A few pictures taken around our birdfeeders, not birds who feed on our food, but rather birds who feed on the birds feeding on the feeders. So there is a Kestrel, and a regular visitor, a Sparrowhawk. Last year we were sitting in the garden when the Sparrowhawk struck and removed one feeding bird. There was silence for a few minutes when all others disappeared. They soon forgot and were back out. This Sparrowhawk regularly comes and sits on the bird feeders, but had been rather camera shy.
The Redwing and Fieldfare were photographed in out field. There can be flocks of 40 – 50 at a time.
Some pictures from Christmas. First there was the evening party around Kingswood with the progressive supper, starting at Lin and Laurie, progressing to Julie and Ian, and finishing at Karin and Duncan. Christmas was a family day at home.
Rosemary and I, along with a few others, had a tour of the BBOWT wetlands nature reserve at Gallows Bridge. This is one wetland reserve of many they own on the Upper River Ray. Gallows Bridge has the Tetchwick Brook flowing through it which is a tributary of the Ray, joining the Ray at Three Way Meadows. Tetchwick Brook should be well known to readers of this blog, as the river (stream, ditch) over which we have a tug of war over.
The morning was misty, not ideal for photography. The warden explained the type of management the reserve received, and why. Interestingly we heard how some of the land had been ploughed years ago with a technique called ridge and furrow which causes long ridges to form in the fields which remain today and are now protected. Many of the nesting wetland birds are predated by animals, mink and fox being the main culprits. An effort is made before the breeding season to trap and kill the mink, and reduce the number of foxes in the area. The trap at this time of year contained a mud pad which was used to estimate the number of river mammals living in the area. Paw prints of Mink and Otter could be seen.
BBOWT had been creating a number of ponds and scrapes to keep water on the site over the summer season, providing feeding areas for Snipe, Lapwing and Curlew . Grass has to be managed in several ways allowing for short and long grass to suit different species of bird. The reserve is also a habitat for Short Eared Owls, Barn Owls, Hobby and Kingfishers. After the tour we stayed in the hides for a while in the hope of seeing the Kingfisher. Alas we didn’t, just saw a few LBJs.
Rosemary and I visited Valerie and Norman in Leicester along with Maggie and Ravi on the 27th September 2014 to visit King Richard III. We looked around the recently opened exhibition, saw where Richard III had been excavated from under the car park. Drank a few beers in the local pubs, and even joined BBOWT at a Sunday Market. Great time was had, lots of lovely food.
We took a trip down to Hill Head to have a look around Rosemary’s parents’ old retirement stomping ground. We watched the Oystercatchers, Turnstones and gulls feeding at low tide. Interesting watching the gulls dropping shellfish onto the stones in the hope they would break open. Tricky business as other birds were ready to pick up the remains.
Walked on over to the Osborne View for lunch. Ate outside in the searing heat. The place has much improved over the last few years.
Next we walked around the Titchfield Haven Nature Reserve, owned by Hampshire County Council. We walked the east side visiting all the hides. These are all relatively new, built in the last 10 years. Herons and duck were on display. There was excitement in the last hide when long yellow tailed tits or something like that were spotted.
Finally tea at the Haven cafe, and a final view of a hovercraft being tested.