Archive for the birds Category

Spring at Butts Piece

Posted in "Butts Piece", birds, oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife with tags , , on 21 March 2017 by bramblejungle

Moth-eaten comfrey

The scarlet tigers have started early: not many caterpillars are visible just after a shower, but the comfrey is already looking distinctly moth-eaten
Scarlet tiger moth caterpillar
There is frogspawn in the nearby brook: with luck the frogs will help to keep slugs down on the allotments
Frogspawn in the brook

but (not so good for the allotments) there are plenty of rabbits Rabbit at Butts Piece
This buzzard may help
Watching the rabbit

Garden Birdwatch 2017

Posted in birds, garden, oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife with tags on 29 January 2017 by bramblejungle

Big Garden Birdwatch 2017

Another RSPB annual birdwatch, and no major changes here despite periods of abnormally cold/wet/dry weather  (click the graph for full view in Flickr). Sadly there’s no sign of waxwings, and the woodpecker that’s been visiting almost daily since October has presumably found better things to do as Spring approaches.

Still here

Luckily the local sparrowhawk didn’t appear during the count.

Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)

A bad year for butterflies

Posted in "red kite", birds, garden, insects, oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife with tags , , , on 19 August 2016 by bramblejungle

The wettest June recently recorded has been followed locally by low numbers of butterflies, especially small tortoiseshell and peacock. Butterfly Conservation will have a better view of the national picture when they collate the results of the annual count.

Ringlets seem to be an exception, and were doing well in early July

Ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus)

Later there were marbled whites on their usual nectar sources (knapweed and thistles)

Marbled White (Melanargia galathea)

There have been one or two red admirals

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

and the occasional peacock, but not the usual numbers.

Peacock (Aglais io)

It’s not all bad news: garden birds have been breeding well, the starling colony is still here, and the skies have been full of swifts, house martins and swallows

Swallow (Hirundo rustica)

Red kites are thriving
Red kite (Milvus milvus)

and ravens – once confined to the western fringes of the UK because of persecution and perhaps pesticides – have made a welcome return.

Raven (Corvus corax)

How many starlings can you get in a bird-bath?

Posted in birds, garden, oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife with tags , , on 4 July 2016 by bramblejungle

Starlings

This group of mostly juvenile starlings have been regularly bathing and drinking here for some time now, with so much splashing that I need to use a hose to keep re-filling the bird-bath from a nearby water butt.  They obviously need water, but I’m not sure why they prefer a crowded dustbin lid to any other local source.

Kestrel

Posted in "Butts Piece", birds, flight, oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife with tags , , , on 24 January 2016 by bramblejungle

I was lucky to see a kestrel hunting from an electricity pole:

Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)

Flying and stooping from height (click the images for the full picture)
Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)

Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)

and hovering low (though I didn’t see a successful hunt)

Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)

Not much of a summer…

Posted in "Butts Piece", birds, goldfinch, oxfordshire, photography, wildlife with tags , , , on 17 September 2015 by bramblejungle

…with rubbish weather (remember the August bank holiday?) and smaller numbers of butterflies than usual

Green-veined White (Pieris napi)
Big Butterfly Count part 1
Big Butterfly Count part 2 - Butts Piece
Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus), f.

but breeding conditions for garden birds (blackbirds, robins etc) seem to have been good, and the local goldfinches are thriving.
Goldfinches

On a sunny September day, a late red admiral may be a good sign:
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
We’ll have to see what Autumn brings. More rain, probably.

Winter Blackcaps

Posted in birds, garden, oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife with tags , , on 5 February 2015 by bramblejungle

Recent research has revealed that, while blackcaps seen in the UK in the summer migrate south for the winter, others, after spending the summer in central Europe, head for British bird-tables in the winter. These two – on or near garden feeders – will probably return northwards to breed.
Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla), m.Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla), f.

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