Saturday, November 20, 2010

It's been a while

True to the title, it has indeed been a while. We've not been entirely lazy though. Last weekend we did a (rather daft) visit to the WWT at Slimbridge on Saturday morning, arriving at opening time. The trip was prompted by the promised sunshine and hoped for migrant swans and/or geese. We didn't in fact see too many of these, however the sunshine did show-up so that was something!

The Chilean Flamingos were already out:



Their reflection provided a romantic back-drop for these displaying Crested Ducks (also natives of South America):



I don't know if this Goosander is a captive or a wild visitor:




One new guest of the WWT is this family of Otters:



Photographing them proved tricky as they are enclosed in a tall glass pen, which of course is very hard to photograph through. Cue standing on a nearby bench and trying to shoot over the glass, which actually meant it was too high to sight through the lens, still a reasonable snap so worth the effort. Apparently the WWT took these animals in as the previous 'owners' were unable to keep them and no-one else would take them.

Every time we walked past the glass the Otters would swim out and then under the path before re-emerging. I think it's their game. Hugely cute and great that they are making a comeback across the country.

As well as the above mad-dash, we've been getting the garden set for winter, so taking delivery of more tree-chippings (next Spring's mulch); gathering leaves for leaf-mulch (two years to mature) and generally getting everything tidied-up. The next job is to have the hedge lain-down, which we'll do in January when it's fully dormant. That should give us, in three or four years time, a very dense, productive and secure natural border to the house.

We do have new visitors to the garden, this year, including a Marsh Tit:



Various members of the Northants Bird Club suspected Marsh Tit rather than Willow Tit, this was confirmed when we heard it shouting at us when topping up the feed one lunchtime!

Already regulars for the winter, Long-tailed Tits:





Great Tit:



Blue Tit:


We do also get visits from the occasional Coal Tit but I've not yet caught one on camera. All the birds are nervous, due to the daily visits from the local Sparrowhawks, we see three different birds a day, including this juvenile:


From time to time we get buzzed by a Kestrel too:



Something killed our garden mole, we found it dead on the lawn a couple of weekends back, possibly a neighbour laying poison, as the animal looked unharmed. On the positive side, we do have a new group of mice moved in, so hopefully they'll attract back the Little Owl or Tawny Owl...

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