on top of a pine tree - he was impressively tall - and his mate was flying back to the nest nearby.

Their nest site is guarded 24/7 and supposed to be Top Secret... though I must admit it wasn't terribly hard to spot.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 06-May-12 22:24:35

I saw a Merlin yesterday, just flew across the road right in front of my car. Never seen one before.

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Sun 06-May-12 22:29:40

Loving the merlin and the osprey, we went to a local reservoir a few years ago to see if we could spot them but didn't.

Selks Sun 06-May-12 22:44:12

Ooh lovely, Viva. I'd love to see a merlin - never seen one. Could you tell it was a merlin straight away - was it distinctive?

VivaLeBeaver Sun 06-May-12 22:56:50

It was so close to the car, nearly hit the windscreen so I got a good view.

I wasn't sure what it was, knew it was a hawk/falcon and that it was small. Grey wings and brown underneath. I've googled and I'm sure it was a Merlin.

Selks Sun 06-May-12 22:59:21


violetwellies Mon 07-May-12 09:42:34

Oh beggar, I hate auto correct rights not tights. Fabulous all these top predators, have the little birds taken a hammering? I allways feel sorry for blue tits and am aware that now we ate managing some of our gorse there's less cover for the smalls.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Mon 07-May-12 09:57:37

Merlin and osprey - brilliant. I find birds of prey really moving. Is that weird? So proud and noble looking blush. I must say it is particularly lame around here for birds of prey, given that it is very rural with lots of mice and things <vague>. Lots of buzzards and a couple of clifftop kestrels, and other than that not much.

I saw four ravens circling yesterday. That was quite good. And some grey seals on the rocks.

Don't worry violet - we have loads of noisy bloody blue tits here.

A pheasant wandering ponderously up the pavement this morning.

Yesterday I rescued a huge bumble bee from an empty haribo packet.

GrimmaTheNome Mon 07-May-12 20:02:25

>heavy tights of way
accessorised with stout shoes and a tweed skirt, I hope?

We've had a very tame weekend, mostly at home (DD in a state of post yr8 exam knackerdness). We had a goldfinch, and we've got 3 baby blackbirds. I was planting some perennials to replace the ones DH accidentally glyphosated - I'd just dug a hole, turned my back to pick up a pot and mummy blackbird was in there investigating for worms, totally unbothered by my presence.

Fabulous polyphony of blackbirds singing, and then there was a something else atop the highest tree - not quite as sweet, but an extended virtuoso performance, like a violin over cellos. A Song Thrush, of course.

GrimmaTheNome Mon 07-May-12 20:06:41

Oh, and to reassure violet, lots of tits here too - blue, coal and great, we always have them on the feeders, and green and chaffinches, robins., house sparrows, dunnocks, Collared doves and fat woodpigeons - take them for granted too much. A garden wouldn't be alive without them.

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Mon 07-May-12 20:11:26

Not much to report today, a fledgling finch that has probably left the nest too early, some foals in the herd of semi-wild horses down on the Fen (they use the horses to manage the vegetation but they are unbroken, I think they're Konig?) and a muntjac fawn in one of the dry ditches waiting for mum to return.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Mon 07-May-12 21:27:33

I saw a Green woodpecker, eating on a lawn as I drove down the road, a shrew ran across in front of me, and a lovely male blackbird with a beak full of twigs. smile
I also spotted a really tiny bumble bee. It was only about a cm long but perfectly formed. It was SOOO cute. I don't know if it's a baby version of our stable bees, (we have a whole colony living in the walls and floor) but it was sweet. I LOVE bees. smile

chixinthestix Mon 07-May-12 21:41:16

Grimma I love your poetic description of the birdsong. We have a wonderful song thrush who's been singing in the top of our tallest ash tree since February. I love the sound.

Saggy, I think the tiny bumblebee is a worker. The massive great big ones that you get early in the year are the queens and this time of year the workers are starting to hatch out. They are the same colour as the queens but much smaller.

The bullfinch male was back again today, devouring next doors apple blossom this time. He's so bright he looks exotic.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Mon 07-May-12 21:42:41

I love bees. When I was little I found one on the patio that was stumbling around feebly and I wanted my dad to take to the vet. I cried when he wouldn't grin

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Mon 07-May-12 21:43:04

(it was a big, cute, furry bumble bee of course)

LostInWales Mon 07-May-12 22:17:23

<completely ignores thread full of sharks, the wonder of Bempton cliffs, tame otters coming in the kitchen and all other amazing spots even though we are only 5 minutes into May>

I saw these beautiful native bluebells, they were lovely and a lot less chavvy than the ones in my garden. I may not win any points here but I am at least atoning for posting a picture of my chavbells last month.

I also saw the most amazing heron from the car by a fishing lake, absolutely perfect, totally beautiful, whilst we were driving up for our weekend away. DH nearly choked laughing on the way back when we passed it again and it clearly hadn't moved in 48 hours, plastic, fine

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Mon 07-May-12 22:26:45

I love our stable bees. They are so cute. In one stable they live under the floor, and have a 10p sized access hole in the floor. They fly in and 'stack', like planes over an airport, and slowly spiral down, one by one to enter the hole. They are not very bright though, they often buzz round the wrong stable, looking for the hole, and we regularly fish them out of the ponies water buckets. So often in fact, that we have a special tea strainer, which we use for skimming them out and draining them off! grin

chixinthestix Mon 07-May-12 22:36:10

Are they bumblebees or another species Saggy? I'm a bee lover too and have been trying to learn a bit more about them, they are declining so badly in the countryside.

LostInWales, I'm happy to share in your lovely bluebells, I've had a good bluebell experience this weekend too. And I think its great that you only get bluebell woods in Britain. There's nothing so lovely.

LostInWales Mon 07-May-12 22:45:41

I love that I'm sharing a thread with someone who has a special tea strainer just for bumble bees, there is something quite wonderful about that grin

Bluebell woods were very, very lovely. All the more exciting for having had a false start with the forrin' ones. Just spotted your banner chix, do you have a National Park handicap too or are you a bit inland?

I thought the big bumble bees lived alone and the smaller thinner ones lived together. There is a nest/hive in a tree at the stables my DD used to ride at, in the car park, and people used to complain about them shock. The lovely owners put a notice up basically telling the moaners to feck off, the bees had residency rights.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Mon 07-May-12 22:48:25

They are bumble bees, but I have no idea which variety. We call them masonry bees, but those seem to look more like honey bees. But then bumble bees live in quite small colonies, and there are LOTS of ours. If you put your ear to the wall, at the right time of year and give it a bang with your fist, you can hear them buzzing. It's a HUGE noise. It's SOOO interesting.
I'd really love to keep my own bees. smile

chixinthestix Mon 07-May-12 22:59:09

Useful info on bee identification here

LostinWales I'm a bit inland, although close enough to the coast to bimble on the beach once a week or so smile

GrimmaTheNome Tue 08-May-12 07:46:53

I thought mason bees were solitary?

MIL had lots of mining bees in her lawn one year - they're another solitary type but they were solitary in close proximity - lots of little holes in the lawn, we watched the bees emerging and re-entering. Fascinating creatures.

Love the bee strainer

Oakmaiden Tue 08-May-12 08:06:28

Hm, so what have I seen this month?

Well, the pipistrelles are back in my loft for their summer nursery.

I have sparrows nesting in the loft again as well.

And I think a Great Tit is building a nest in my eaves. He certainly is hanging around near the window a lot.

Oh, and a new wasp nest in the garden shed, which is amazing but is going to have to go.

Just normal stuff really. Have a lot of Jackdaws around here....

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Tue 08-May-12 10:06:06

They aren't Mason Bees. They are some kind of bumble, I'm just. It sure which one yet. They aren't about much yet because of the weather. When one turns up, I'll take it's picture and identify it.
I love the tea strainer too. I might NC to TeaStrainerForMyBees

BeeStrainer Tue 08-May-12 10:07:59


ArielThePiraticalMermaid Tue 08-May-12 11:46:45

I'm impressed by the bee knowledge being displayed here


Slubberdegullion Tue 08-May-12 12:42:41

I also saw the native bluebells wot Losty saw as evidenced by my dog being in the photo.

And a tadpole.

And shed loads of wild garlic.

And the twit-towoo variety of owl that we couldn't remember apart from in now being a Barn Owl (? Tawny)

Slubberdegullion Tue 08-May-12 12:43:12


It not being a barn owl

Slubberdegullion Tue 08-May-12 12:45:37

Tawny Owl <high fives self>

The commonly heard contact call is a shrill, kew-wick but the male has a quavering advertising song hoo...ho, ho, hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo. William Shakespeare used this owl's song in Love's Labour's Lost (Act 5, Scene 2) as "Then nightly sings the staring owl, Tu-whit; Tu-who, a merry note, While greasy Joan doth keel the pot", but this stereotypical call is actually a duet, with the female making the kew-wick sound, and the male responding hooo.

Fishandjam Tue 08-May-12 12:52:08

Pair of great crested grebes, and a little egret, spotted on way to work this morning. Heard green woodpecker as I got into the car at home.

The Lady's Smock has been in flower for weeks round our way - maybe it got confused back in March?

My all time top trump is from a couple of years back - a wryneck spotted on path outside neighbour's front window, eating ants from a crack in the tarmac. I incautiously mentioned it to a twitcher friend of mine and the next day the place was swarming with binoculared types.

Fishandjam Tue 08-May-12 12:56:35

For spotting from the comfort of your PC/laptop, here's Nottingham Trent University's peregrine falcon cam:

Sadly they lost 4 of their 5 chicks in the awful weather we had a couple of weekends ago, but the remaining chick is looking good and strong.

Oh that's fab!

I have the webcams from South Africa National Parks permanently open on my laptop, for spots of all sorts of exciting wildlife.

If you are interested - warthogs and ellies two minutes ago.

GrimmaTheNome Tue 08-May-12 14:56:55

We have a very vocal female tawny - lots of twoo, no twit.

I heard a story that goes something like this: there was once a keen birder who started 'twitting' in the hope of hearing an answering 'twoo'. To his joy he did! Many evenings he engaged in a duet.

Some time later his wife was chatting to a neighbour: 'you'll never guess what my DH does of an evening hmm'... friend says, 'oh, but mine does the same thing except he goes twoo in reply to a twit.... oh.... '. grin

Lizzylou Tue 08-May-12 15:21:51

DH's and DS2 are keen widllife spotters, I just get sucked in by their enthusiasm.

Much excitement at a sparrowhawk appearing in our garden.
DS2's bird box has Great tits in.
Starling's nesting in roof.
Cute wood mouse who lives in undergrowth and comes out to eat birdseed regularly, almost always as we are eating dinner.

Have heard the curlews, not seen any as of yet.

LostInWales Tue 08-May-12 16:50:10

Slubber no one has been very impressed with our bluebells yet sad, I thought they were very exciting.

I am also referencing in on the wild garlic, tadpole and owl (that I thought was my DH messing about)

I saw about 5 red kites yesterday at different locations, do I get extra points for a multiplier?

LostInWales Tue 08-May-12 16:51:35

Sorry BeeStrainer, excellent new name, I forgot to say how impressed I was.

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Tue 08-May-12 17:01:58

The only thing I've seen today is the Lesser Spotted Black Labrador stealing assisting the birds in eating the bird seed off the table. I think I need to invest in a taller table.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Tue 08-May-12 17:15:34

Loving Grimma's owl tale! grin.

There have been bottlenose dolphins around here today. I of course did not see them, so it doesn't count as a spot. Bah.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Tue 08-May-12 17:17:24

PS I have just been watching the peregrine looking after its remaining chick. Wow! So many in cities now.

Lizzylou Tue 08-May-12 20:44:12

Lostinwales, I used to look out for the red kites on my way back to my student house, happy days, lucky you.

violetwellies Tue 08-May-12 20:45:51

Gold finch, quite a few, searching for left over hen feed. Not as many as When we first moved here when they rose in clouds off the thistles.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Tue 08-May-12 22:00:49

Three fox cubs playing in the back garden (we have a den). I think this is the first time they have been out. Very very cute. Hanging out in the sun with mum earlier, and now they are back out playing on their own with mum popping back to check every so often. They keep doing that straight legged jump straight up thing, and lots of nuzzling each other.

I used to work at Dalguise, I loved swimming at the Hermitage. The trees around there are incredible - i have never seen Douglas fir so ridiculously big!

chixinthestix Tue 08-May-12 22:19:55

Oh dear, now have a reputation as the mother who can identify poo, today on school trip (as accompanying helper) DD's teacher called me over and said chix, you know all about poo, what animal did this one..... hmm

chixinthestix Tue 08-May-12 22:21:47

Should say that it was only fox poo so not even worthy of a top trump (unless ridiculously cute sounding baby foxes playing in my own garden).

FuckingSaggyOldClothCatPuss Tue 08-May-12 22:21:56

Three Hares playing on the humps in a potato field. They look so joyful!

LostInWales Wed 09-May-12 08:00:21

Sitting here watching three tiny, beautiful goldfinches pecking their way through the dew on the lawn. I am making the dog cross his legs until they have gone away grin

GrimmaTheNome Wed 09-May-12 08:23:57

A few peaceful minutes after taking DD to the bus stop, morning cuppa and a bit of a garden birdwatch. Baby blackbirds with parents in attendance; Mr Woodpigeon following Ms Woodpigeon but she wasn't having any; dunnock, sparrows of both types - two tree sparrows this time, hope they're a pair.

Topped off by the song thrush singing from its high perch.

My dog is still in bed (not his own!). But he seems to manage peaceful co-existence with the birds and deters cats so I'll send him out for a bask soon.

MrsPnut Wed 09-May-12 12:46:50

Very envy of the fox cubs.

There is a lot of nest building activity going on here, a very noisy coal tit keeps sitting on the guttering of next doors house and goes beserk every time our cat ventures out. The house next door is an old malt kiln and is 3 very big storeys high, there is no way the cat is getting up there.

There is also a host of sparrows flitting about and being vocal. I've only done the school run today though and might not venture any further than that.

FuckingSaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 09-May-12 20:54:59

Whilst moving a pile of fence posts today, we disturbed a large vole. He was dead sweet! He shot down the nearest hole and disappeared. We also had a slightly hairy moment when something started hissing, and we were worried it might be an adder, (they are seen on the property apparently) but it turned out that we had put a post over the entrance hole to a nest of those ground dwelling bees! It was a muffled buzz! confused
We have a muntjac or two living in the next door property, and they were 'calling' tonight, and t was an odd sound, poke a duck but with added grunt! hmm

FuckingSaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 09-May-12 21:00:04

Like a duck, not poke a duck! confused that would be just wrong!
On a slightly scary note, I moved some hay in my car today, and was standing talking to my friend, when she said "don't move". Obviously I totally freaked out, so she pinned me down and flicked a large fat bodied 'Charlottes Web' type spider off of my back! <<BLEURGH>>

mycatsaysach Wed 09-May-12 21:00:58

muntjac deer in garden tonight - tiny but cute

Slubberdegullion Wed 09-May-12 21:02:29

First ducklings of the year for me, pottering about on the canal. Hard to understand how something so fluffy can also be waterproof. Those technical clothing folk need to be doing (humane) experimental work on ducklings.

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Wed 09-May-12 21:09:27

Long tailed tit in the garden this morning a three robins plus our wrens (was glad to see them again). I was very pleased to see the long tailed tit as it is the first time I've seen one in our garden.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 09-May-12 21:11:40

saggy...don't start on the bad habits of ducks. Just google duck+"ignobel prize" or something like that...

slubber - good point re ducklings. Not all water birds are waterproof though - cormorants aren't, that's why you often see them 'posing', drying themselves out.

iseenodust Wed 09-May-12 21:30:08

Being a bit dim we couldn't work out how the number of goslings had risen after we thought some had made an untimely demise after playing in the road. Turns out there's a second family !

violetwellies Wed 09-May-12 21:36:35

Kestrel taking off with little bird, sad I know they have to eat, but why not try a tasty bit of rat.

fivegomadindorset Wed 09-May-12 21:38:37

Woodepecker, I presume we can't include our 7 chickens, 4 sheep, 2 pigs, 1 dog and 1 parrot on this one.

Oh yes a heron in our garden as it was attracted to the swimming pond, but no fish.

FuckingSaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 09-May-12 22:04:16

Years ago, I worked on a farm, and a duck there managed to hatch a chicken egg. can you see where this is going?

Chicken babies ARENT waterproof! sad

Hares and cowslips and kingcups and pair of dippers, all in one field. That was nice. And found that garden centre sells hedgehog food which our pair love (can they be a pair? Or maybe just friends?)

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Thu 10-May-12 10:32:41

Some kind of rodent which ran across the road in the fog last night.

How very exciting hmm

violetwellies Thu 10-May-12 18:27:07

Saggy (loving the political name
change btw) my mother put duck eggs under a banty many years ago. Poor chook was found frantically trying to reach her 'chickens' she balanced on a branch overhanging the pond, clucking like a hen possessed

FuckingSaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 10-May-12 21:55:58

I was wading through the long grass earlier, and a small yellow frog jumped over my foot!
This thread has really made me think. I'm so lucky living where I do. I'm surrounded by so much nature.

violetwellies Fri 11-May-12 12:39:06

We went to a wedding last night via the off road route. smile the primroses were abundant and beautiful. A bit later than ours, probably as it isnt very light, edging the route were carpets of forget me nots and lesser stitchwort, two deer crossed the path and we were even able to point out some domestic ducks to little wellies. Fabulous. smile

GrimmaTheNome Fri 11-May-12 12:50:49

Saggy - yes, I've been more observant since we started this (thanks slubber!). I've not been anywhere today but noticed 'my' thrush singing his song again (too windy for his normal high tree, couldn't see him) and watched the baby blackbirds being fed. Actually I nearly trod on one, it was lurking under my back door sill when I went out to put out food.

violetwellies Fri 11-May-12 15:21:12

Couldn't agree more, I'm less lazy and more observant, peering into the under growth muttering to myself 'must remember to post that one'. grin

5318008 Fri 11-May-12 15:26:22

not very good on butterflies but a small blue one, prob a Small Blue, arf. V pretty.

violetwellies Fri 11-May-12 16:07:29

Crosswort and black medick on our lane, Ooooh I love this thread grin

GrimmaTheNome Fri 11-May-12 16:59:06

Did you know what they were or did you have to look them up? <impressed either way>

First goslings of the year (Canada Goose).

Harder to see the birds now the trees are in leaf but hear lots of birdsong all the time.

The swallows are reparing their nest at the stables with muddy stuff and the blue tit is and out of the hole at the bottom of the garage roof - except when he can see me watching in which case he flies off to random points around the garden to put me off the scent.

And loads and loads of snails suddenly.

littlebrownmouse Fri 11-May-12 17:24:12

We've still got the woodpecker eating from our bird feeder every morning. Rarely catch him at it now because he comes earlier and earlier but think he's nesting in our huge treegrin

GrimmaTheNome Fri 11-May-12 17:31:20

We had a snail incautiously trailing past our front door this morning - another bit of wildlife I nearly trod on!

Mouse - it'd be great if you had some baby woodpeckers!

violetwellies Fri 11-May-12 20:23:45

Looked them up, with a great deal of difficulty since our books are all still packed <sigh>

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Fri 11-May-12 23:18:52

Interesting corvid news here

chixinthestix Fri 11-May-12 23:19:57

Stopped for the daily school run buzzard observation and she is still sitting on the nest...its been weeks, but have googled and found out they incubate for ages and then brood the chicks for the first two weeks so will just have to be patient.

Hedgebanks are all frothy with cow parsley and red campion. Very lush.

Collar doves are nesting in the garden. They are very pretty and just seem less daft than the woodpigeons which have already nested in the same tree and crapped all over my washing boody birds

MrsPnut Sat 12-May-12 11:26:02

We were up at 5am today for DD2 to go to RSPB Explorers group - it was a dawn chorus walk.

The highlight was that the ringing lady was there with all the birds she had caught in her nets to catalogue so we saw a couple of willow warblers, a garden warbler, a goldfinch, a blue tit, a male and female bullfinch and a juvenile robin up close with her pointing out differences and giving tips on how to spot them on the fly.

On the walk we heard loads of Nightingales (and saw one), some coots with their chicks, long tailed tit, wren, chaffinch, blue tit.
It was really good doing the walk with people who could tell what each call was, and they were showing the children lots of interesting things.

I'm going back to bed for a nap now though. grin

Purple and yellow wild pansies on the limestone way walk in Derbyshire, also banks of cowslips and whole fields of wild white saxifrage.

Have never heard a nightingale in the UK, MrsPnut, how brilliant!

violetwellies Sat 12-May-12 15:20:41

looks like Mrs pnut, will have a winner if other people catching your spot for You isn't chwating, grin <confused about ruled emoticon>

violetwellies Sat 12-May-12 15:21:17


Oakmaiden Sat 12-May-12 20:39:54

Today I saw - damsel fly nymphs, and a probably 4 year old dragonfly larvae. Water scorpions. Erm... a diving beetle, shrimps... and some other stuff... Can you tell I went pond dipping with my Brownies?

Saw lots of Wheatears, too.

Oakmaiden Sat 12-May-12 20:42:37

Oh - how could I forget? Moorhen and chicks, having a row with a saw who had 3 cygnets ON HER BACK and had ventured into the locality of the Moorhen's nest. Which was pretty neat.

And a buzzard. Lots of Jackdaws and Magpies. A ladybird? That is all I can remember of note...

CoffeeAhorlickAnonymouse Sat 12-May-12 22:01:06

Large flocks of swifts feeding on pond skaters over the loch, beautifully graceful to watch.

FuckingSaggyOldClothCatPuss Sun 13-May-12 01:17:23

A little owl on a telegraph pole, some pipestrall bats and copious quantities of equestrian lice! Do they qualify as wildlife! confused

violetwellies Sun 13-May-12 09:45:42

Definitely wildlife - yeuk, probably on a level with rabbit fleas, but less likely to share smile we get flypour, from the vet, but I think its available from ag. merchants. Compatable with organic and worked but we havnt had to use it since 2010 (cattle). Okay for equus too.

violetwellies Sun 13-May-12 09:48:45

Oooh and swallows collecting mud smile they have taken up residence in the pigsty - okay but supposed to be getting refurbed this summer

GrimmaTheNome Sun 13-May-12 19:12:05

We did the Ingleton waterfalls trail today - too many people for much fauna except aerobatic swallow display under Thornton Force. But lots of flowers - just about everything we've had to date plus bilberries and wild strawberries flowering, and some orchids - I think Early Purples. (rich almost magenta purple)

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Sun 13-May-12 19:28:19

I saw a Sandwich tern and a Shelduck.

And some dolphins. An unusual type. Forget those though - I think they qualify for the handicap.

FuckingSaggyOldClothCatPuss Sun 13-May-12 21:20:39

Ooh, thanks Violet. I'll file that for future reference! I got some stuff called switch from the vet. It's basically permethrine.

Today, I saw a pair of Coots and their gorgeous black fluffy babies! They were SOOOOOOOOOOOOO sweet! smile

FuckingSaggyOldClothCatPuss Sun 13-May-12 21:21:27

<<wants to see dolphins>>

MrsPnut Sun 13-May-12 21:37:01

I want to see dolphins too, I heard a chiffchaff today.

I also saw off a group of marauding starlings from the sparrow nest by our bedroom window. I opened the window at the commotion and scared all the birds off,letting the parents come back later on their own.

hellymelly Sun 13-May-12 21:50:41

If you want to see dolphins you have to come to my neck of the woods, we've got loads of 'em.

Northey Sun 13-May-12 21:56:49

Some fabulous spots recently on here. Very envious.

Went for a 10 mile walk along the river today, practically the entire length of which was carpeted with wild garlic in starry flower. I also saw what I think was a siskin.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Sun 13-May-12 22:21:31

hellymelly I reckon you're either Cardigan Bay or Cromarty!

hellymelly Sun 13-May-12 22:33:24

Cardigan Bay. Well guessed! So lots of dolohins, seals, otters etc. Nowhere to buy lipstick though.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Sun 13-May-12 22:36:44

You must have a Jones the Chemist somewhere!

hellymelly Sun 13-May-12 22:43:12

Haha yes, there is a tiny Boots in Cardigan too, but its hardly Selfridges beauty hall. Slow-worms in my garden though, and newts, black caps, Goldfinches, bullfinches, (and curlews and oystercatchers by the river). Oh, and DD1 has finally managed her dream of getting a robin to eat out of her hand.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Sun 13-May-12 22:46:20

I was in Cardigan last January. We went on a short break. People asked me why the hell go to West Wales from Cornwall on a short break, but I love it there. It's like Cornwall without the ghastliness of Newquay.

DownyEmerald Sun 13-May-12 22:52:52

Ooh just found this thread!

My first damselflies of the year and some fantastic butterflies on the common over the way including lovely feisty Duke of Burgundies and gorgeously green Green Hairstreaks. The swifts were flying low, and swarms of those little shiny moths with ridiculously long antennae.

And the light on the bright green soft beech leaves - a truly lovely day.

Just hope the DoBs manage to get it on and lay some eggs between rain showers next week.

hellymelly Sun 13-May-12 23:02:11

Yes it is lovely here. Where did you stay?

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Sun 13-May-12 23:03:27

Well down the road actually. In Newport - had a special deal on a lovely little hotel. The estuary was frozen!

hellymelly Sun 13-May-12 23:07:05

Oh, so you came in that very cold weather we had. It was minus 12 in my garden.Newport is pretty isn't it? My dds go to school between here and Newport (we are close to Cardigan). You should come in the summer too, september is nice as the sea is a bit warmer. I have a massive bell tent if you like camping, am happy to lend it, just pm me.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Sun 13-May-12 23:17:12

Thanks helly, but I am kind of tied to Cornwall in the summer! Hence the winter holidays.

GrimmaTheNome Sun 13-May-12 23:19:31

Oakmaiden - I was thinking just today, when is someone going to spot some pond/stream fauna? V impressed you can tell the age of a dragonfly nymph!

Downy - Duke of Burgandies are rare aren't they? That and the first (flying) damselflies) are brilliant entries to the thread!

LostInWales Mon 14-May-12 08:39:44

<waves at helly> I'm sure I see more of you on here than in RL at the moment grin. I think you'll have to take the same 'handicap' as me for our spots though and then come down the river with me and tell me what bird it is that makes the funny 'whirly whirly' almost like a synthesiser call.

Saw two pairs of swallows nesting this weekend in my friends stable, can't wait for the babies.

Oakmaiden Mon 14-May-12 10:43:15

Grimma - I did have a nice lady from the RSPB with me, who was identifying things for us - she was the one who said she thought it was probably a 4 year old. It was huge - she reckoned it will probably be turning into a dragonfly this year.

GrimmaTheNome Mon 14-May-12 11:40:37

They really are rather astonishing, arent they Oak - we came across one in a stream once and at first thought it was a frog, it was so big!

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Mon 14-May-12 11:44:05

Have just googled Ingleton Waterfalls and I want to go there immediately envy

Slubberdegullion Mon 14-May-12 15:32:31

A great beast of a fox crossing a field of wheat this morning. Magnificent it was, with a lovely sheen to his fur and a luxuriant brush.

GrimmaTheNome Mon 14-May-12 15:56:46

Sounds like Fantastic Mr Fox. Bet if you'd had a conversation with him he'd have sounded like Martin Jarvis

Slubberdegullion Mon 14-May-12 16:04:06

I know they are frightfully common but there is something a little bit breathtaking about seeing a decent sized wild mammal with sharp pointy teeth out and about in the wild.

CoffeeAhorlickAnonymouse Mon 14-May-12 20:12:58

Foxes are lovely but I haven't seen one since moving to the country, plenty in the city though.

Today I climbed a tree over the loch lemme have a stealth boast and watched the duck + ducklings, coot, moor hen, pair of great crested grebes, mr. swan parading on the edge of the reeds where mrs. swan is nesting, goldfinches and a pair of really noisy oyster catchers flying overhead, oh and a neighbours lovely lab cross dog grin and we got some cattail fluff.

CoffeeAhorlickAnonymouse Mon 14-May-12 20:16:57

And I had to untangle a float, fishing line and hook some pathetic fisherman left behind angry

FuckingSaggyOldClothCatPuss Mon 14-May-12 21:21:57

I saw a moorhen family in my paddock today. Pretty much the same look and level of cuteness as the coots I saw yesterday! smile
These chicks everywhere are making me really broody. I'm really tempted to borrow a broody and hatch some hens eggs. I haven't had. Hickens for several years. I do miss them!
I'm also a little sad though. Our stable swallows aren't back yet. It's just not the same without them! The bees are missing too. This bloody rain is messing everything up! <<mournful>>

FuckingSaggyOldClothCatPuss Mon 14-May-12 21:22:49


violetwellies Mon 14-May-12 22:12:31

I've had 4 chicks hatch in the incubator today, does that count? <clutches at straws>

FuckingSaggyOldClothCatPuss Mon 14-May-12 22:29:36

I want chicks! <<wails>>

hellymelly Mon 14-May-12 22:31:23

Waves at losty...Haven't seen you for ages, I want to cwtch your puppy.

Selks Mon 14-May-12 22:34:49

I saw a hedgehog today, it was lovely. First one I've seen in a long time.

LostInWales Mon 14-May-12 23:32:08

There are currently two hedgehogs in my garden making sweet sweet love grin. I am in a quandary as I need to let the dog out soon and don't want him to try and eat them confused

Helly, come round and cwtch the puppy anytime, he is quite big now but loves cuddles. If the girls want to come and walk him with me they would be very welcome, he basically runs like the wind for 10 mins and then lies down and grins.

hellymelly Mon 14-May-12 23:43:12

You have loved up hedgehogs? We've only seen one here ever, and that was about 3 years ago. You will have hedgehog babies! your garden will be a haven of cuteness!

EmmaCate Mon 14-May-12 23:48:23

Had a mother and two baby greenfinches on the feeder today. Male Great Spotted Woodpecker on the peanuts... but him and his missus are often about.

We are blessed with our birds... bullfinch, green woodpeckers, nuthatch.

We have a hedgehog pair too! They are quite noisy sometimes. I was really pleased to find hedgehog food at the local garden centre so I am fattening them up in the hope of hedgepiglets.

But our neighbour will not give up using slug pellets. The ferrous sulphate kind- they are supposed to be wildlife safe- does anyone know if this is true?

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Tue 15-May-12 09:37:10

Coffee don't get me started on bastard anglers. I remove yards and yards of fishing line on a daily basis from our harbour and coast. And I have had plenty of young kids coming up to me after swimming for first aid because they have a hook in their hand/foot angry

Slubberdegullion Tue 15-May-12 09:51:53

angry also at left behind fishing lines and hooks.

Lucky you losty for copulating hedgehogs. I reckon you get a bonus for that. Wildlife spots doing the wild thing. Top Trumps spot points x2 or squared?

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Tue 15-May-12 09:54:24

<delighted at phrase "hedgepiglets"!>

Slubberdegullion Tue 15-May-12 09:58:48

We hand reared a batch of hedgepiglets when I was a child. The reality of flea infested snail cruncher dog botherers vs Mrs Tiggywinkle was a difficult realisation for a small child.

violetwellies Tue 15-May-12 09:59:58

I'm back at work (sob) foul weather, hailstones and wetness of the unpleasant variety. But swallows swooping across the road. Many. Beautiful smile

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Tue 15-May-12 10:00:35

It's beautiful here <ever so slightly smug>

Slubber, I feel exactly the same way about teenagers that you do about hedgepiglets!

Goldfinches outside my window every day, eating sunflower hearts.

Anyone able to answer my slug pellet question?

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Tue 15-May-12 12:12:06

This is a concerning story. Again and again this happens. Why aren't golden eagles breeding in the southern uplands for example?

Gamekeepers are an anachronism.

Very jealous of the dolphin and newt spots.

My most exciting spot has been a magpie and a grey squirrel have a barney in a tree. Went on for ages, squirrel running at magpie, magpie flying to other part of tree, then sneaking up when the squirrel's back was turned and pecking at it.

And heard an owl, on Sunday, during the day, when it was warm and sunny, confused

Ariel, that is so sad (and true about gamekeepers). I heard that the law was being changed so that the land owner would the one held responsible for these horrible crimes. Have you heard anything about this?

We have the same problem here in Derbyshire with birds of prey. Years ago I saw a game keeper's carnage pole in Scotland. It was horrific. Even barn owls.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Tue 15-May-12 14:18:28

Yes I had heard that, but I'm not sure whether it was something the last government was pursuing or the current one. Can't see it being something the Tories would go for somehow sad.

Bastards should be strung up. It makes me so furious.

I heard it from Chris Packham in the autumn so I have hope.

Agree BSBSU (we need an icon)

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Tue 15-May-12 14:50:07

Do you think Cwis would be our mascot? <gets a bit over excited>

He's probably too diplomatic to SUB

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Tue 15-May-12 14:53:37

to SUB? confused

String Up Bastards

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Tue 15-May-12 15:23:39


<dense emoticon>

GrimmaTheNome Tue 15-May-12 20:52:58

sad I can see the Bowland Fells from my window but I've never seen a Hen Harrier.

Lots of the usual birdlife along the canal this beautiful evening - swallows, ducklings, cootlings, pair of swans plus some suprisingly small lambs for the time of year. Ox Eye daisies joining the flora.

violetwellies Tue 15-May-12 21:48:32

barbarian according to bbc gardening advice page, ferrous phosphate is compatible with Organic systems as its safe for animals & doesn't contaminate the soil.

violetwellies Tue 15-May-12 21:49:20

barbarian according to bbc gardening advice page, ferrous phosphate is compatible with Organic systems as its safe for animals & doesn't contaminate the soil.

Selks Tue 15-May-12 22:10:53

You met Chris Packham, Barbarian? <impressed>

Thank you Violetwellies- I looked but found conflicting advice. Very fat hedgehog outside right now eating poached egg. Really hoping for piglets. Have hung a doormat into pond to make a ramp.

CP does very good talks all round the country- wild life, photography, politics and poodles. He stayed behind hours to chat afterwards. Even my toocoolforhumaninteraction teen dd was impressed.

GrimmaTheNome Tue 15-May-12 22:39:47

Poached egg? Do you mean it had stolen an egg from a nest or that you'd lovingly cooked it for him? (my dog only ever gets microwaved scrambled)

chixinthestix Tue 15-May-12 22:57:07

Very excited to hear of all the hedgehogs around and the prospect for hedgepiglets! Somewhere up the thread I bemoaned the fact that our only hedgehog for years got run over and last week I heard from someone in the know that they are pretty much extinct in this area.

So very smile about Losty's pair, maybe they are still doing ok in some bits of west wales?

Poached too many at supper, Grimma! It was very quickly guzzled.
I like the swan stories on this thread. We had swans vanish- killed for meat.

CoffeeAhorlickAnonymouse Wed 16-May-12 01:22:03

We have a resident breeding pair of swans on the loch, nesting again. They lost one cygnet to discarded fishing tackle last year. No duckling deaths so far but will try to check everyday for hooks/lines.

Interesting about the game keepers. We are surrounded by game land, I haven't seen any killed prey birds but will now keep a look out as we have a pair of harriers I think but not hen nesting up the road. They feed by the loch but get attacked by the crows.

envy at woodpeckers and hedgehogs.

LostInWales Wed 16-May-12 09:35:13

Didn't hear my hedgehogs last night but I was a bit pissed and had to go to bbed early blush Although I did dream about seeing lots of birds to spot for the thread. Not sure what that's a sign of?

Saw my usual heron this morning, he and I exchanged a friendly look and I carried on wink and some tiny blue butterflies which I was very excited about, the dog less so.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Wed 16-May-12 11:17:24

Arf and you and the heron exchanging a friendly look!

I saw the FUNNIEST THING this morning. Well, I thought it was funny. I watched a herring gull chasing fish in some shallow water, but not catching them. It was just paddling round like crazy after a group of mullet, and one of them in particularly, and it was obviously having a little game. I'm not sure how a mullet would react to such an irritant, but it was starting to look rather teasy! Anything which plays is a Clever Creature and I have always thought gulls to be remarkably bright.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Wed 16-May-12 11:17:45

ParticulaR not particularly.

iseenodust Wed 16-May-12 11:25:33

Swan update - it's still sitting on the nest. Must google how long they do it for.

I have seen Steve Backshall is coming near us on talk/tour. Anyone heard him live? Think DS might really like to go.

iseenodust Wed 16-May-12 11:26:36

Ariel did the mullet survive though? In which case surely v intelligent?

NarkedPuffin Wed 16-May-12 11:33:31

This is in my garden.

[honest face]

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Wed 16-May-12 12:05:27

The mullet just swam around in circles. It reminded me of nothing more than a cat chasing sunbeams.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Wed 16-May-12 12:06:08

Those herons have got very unnerving eyes.

iseenodust Wed 16-May-12 12:09:47

NarkedP excellent name. Are your fingers crossed behind your back mmmm? Great spot though. We went on a walk around a heronry last year at nest building team. Remarkably flimsy nests for such large birds, a lot of wobbling going on.

Ariel just noted in your OP herring gull is noisy & obnoxious. Now it's funny & clever. Do we think the herring gull community runs to a gamut of personality types ?

NarkedPuffin Wed 16-May-12 12:24:56

Might be.

Herring Gull are funny and clever in the singular and noisy and obnoxious in the plural.

Northey Wed 16-May-12 12:25:09

A roe deer! In a narrow shrubby area between fields. From my train window.

And... <dies of cuteness> a mother rabbit with three tiny babies next to her. I practically pulled the communication cord in a passionate attempt to stop the train, disembark and LOVE THEM. It came perilously close to a Mice and Men moment for those bunnies.

iseenodust Wed 16-May-12 12:26:14

In case no-one else knew, swans can take 2-3 weeks to lay eggs after nest built and then sit on them for 6 weeks. Sometimes if they lose the first ones they will continue to sit there for a second clutch. I'm strangely impressed.

NarkedPuffin Wed 16-May-12 12:40:09

There are herons nesting on the lakes I sometimes take the dogs to walk around, but they're smaller (grey) and you can't see the nest well - up a tree on an island.

NarkedPuffin Wed 16-May-12 12:45:30

One of the things I love about around here is the rabbits and deer. I've trained myself not to shriek, 'Bunny!' if DH is driving.

I'm always impressed by the swan's knowledge of botany. I've seen a swan sitting on eggs in a silly, open nest site on/by the water and thought it was odd. By the time the young were hatching the nest was invisible - dense foliage completely obscured it.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 16-May-12 14:50:40

We did a bike ride along the canal through Lancaster, back along Morecambe seafront (fabulous views all round the bay and of the hills from Ingleborough round to the Cumbrian fells). Lots of yellow poppies, and some scarlet pimpernel to add to the floral list. Loads of ducklings. And while stood on the Lune aqueduct, an oystercatcher flew just over our heads.


ArielThePiraticalMermaid Wed 16-May-12 18:39:06

Herring gulls are funny and clever <firm>
They are my friends.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Wed 16-May-12 18:41:19

Northey!!!! Hello my dear. You ok? You and your sparrows have been strangely silent of late.

<dies of cute at mummy bunny and three babies description> Can you imagine if you had pulled the communication cord? You'd have been sectioned!

Northey Wed 16-May-12 18:45:40

Any judge would admit my sanity. NO-ONE can deny the cuteness of baby bunnies. They were so small!

I am fine, thanks - have been a bit busy going back and forth for job interviews and <ahem> follicle tracking. I am still depressingly undiffed, but I do now, subject to formalities, have a job!

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Wed 16-May-12 18:58:14

Well that's good smile.

And you never know, you may be a ripe candidate for an ironidiff.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Wed 16-May-12 18:58:40

And congratulations on the job! Local to you?

Northey Wed 16-May-12 19:27:21

Nope, back in London. Not entirely certain how this will work with bastard ttc. But on the upside, there will be regular opportunity for nature trump spotting from train windows.

chixinthestix Wed 16-May-12 21:57:47

Congratulations on new job Northey.

Ariel, I'm with you on herring gulls. I used to live and work very close to a breeding colony of gulls, herrings and lesser black backed and I can confirm that they are indeed both funny and clever with quite distinct personalities. They are also bloody noisy and smell vile but I used to watch them flying round and riding the updraughts on the cliffs as if for the hell of it or sitting on the fence posts 'chatting' and started to really quite admire them.

chixinthestix Wed 16-May-12 22:03:13

Oh yes and a bit of news from BuzzardWatch. Saw the female heave herself up off the nest today and immediately get mobbed by a couple of lurking crows. I thought they might dive straight in the nest for the chicks/eggs, but no, the silly fools have made a nest in the next door tree so spent all their time mobbing the buzzard who just shouldered them out of the way and hove off down the valley.
Saw her sat on a telegraph pole staring at the ground v intently later and DD swore she saw the top of a chick's head in the nest but I think that was wishful thinking.

FuckingSaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 17-May-12 01:16:40

OOH OOH OOH! <<getting carried away>>
Today I saw a Little Egret! I've never seen one of those before! I was driving along side the river, narrow end of a tidal estuary thingy and there it was. I nearly crashed, craning my neck trying to see! DS thinks I'm bonkers, stopping the car to look at random critters! This thread has made me really appreciate my local wildlife! I have to admit to more than a little jealousy of the whales, dolphins and Otters though!

FuckingSaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 17-May-12 01:22:23

And Northey... If you saw the carnage wrought on the paddocks round here, by the millions of rabbits in North Essex, you wouldn't think they were so cute! They eat the grass faster than it can grow, dig huge, leg breaking burrows and chew through all the electric fence wires! They are a BLOODY NUISANCE! The lose all their cuteness points when you have to put hay out in the fields in spring!

Northey Thu 17-May-12 05:56:41

Oh I know all that, saggy. I totally appreciate they are a fast breeding pest. But when I see one sitting on his haunches and cleaning his little ears or woffling his little nose... somehow all rationality evaporates.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 17-May-12 09:20:27


GrimmaTheNome Thu 17-May-12 10:14:38

Rabbits are as cute as lambs, and also as tasty. Don't know why we don't eat more of them TBH (not heartless, I'm thinking of the ecobalance)

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 17-May-12 10:29:43

BLEURGH! The smell of rabbits cooking! <<boak>> I'll eat most animals, but I draw the line there!

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Thu 17-May-12 10:57:27

<startled> What's wrong with rabbit aroma? Is it too gamey?

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Thu 17-May-12 10:58:38

Saggy where do you live? Is it somewhere oop north?

(just wondering about the little egret expansion and where it has got to now)

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Thu 17-May-12 11:00:34

Er yes. Essex. Oops.

I wonder if they are colonising from the south west then in a south easterly direction?

Will stop cluster posting now.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Thu 17-May-12 11:00:57

Ahem. Northeasterly.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 17-May-12 15:09:48

Here is where the RSPB thinks little egrets have got to.

We see them pretty often at Leighton Moss (about as far up Lancashire as you can get) and have also seen them elsewhere on the coast hereabouts.

Actually, we get all sorts there which are mostly found further south - apparently there are avocet chicks (must have another bunk-off there soon!)

I can't stand the smell of cooked rabbit either. I was once in a restaurant in Falmouth with a group of 20 - who almost to a man chose the rabbit from the menu. I came over all faint and had to go outside for fresh air.

Wild flowers are blooming but no idea what they are - must google.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Thu 17-May-12 15:55:03

I just saw a buzzard with a bunny its beak <taunts Northey>

And I saw my first foxglove. Has anyone seen a foxglove yet?

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Thu 17-May-12 15:55:30

Actually, sorry it was in its talons.

Not that it makes any difference...

Slubberdegullion Thu 17-May-12 16:25:42

mmm rabbit and tarragon pie. Lovely, and yy we should be eating loads more of them but can I get my butcher with a gun to shoot me a brace of coneys. Can I heck.

No nature spotted today.

Northey Thu 17-May-12 16:26:44

No! Poor darling bunny sad Luckily I saw 10 more on today's train journey, so there will still be bunnies in the world. No deer today though.

Saw a foxglove but not in flower - sort of half grown.

<really must learn about wildflowers>

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 17-May-12 16:44:22

Cooking rabbit smells like manky old rabbit hutches! <<screws up nose>>
Ariel, I'm in north Essex. I'm sure it was an Egret. It was the only thing remotely similar I could find in my book or by googling!

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Thu 17-May-12 16:58:35

I'm sure it was Saggy. Have you seen Grimma's link? Apparently they arrived in Dorset in the 80s from France and have been steadily colonizing ever since

GrimmaTheNome Thu 17-May-12 17:55:35

I believe there are other egrets starting to colonize - isn't it Cattle Egrets in cornwall now? (similar but yellow bill not black, and like hanging out with cows)

We once saw a stray Great White Egret (yet again, the Eric Morecambe hide at Leighton Moss bringing sunshine smile) - yellow beak and heron sized.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Thu 17-May-12 17:59:52

Yes, we saw a cattle egret at the RSPB marsh a couple of years ago. Wasn't on a cow though!

chixinthestix Thu 17-May-12 21:25:45

Foxgloves tall but not out here yet. The hawthorn has finally started flowering this week though.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 17-May-12 21:54:55

We have oil seed rape EVERYWHERE here. It isn't just in the fields. It's growing along side the roads, in the hedgerows, and our stretch of the A12 has a yellow frothy central reservation. It looks lovely!

iseenodust Thu 17-May-12 22:10:32

Like Saggy this area has a lot of oil seed rape. DS asked me this week "why do farmers grow rape?" Cue long explanation harshly cut short with 'but why don't they just cut the wild stuff?'

Eek - I am a bit hmm about oil seed rape. Tis not natural, and it drugs the bees and spoils the honey. <soapbox>

Bats - hurrah - the bats are back (where do they go?) but they look bigger this year.

Heron on a nest on top of a tall tree by the river. And a nuthatch with a nest in the wall of the river where it goes under the canal.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 17-May-12 23:17:07

Oilseed rape is the only thing that gives me hayfever. I often know there must be some out when we're driving before we reach it. And its the wrong sort of yellow. When I was young I saw a field of mustard - that was the right sort of mellow yellow. Just now on newsnight though there was a shot of almost fluorescent rape under heavy dark clouds...dramatic, but not right.

Agree totally Grimma It looks so unnatural and does not reflect light in the right way for me.

A field of lavender on the other hand......

And poppies.

GrimmaTheNome Fri 18-May-12 10:49:44

Lavender fields are gorgeous... now that's one thing we don't get round here. It's the lowlanders compensation for not having heather moorland grin

Northey Fri 18-May-12 11:00:10

I really want to go to Provence when the lavender fields are ready for harvest. It must be druggingly beautiful.

Agree - we drove over to Marsden for tea on Wednesday and the sun was on the moors, which were that goldeny pink way they go of an evening.

Lush. Makes the bleakness all worthwhile.

Saw my the curlew this morning, on the ground at the edge of the field where it rises up to meet the moors - it was making one heck of a lot of noise - the burbling noise interspersed with more frantic sounds, almost like a peewit confused. Hope it is OK.

Several dead hedgehogs sad

5318008 Fri 18-May-12 11:05:56

sad hedgehogs

we've got two baby robins scuffling around the bottom of the hedge this morning, piping and being fussed over by the parents. awwwwwww

Northey Fri 18-May-12 14:04:46

Today's train journey through the rabbit fields has taken on a portentous tone. Instead on the usual scattering of brown grass-nibblers, there were two jet black Bunnies Of Doom à la Watership Down. Nobody else besides.

hellymelly Fri 18-May-12 14:30:27

the sweetest thing in the world watching my dd with a robin feeding out of her hand.

5318008 Fri 18-May-12 14:32:28

oh helly how ADORABLE <melts>

DaenerysTargaryen Fri 18-May-12 14:38:12

I have a spot! <Excited> it was only a fox ducking into somebodys garden on my way home from work last night but it was a really healthy looking one smile a lot of the ones round here can look quite scrawny but this one had a lovely bushy tail!

I'm jealous of everyone elses spots though envy

I'm going to take dd1 to feed the grey squirrels in the park for breakfast on the next nice morning we have, she loves it because its so quiet they come right up to you and eat out of your hand smile

DaenerysTargaryen Fri 18-May-12 14:39:22

I wish I lived in the country sad

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Fri 18-May-12 16:25:52

<weeps at wanting a DD with a feeding robin in her hand sad>

I saw a shelduck this afternoon. Getting a bit bored of them if I'm honest... grin

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Fri 18-May-12 17:36:33

Sorry for mawkish post. Back to the wildlife

GrimmaTheNome Fri 18-May-12 19:22:47

I think I've seen precisely one blackbird today (OK, probably some pigeons too). Could hear the song thrush but couldn't see it. Yesterday had a tree sparrow on the feeder stuck to my patio window, which was nice.

Selks Fri 18-May-12 19:40:16

I had a green woodpecker fly across the road in front of me this morning. What a stunning bird. In flight, as well as the green wings and back, and red head, it has a bright yellow rump. It looks very exotic; first time I've seen one in flight at close quarters.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Fri 18-May-12 19:53:46

I love seeing green woodpeckers fly - they do that swoopy thing don't they and yes, they do look very exotic.

Forgot a spot today - a storm petrel. Was quite pleased with that one.

MrsPnut Fri 18-May-12 19:55:43

I've only seen boring blackbirds and sparrows today. I haven't been anywhere though to spot anything better.

GrimmaTheNome Fri 18-May-12 19:59:00

envy I've only ever seen a green woodpecker once and it wasn't flying.

Storm Petrel's good... just looked them up, very distinctive. Much better than your two-a-penny shelducks (I don't usually give them a mention - like poor old mallards)

GrimmaTheNome Fri 18-May-12 19:59:48

>I've only seen boring blackbirds and sparrows today
At least I've got interesting sparrows grin

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Fri 18-May-12 20:32:24

Joining back in after work... Theres something that is even more beautiful than a field of lavender, or heather.... A whole field of wedgewood blue linseed, dotted with scarlet poppies. SOOO pretty!

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Fri 18-May-12 20:51:44

Get you and your two a penny shelducks being like mallards! I have only seen about five ever round here!

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Fri 18-May-12 20:58:01

Actually it's funny isn't it, what different wildlife means to different people. If you live in quite a ducky place then I guess shelducks are dead boring. If you live by the sea and actual wildlfowl is a bit more scarce, then they're worth more of a mention than say a storm petrel which can be ten a penny after a spell of windy weather. Similarly red deer in the Highlands - meh. Whereas if I saw a red deer, or indeed any kind of deer, on the Penwith Moors I would wet myself with excitement! You know those deer signs you see on rural A roads, the "Be careful of large mammals running into your car" type signs and you don't actually believe them? I was driving on the A 30 at night over Dartmoor and narrowly avoided one. To say I was startled was an understatement. But grey seals and gannets? Loads of the buggers!

chixinthestix Fri 18-May-12 21:59:36

Yay, at last, stopped with DS to peek at the buzzard nest on the way home and saw a little pale coloured head bob up beside the adult in the nest. grin We've got a chick!

Selks Fri 18-May-12 22:04:25

Ariel - a storm petrel, impressive! Where did you see that?

MrsPnut Fri 18-May-12 22:49:16

I see sparrows and blackbirds every day so they became boring, it's the willow warblers and bramblings I want to be seeing.

Although the swifts are back, I've seen a few but there are more each day.

MrsPnut Fri 18-May-12 22:54:20

Ariel, I suppose that's why we have the handicap.

I live in quite a rural area so for me kestrels, swans, ducks, and smaller perching birds are ten a penny. I also come across pheasants, grouse and quail from now until the end of the season. Deer, badgers and small carnivores are occasional spots but I'm not out on the road early enough to see them often.
I rarely see sea birds though except when we visit my MIL.

Selks Sat 19-May-12 09:05:56

MrsPnut, yes I've spotted some swifts too. Great to see them back, and the swallows. Haven't seen any house martins - we used to have a local colony but had none last year sad

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Sat 19-May-12 11:26:03

The handicap is very arbitrarily applied!

South west coast selks

hellymelly Sat 19-May-12 14:07:41

anyone after a tame robin- the key is to put mealworms, out at regular intervals.Gradually get closer and then hold out your hand with mealworms on it. We now have two tame ones , one is very tame and will sit on your hand to feet rather than just dashing on briefly.

MamaMaiasaura Sat 19-May-12 14:11:30

I'm incredibly excited that I have a nest of blackbirds in my honeysuckle in back garden. Everytime I see the mummy and daddy bird go to the nest with a worm I grin. In my front garden I have woodland overlooking and I put a box up 4 years ago, every year we've had blue tits grin when do the blackbirds and blue tits fledge?

I've just spotted a tiny tiny little mouse eating the scraps under my bird feeder (or should that be squirrel feeder hmm ) so cute

Also the Great Spotted Woodpecker has started to come onto the bird feeder so I'm hoping I will be able to get a good photo of it soon

Extremely jealous of the tame robins too but DD is too young to be able to sit quiet or still

violetwellies Sat 19-May-12 16:32:11

My Fil ( or something like that - I'm not married ) has been pitying up nestboxes for years. All ignored, he now has great tit chicks in a plant pot holder under a plant pot. smile

Northey Sat 19-May-12 18:25:01

Will I be drummed off the thread if I admit to being squeamish about holding mealworms? On the other hand, I do want to have a pet robin.

GrimmaTheNome Sat 19-May-12 21:08:36

I came here to say, 'swifts today, scything over the reservoir, we've not had any of those yet have we' and blow me down, two previous spots today. Remarkable synchronicity!

MamaMia, your fledglings may appear anytime soon, our baby blackbirds have been around for a while now.

chixinthestix Sat 19-May-12 21:30:37

I'd love to see a swift - we don't seem to get them here. Am hoping to see sand martins tomorrow though.

Saw loads of dull looking noisy little birds all in one bush today, then realised they were baby great tits and frantic parents were rushing to and fro feeding them all.
Also MamaM had a mother blackbird feeding her giant fully fledged babies in the garden. They seemed to go very quickly from being bald little scraps to big feathered birds. I think these ones are the second brood too, so she'll probably have a 3rd lot this spring. So you shouldn't have long to wait.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Sat 19-May-12 21:58:21

grin our swallows are home! <<relief>>
All we need now is the stable bees. <<peers round wistfully>>

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Sun 20-May-12 17:21:13

Well I had a pretty good day today grin

Apart from a few things which would qualify enormously for the handicap, I saw a pomarine skua harassing a gull, trying to force it into the water. The gull got away - phew. I also saw a dear little puffin.

RustyBear Sun 20-May-12 19:13:28

I saw an odd thing on Friday - I cam home fom work and found a magpie viciously attacking another one on the lawn - the victim looked like a young one: not a little baby but smaller than the attacker. It had lost clumps of feathers from the top & back of its head and it looked like its eye was damaged.

The odd thing was there was a female blackbird there too and twice it darted in and pecked at the attacker from behind, and then jumped away and did that dragging the wing decoy thing that some birds do to draw a predator away from thir own nest. The attacking magpie wasn't fooled though, and I started to go out to see if I could drive it away, but as soon as they saw me, all three birds flew off. Sadly, it sounded as if the attack started again in someone else's garden, but I couldn't see where they were.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Sun 20-May-12 19:32:10

confused Strange.

So, so, so jealous of your puffin Ariel

GrimmaTheNome Mon 21-May-12 07:43:27

Our red-legged partridges are back. Saw them wandering around the cul-de-sac a couple of evenings ago, and yesterday evening I couldn't see where they were roosting (so possibly on my roof) but could hear their distinctive rhythmic churr-ch-ch-churring.

Northey Mon 21-May-12 10:47:57

How lovely, grimma! I want churr-churning partridges on my roof.

Woke this morning to screaming swallows. And a dawn-warmed cat on the window sill, watching with regretful interest (why are those tempting flickering things out of paw's reach? Why?* )

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Mon 21-May-12 10:52:55

Can someone please explain the handicap to me please?

Northey Mon 21-May-12 11:01:14

Well may you ask, sag, well may you ask.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Mon 21-May-12 11:05:42


I think it's when someone's spot on the face of it seems amazing, but when you delve deeper it turns out they have an unfair advantage e.g. bottlenose dolphins breaching but the spotter turns out to live in New Quay West Wales, or ptarmigan, but the spotter turns out to live in a mountain hut in Cairngorm. Or basking sharks when the spotter turns out to live in West Cornwall grin.

There are no actual figures or mathematical formulae applied to my knowledge.

Northey Mon 21-May-12 11:22:16

There are also things like extra points awarded for poetry of description. Just without any actual points.

There aren't any real points anyway, cos points mean prizes.....

GrimmaTheNome Mon 21-May-12 13:28:28

This morning, a sleek starling busily drilled a succession of leatherjackets out of my lawn and popped them into the beaks of its four youngsters - good work!

We walked a section of the canal we'd not done before - highlight a pair of swans with eight little cygnets at the small fluffball stage. Also several sets of ducklings from tiny to half grown, and a couple of solitary lapwings pewitting as they flew.

LostInWales Mon 21-May-12 14:13:14

I'm quite excited about this spot although I think it's a grass snake which isn't exactly rare! It was hissing at my dog so it wasn't very easy to get a picture. Another pic including it's head

LostInWales Mon 21-May-12 14:21:01

Saw quite a big group of house martins (the birds not the 80's northern indie band) as well getting mud for their houses and swooping onto the river to drink but after that I was distracted because the bastard dog forgot all his recall training and buggered off

Northey Mon 21-May-12 14:23:21

That snake is huge!

CoffeeAhorlickAnonymouse Mon 21-May-12 16:42:15

Haven't kept up witht the thread, sorry.

9 cygnets grin grin

first time out of the reed bed today, they're so tiny. Am going to try and get pics.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Mon 21-May-12 18:31:28

A dead squirrel on the road sad

Dear little cygnets <fond>

RandomNumbers Mon 21-May-12 19:16:20

ooo er at snake

a hobby I think, very small and FAST, neowm, low over the fields

(two years ago we had a sparrowhawk strike in the back garden, complete with hooded wings and dismemberment of poor blackbird)

Northey Mon 21-May-12 21:43:26

What are hooded wings? Sounds uncommonly Grim Reaper shock

Nothing new today. Another blue butterfly. More swallows. A jay.