Sunday, 29 May 2011

Video - a nuthatch hiding in and eating from our window feeder

We've had a pair of nuthatches using our window feeder intermittantly since the harsh early winter when they came out of the nearby woods to discover the bird food we've left out. At the moment, they are feeding their young and the feeder is getting hammered. In fact, I was just dropping a handful of sunflower seeds into the feeder when a nuthatch flew in. I don't know which of us had the greater shock, but the crows underneath got a few extra seeds as a result.

In this video, we see a nuthatch suddenly sit very still. What had happened was that a bluetit had arrived briefly on the telephone line (you might just catch it flying about early into the video) The nuthatch obviously had a glimpse but wasn't sure what was there, and sat stock still, not even daring to eat the sunflower seed in its beak. When the "danger" had apparently passed, it went back to feeding.

Apologies for the brief burst of laughter - we were watching River Cottage and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's cries of "yes yes yes", followed by the mooing of a cow were too much for my adolescent brain....

And here it is on one of the tree feeders.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Meet the Beetle (AKA "And I thought Ringo was a funny name...")

My attention was drawn to a large, slowly moving flying insect which hovered about for a while, and then settled on a nearby leaf. "Do we have cicadas in the UK?", I thought, then went to have a closer look. It was obviously a large, unusual beetle, so I took a few photos and then went home and checked Collins Guide to British Wildlife.

The beetle turned out to have the marvelously old rustic English name "Cockchafer". The guide says, "Adults seen in May and June, hence alternative name of May-Bug".

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Blue Tits feeding their young at Higher Hodder Bridge

Walking across Higher Hodder Bridge, I noticed a lot of activity from Blue Tits, and it soon became obvious that they were going into nests built inside cracks in the bridge itself. I thought at the time that what they had in their beaks was nesting material, which struck me as a bit odd, as they should have finished their nests a few weeks ago. It wasn't until I could look at the photographs back home that it was obvious that the blue tits had caught flies that they were feeding to their young.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

What's even more difficult to find than an otter?

An otter's skull!

As we were walking around the Applecross peninsula looking for otters, we wondered what happened to their remains after they died. We decided that a good proportion would be taken by the sea while others may just lay in holts that then become unused. Certainly it would be highly unlikely that humans ever came across the bones of an otter.

Of course, the very next day we found this otter skull about ten yards beyond a beach, no doubt washed up on a high tide. It had certainly been weathered and had lost the lower jaw, but most of its teeth were still present.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Goosander and young on the Ribble

We saw this Goosander resting with her young on a rock in the Ribble (just beyond where the Ribble and Hodder meet). It was a great place to keep an eye out for any predators, and as we'd seen a mink just 5 minutes previously, a choice that hopefully gave her young a sporting chance of survival.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Haring into Summer

We're well past "Mad March Hare" time, but the hares in the Ribble Valley are still very active. They might be a bit trickier to see because the grass has suddenly become long, green, and lush, but they seem very happy to run around and feed.