Day 152. A New nest.

I new that there was a greater spotted woodpecker nest in my local wood, as it was drumming earlier this year, but could I find it, no, not this year. well that was until today.

Walking through the wood with my dog today I could here the “chitter” of woodpecker chicks, but was finding it difficult to pinpoint where exactly the sound was coming from. Then an adult bird started alarming straight over my head, then flow off straight into the nest.

It’s always nice to find a new nest, now I hope to watch the chicks grow and fledge.


Day 151, sometimes doing nothing is better than doing something.

To help is usually an active task, especially when it comes to helping the young.

If most people see a young thing they immediately want to pick it up and “help”, and this isn’t a human thing, animals of all sorts “adopt the young of others.

This was my dilemma today, on a walk my daughter noticed a carrion crow that hadn’t pinned properly, and must have therefore fallen from the nest. We could have picked it up and taken it home, fed it and released in four or five weeks, or left it to it’s fate.

Picking it up and “helping” seems like the thing to do, but take in the fact that the parent birds were probably watching.

So we left it, hopefully it’ll make it, but if it doesn’t it will  become food for something else. This is the truth of nature and the wild, cruel things appear to happen but they lead to life. So if there’s no human fault leave alone and let nature take it’s course.

Day 150 A look down a railway line

Back in the 1960’s in the UK we had the beeching report, and thousands of miles of rail routes were taken out of use, in the time since many of these lines have been turned into footpaths and bridleways. In these places you can admire the beauty and skill of the men who designed and built the structures and area of the rail system.

At the same time you can admire the beauty and tenacity of the wildlife that has made these places there home.

However in my patch there are no closed line, instead we have an active line that splits the town in two.

I cannot walk this line, but I can stand on a road bridge that looks over the line. As I stand on this bridge I have open fields and countryside to my rear, and the town with all it brings in front of me, the line creates a route for wildlife to move in relative safety, connecting land either side of the town, and green spaces in town.

It is a good place to stand and watch birds butterflies and even dragonflies pass along. Plants have done this since the line was built, with seeds being dragged along by wind drag off the trains.

Off the bridge I am looking into a woodland cutting, as I look at the birds I can see, and try to hear those I cannot, I catch sight of a small brown/red dog, just sitting by the rail, a dangerous place to be, with trains traveling at 70mph.

Then from nowhere, I see four smaller brown/red dogs play fighting, two jump on one and make it cry out, with the fourth jumping too late, landing heavy on the rail.

Of course these Brown/red dogs with pointy ears white bibs, black noses, and bushy tails are foxes. As I stand watching these animals play, I can see a train approaching, the animals seem to have no idea of this danger.

The train passes by where the foxes our playing and blinds the animals from my view. My gut sinks, as it looks like if not all some of these animals didn’t make it.

A few seconds after the train passes, mum steps out and sits on the track, a few seconds after that four little brown/red dogs are play fighting as if nothing happened, but this is there daily life and they know the dangers, for them our dangers have made them safe(ish).

Day 149 Bottom of the food chain

When you think of what’s at the bottom of the food chain, what do you think of?

Bacteria, worms, bugs and mini beast, maybe.

What about if  it was a human at the bottom of the food chain, must be a corps? right?

Well I’m at the house by the mill pond today, and I find myself at the bottom of the food chain, and I’m very much alive.

The weather is warm and not raining to start with, but there is damp in the air, this has brought the mosquito’s out, and as the only large warm blooded creature around these mosquitos can smell me, and though I’m taking some out, the rest are taking a fare bit of blood.

Both male and females feed on plant juice and nectar, but in a lot of species the female feeding tube is adapted to pierce the skin, for sucking blood.

The plant stuff is for energy and the blood for production of the next generation.

Most people think that mosquitos should be culled heavily, and I’ll admit this seemed like a good idea this morning, but then you have to think of the destruction to the rest of the food chain to realise this isn’t a good idea.

So next time I’m by the mill pond and the weather’s right for these little blood sucker, long sleeves and trousers will be in order, and pass the citrus. Better than killing what I can control without harm

Day 148 listening in town

Out and about walking in my local town and there is the site of harassed parent birds rushing about, looking a little like I did several years ago with two young kids.

You know the look, eyes half open, mouth full of whatever the hands can’t hold no time to brush up. Well that’s kind of how the birds look.

Following these bedraggled creature is a way of finding there nest, but just listening out you can hear the feed me sound of little birds, shouting mum and dad.

This is as it would be in any naturel setting.

Once you have found your little ones by sound in any built up area you can just sit back and watch nature at work on the next generation.

Day 147. Screaming sickle

They come out of the sky at speed, it is there voice that points to there direction, a single high pitch screaming note. you look up and black as pitch two flying sickles zoom by.

There back to breed, since last year when they and there young launched in early august they have not touched down on tree or ground, as there name implies they are swift of heart and wing. This is the Swift, the last of the high summer birds that I know.

They feed on the smallest of insects, higher in the air than most, they even go up high and sleep.

Amazing little birds that shows that most things are possible.

Summer is truly hear, and the autumn starts when families fly  screaming there call and then the skies start to go quieter, but for now. SUMMER IS HERE.

Day 146 Meeting a vole.

Searching through the undergrowth you never know what or who you may meet, today in a grass field I was seeing what small flora was surviving against the much more brutish ryegrass, when I happened upon some small pieces of willow branches with chew marks on.

Picking one up  and looking I could tell it was a small mammal, but which type I didn’t know. It was at this point I noted a little light brown ball of fluff, in it’s front paws it held a short Chewed piece of willow. It seemed as surprised to see me, as I was to see it.

In no particular hurry it dropped it’s chew stick and slowly walked off.

Field voles are not rare, but hidden away, they remains an important part of our countryside. They are predated on by many predator, both avian and mammal.

They are very territorial and will fight each other, however a mother vole will leave her nest and territory, to set up afresh once her young are weaned.

One of the seeming disadvantages of there territorial activities is as they urinate along there runs to warn others off, this may seem an obvious way of passing a message,  however it is visible in the ultra violet, this is visible to raptors, and is therefore a beacon to these animals.