Sunday 5 June 2011

Cygnets and Sparrows

Not posted in a while, due to work, Uni and other problems. However, I'm back.

This spring has been one of the driest in record, with no significant rainfall in the south for months. Bank holiday Monday was the first wet day we'd had in a while and as such I couldn't get out to take any photos. I decided to stay in and take some shots of birds on the feeders.

House Sparrow

At the moment my front garden and feeding station is inundated with these little guys, its not unusual for us to have 20+ in the garden at one time. Took this one as they were waiting on top of the feeding pole, looking a bit dishevelled.

This male House Sparrow wasn't very happy that the kids were hanging around on his feeder so kept chasing them off.

Me and a friend have been following the lives of a pair of Mute swans on our local ponds for a few years. This year the female laid from what we have heard 5 eggs, of which 2 were either stolen or were subject to predation. We aren't sure how true this is because we have only ever seen 3 eggs but it is quite likely that they did have more, this family was subject to egg theft a few years back when the whole clutch was stolen.

Anyway the eggs were laid around the end of March and the first one hatched on Friday 27/05/11, the second the next day and the 3rd was not long after.

Here's a photo from the Saturday morning when I went down at 6 am, after 2 hours of sitting in the cold the little one finally poked its head out.

On the Sunday evening I went down again and this time after an hour and half the female stood up and decided to take the cygnets out for (what we think is) their first swim. I managed to catch a short video of the moment. 

Thursday 19 August 2010

Soudley ponds and cannop ponds (again)

Soudley ponds

Nice shaped piece of wood

Robin -favourite picture of the day


Mallard Duckling

Sunday 15 August 2010

Cyril Hart arboretum and Cannop Ponds.

We went to Cyril Hart arboretum nr Speech House on thursday. There is over 200 species of tree there some of which were pretty cool. We also took a walk along to Speech house lake, which unlike the last time we visited was eerily quiet, hopefully awaiting its winter migrants. 

Coal tit and sparrow 

Blue tit


Coal tit


After the arboretum we decided to go check on the Mute swan family at Cannop ponds. We were greeted again by the Little Grebes and this time I managed to get a semi decent shot.

Adult Little Grebe

The Mute swan cob was still chasing ducklings and at one point separated a family of Mallards, with a couple of babies being trapped in the reeds near us.

Mute swan pen after ducking down and stirring the sludge on the bottom up in the hopes of finding a meal.

The cygnets were all flapping and simulating take off's on the water so I don't think it will be long before they leave. 

Saturday 7 August 2010



Speckled wood

Small white with damaged wings

Female Emerald Damselfly?

Thursday 5 August 2010

Birds of the day!

Went to Cannop Ponds and Woorgreen lake today with Katie from life in the forest. We were both pleased to see the Mute swan family doing so well this year. They have managed to raise all 7 of their cygnets which originally hatched without losing any. 

Sleepy Cygnet


"I have my eye on you"

Focusing on the one in front and the one in back does something interesting, typical.

Dad. Cob Mute swan. He was still being very vigilant and was always aware of what was going on around him. At one point a mother and two toddlers came up to them and she told the kids not to look at him or he would attack them. Not sure what she on about to be honest but made us both laugh.

Dad having a preen

Mum. Pen having a doze

A first for both of us Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)

Little grebe juvenile 

Thursday 15 July 2010

woodland stroll

Went out for a quick stroll through the woods after having seen a doe and fawn several times over the last week or so. Alas they didn't appear today but did get a few other interesting shots. First off I spotted this guy staking out a field in the search for food on the way back from Monmouth.


Photo showing how important 'weeds' such as this ragwort are, you can see 5 insects of four different species on this one plant. 

Cinnabar Moth caterpillar 

Hover fly on Ragwort