Thursday, March 28, 2024


 What an awful week this has been. I wont be going into details on a public web page but last Friday a close friend and neighbour of ours passed away suddenly at work. A fit, active and positive soul. There are various ongoing investigations so we are doing all we can to support his wife, but it all feels so helpless.

Things like this, and in times of dark, wet days cant help but make even the most optimistic of people, lack motivation to do much. I'm pleased its Bank Holiday approaching just so we can sit at home and not have to do anything like work.

On the wildlife front, a couple of bits seen on my 'several times daily' dog walks include the burn Water Rail in a brief period of low water in the stream. That lasted all of one day before rain flooded it out again. The first one I've seen this year.

A female Barn Owl has been by our house a few times in the last week or so. I'm not sure where she has come from or what has happened to bring about this change but its over a year since Barn Owls regularly did this here.

A Brambling has been in the finch flock along the lane still and a new patch and garden year addition  appeared last week when I heard Red legged Partridge calling from the back field while I was in the loo! Later on the bird could be seen from our kitchen window. Always a tricky bird on my patch.

This takes the Garden Year List to 60, with Linnet still adrift.

Siskins are now coming to our feeders so hopes are that they will bring a passing Mealy or a Brambling with them too... 



Wednesday, March 20, 2024


 Over the last couple of weeks the weather has improved a little, but thats just a brief interlude as things are due to get colder from tomorrow again. What we would give for a  proper dry spell to get the ground firmed up a bit.

So, whats been going on here?

On 3rd we had a walk at Kimmer Lough, not a place we visit very often these days but its only about 10 miles from home on the edge of the moors. A few Lesser black backed Gulls were making their way inland via some grassy fields here. In around them were 20+ Fieldfares and a few Redwings. A patch of Bog Myrtle is not a common site in our area so I took a shot of its attractive copper burnished buds.

Bog Myrtle buds.

From here we checked out a woodland site for Goshawks without any luck. Most of our forest areas have been chopped after Storm Arwen flattened swathes of them. This must move Gos out of the area?

We managed 3 Woodcock, 21 Lesser Redpolls, several singing Crossbills and Siskins and a couple of Buzzards.

Clearfell looks great for future generations of Nightjars and for inverts in summer.

At home the local village Chaffinch flock increased up to 120 birds with a female Brambling, a few Yellowhammers and 50+ Linnets in there. On 11th I bumped into the Marsh Tit again not far from my last sighting. Its many years since Ive had more than a single view in a year.

Marsh Tit, Howick arboretum.

The garden list is trickling along with a few new additions. Canada Goose and Moorhen were heard only but Whooper Swans heading North, Mallard, Stock Dove, Chiffchaffs, Grey Heron, Barn owl, Greenfinch and Meadow Pipit brought the total to 59 so far.

Last week my first butterflies of the year, a couple of Peacocks were good to see and this weekend Bumblebee numbers are starting to increase.

On Sunday a Hedgehog was at our bird feeders, a surprise after a dearth of sightings last year. It might be company for our rescue inmate who will be released in April having gone up from a starving 250 gms in November to an elephantine 950 gms last week! 

On Monday a calling Redpoll low south along the coast path was large and pale enough to go down as a Mealy, my first here for a while. Today, the first cliff nesting Kittiwakes arrived on patch with a vocal 27 birds on the sea close in.