Friday 6 April 2012

Twitching and Washing Up

I got to see the Purple Heron on the Otter Estuary yesterday morning, It was Bun's and my second attempt and on this occasion we timed it perfectly because as we arrived at the second field north of White Bridge Bun (who hadn't got his bins out yet) said  " What's that there under those trees?"  I nonchalantly lifted my bins expecting the dark blob to be a Pheasant and shrieked (allegedly)) " It's it. It's the Purple Heron"  It was just sitting ( well, crouching) there in the open. By the time I'd set up my scope it had walked down into a ditch. Over the next couple of hours we saw it about a dozen times but each time only briefly as it walked in and out of the ditch. It was never in view long enough to digiscope it, which was a bit disappointing, but still a cracking bird and a lifer for me after having missed the one on patch last year by about five minutes.

More twitching in the afternoon but this time on patch. When I received Steve's text about a Redstart at the Borrow Pit on Seaton Marshes, I decided to go and have a look, after all it would be my first Redstart of the year (which is always pretty special) and  from my new house it's only a three minute walk. When I got there Gav was already watching it, well until I turned up that is... I think I probably flushed it! It soon returned though and what I hadn't known is that it was a stunning male. If I had known that I'd have brought my scope and tried to get a digiscoped photo. Still, I did have my super-zoom and had a stab at one with that instead, even though the gloomy conditions were against it somewhat. I saw my first Willow Warblers of the spring too but  I haven't heard one singing yet which is another special moment every spring, I think.

Washing up....No one likes that do they? Well ever since I've moved to the new house I can't get enough of it! We have a nice shiny new built in dishwasher which has been turned on twice in the three months we've lived here, the pots just never get that far. In the old house they used to stagnate for days sometimes ( I'm rather ashamed to say) and then always ended up in the dishwasher. Why my sudden love of washing up? No, not mental illness's this....

This is the view from my kitchen sink, so much better than the fence and wall I could see from my last one complete with assorted wildlife. The massive shrubbery in the distance is Rhododendron and I'm really looking forward to seeing it in bloom later in the year. Should be great for attracting moths too! Don't ask about the two stupid conifers in the foreground, what a waste of space! They would be the first thing to go if we actually owned the house, which sadly, very sadly we don't. They have been likened to the lawn having a couple of comedy breasts! I use them as bird feeders by sprinkling them with seed which smaller birds can tuck into by walking about on them.

The garden doesn't end at the shrubbery behind it there's this...

A  much more informal area which I reckon is going to be great for wildlife. During the warm weather last week there were a couple of male Speckled Woods holding territories here. There are three Squirrel's dreys in the large ash trees to the left ( visible in the first photo at the top of the garden) So I've had to invest in some stronger bird feeders. There is a mystery burrow in the bank too....

I haven't seen any sign of the occupant but as you can see it's been blocked off by chicken wire in the past but this has been pushed aside, so I assume it is in use ( it's about 8 inches across).

Much as I loved my flock of Sparrows at the old house it's great to have a garden with a 
variety of birds in it. My best so far being Reed Buntings, not quite so welcome are the plague of Wood Pigeons which try and eat everything!  Probably the most unexpected visitors are these...

I see one or two on the lawn most mornings.

And you can imagine just how thrilled I was when we moved in and I noticed we had a resident pair of these on the roof...

Oh joy! ..
This is the male who polishes off all the bird seed even before the pigeons get it!
I just hope their offspring don't free fall onto the garden this summer.

One of  the three Squirrels that visit. 
Probably to multiply horribly come the summer!

Finally there was a quite lovely conjunction of Venus, Jupiter and the Moon on March 26th. You had to see it 'in person' so to speak to appreciate it properly but I took a snap of of it with my little compact digital camera which gives you some idea of it... not quite as nice as the December 2008 one which was low over the sea, but still very nice!


Anonymous said...

I had to laugh at that Herring Gull on the seed tray, Karen. It`s so out of proportion.

kirstallcreatures said...

Wow that's a decent view to keep you entertained while washing up, I did laugh at the oddly placed pair of conifers.

Karen Woolley said...

Thanks for comments folks!

Dean - Yes, he's very comical, usually involves much flapping and stumbling before he finally gets his balance.