Monday, June 16, 2008


Suddenly my little copse has gone quiet, literally. The green woodpecker is rarely to be heard. No trees are cheeping from holes. No sign of the spotted flycatchers (incubating or gone?). Nearby though the world is young, fresh and having a wash.

This fabulous robin fledgling came for a look .......

(as ever better quality images on the web album) and a whitethroat just about crept into camera range (at last).

At home the 5th brood of house sparrows seems to be doing well, and one was even trying swallow mum's head whole.

Meanwhile this male was ready to try again, and letting the local ladies know, by sitting above a nest box, cheeping incessantly and strutting his stuff in a kind of metrosexual blend of fluffing and pumping up.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Forest morning

I still find it strange to see ducks in trees. I know goldeneye nest there, but I've never seen one just sitting in a tree, unlike this Mandarin pictured in the early morning at Cannop Ponds.

Nearby a second was just waking up, as was it's duckling - briefly - before they both settled down again for a while.

Then there was a bit of wriggling, and suddenly there was a multitude. Well a small multitude anyway.
I still haven't got even a half good picture of a male redstart, but I'm making some kind of incremental progress. At least this is recognisable!But the highlight of the day was the pied flycatchers, which were exceptionally obliging. Sadly the 'pair shot' isn't as sharp as this resolution might suggest, but overall I'm pleased with this range of snaps (and another sixty or so - the hazard of digital photography).

As always I will post 'latest' shots on the web album (see links) where the quality will be significantly better.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Going, going, gone

On Saturday we were out gardening when we realised the second of our blue tit broods this year was fledging. Rubbish photos - focusing issue mainly, but low light too - but you can see the pattern as one of the chicks is tempted out of the nest box. At least three ended up on the floor, and they were still flitting around today.

It's been quite a good year. At least 4 broods of house sparrow on the go or fledged already in our nest boxes on the house, 3 starling nests in the eaves (we had 21 juvenile starlings on the lawn one day) and the house martins were back nest building today. Add to that fledgling blackbirds (I'm fairly sure we had couple of nests, but didn't find them), great tits, collared dove and greenfinch. Just waiting now for the jackdaws, probably my favourites as the young are such good value - they bully their parents even more than starlings, and that's going some.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Is this a lesser spotted woodpecker?

In the copse I heard a green woodpecker yaffle - at the beginning of the video on the link below. Then a woodpecker drummed - perhaps 30 seconds later. Although I know Green's do drum this is not in keeping with the descriptions in my books. I think it might be a lesser spotted as I didn't instinctively think great spotted which I've heard often - any views? It drummed several times, and always a long run like this. Only got one on tape so I've spliced it in 3 times. Sorry it's a bit faint amidst all that hiss.

Any comments welcome.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Hedgerow and copse II

As Rolf would say "Can you tell what it is yet?". Not what they usually catch.

Another weekend on-call ruled out the Forest of Dean, so it was back to the copse. As the starlings in the house have fledged (21 baby starlings on the lawn on Sunday) I was hopeful the same would be true in the wood, leading to a more peaceful day!
Walking along the hedge I was pleased to see the whitethroats seem to have nested - certainly one was carrying insects. This would be a first for me locally. Whilst trying to see it I found another webspinning caterpillar - not the Lackey this time. Probably an ermine moth, I think.
And whilst watching them I saw this cracking scorpion fly
Sadly not one with the curled up tail, but still a good find. I wondered if it was predating the caterpillars, but from my books it seems they are mainly scavengers or fruit eaters, so I guess not.
Into the wood and I was delighted to find this pair of birds building a nest.
Being 35 feet up in a tree the views weren't the best, but this crop shows the classic spotted flycatcher pose.

I've mainly seen them in Scotland before, and usually at a much lower level. There is a small glade, so I'll go back soon to see if they come down to a more photo friendly level.
And, yes the copse was much, much quieter. There are more nests, although I still haven't found the green woodpecker hole that I am sure is there. And I think I heard a lesser spotted woodpecker drumming - got it on video (the sound!) and might post it to see what others think.
As usual some better quality shots on the web albums.