22 November 2012

Urban Foxes - the return

We've been lucky enough to have foxy visitors to our garden since we moved to our new house in urban Coventry just over a year ago.

Three individuals came for their nightly feeding, in front of our infrared trail camera, all through last winter and spring. We stopped feeding them in the summer months, better for all concerned if they chase rats and rabbits when they are at their peak numbers.....

A few days ago a cat took out one of our resident woodpigeons, leaving the majority of the carcass behnd. That night the carcass vanished, leaving neatly snipped off wings behind - classic fox behaviour. The next night even the wings were taken - extremely hungry fox behaviour.

Yesterday we came home to find one of the red devils sitting in the garden in broad daylight having a scratch, a rare daylight sighting for our garden...so the feeding starts again.

Last night we put out the usual dog food, and attracted a pair, capturing IR video as they fed.

Now, 24 hours later, as I am writing this, I keep looking up to our monitors to see the pair tucking to their pasta and minced beef meal....

Enjoy.....and you're welcome.....:-)

I'll post some video and stills to,our Flickr site later - probably.

12 June 2012

Nocturnal Visitors

We are lucky, at least for the present, to live in a part of Coventry that is teeming with wildlife. We have lived on our little drive for the past year, and in that time have established feeders that have attracted some 28 species of birds and mammals - such is the power of the peanut :-)

We now nightly put out a combination of peanuts and catfood - an odd combination you may say, but just look what it brings to the garden......An utter delight for us.

The video is shot automatically in infra-red using a Bushnell "Trail-Cam"

In addition to the two foxes in this short clip a hedgehog also puts in a nightly appearance, although it does make itself scarce when the predators are around.

NB:- the small square icon in the bottom right of the vid will enable full screen viewing.

7 June 2012

Arundel Wildfowl and Wetland Trust Site.

For several months we have been trying to visit Arundel WWT centre, for health  and other reasons we have only just managed this one off journey……

Why Arundel? Well, as members of the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust  we have the right of free access to the 9 sites of the Trust – and we want to make best use of our membership.

Also Arundel has a few delights that we have not seen in the other locations we have visited over the years, namely: Harlequin and  Common Scoter as well as the delightful Long Tailed Duck, and the enigmatic Water Voles…. there are, of course other species we have not seen in other locations, and the reserve abounds with many species from all over the world, as well as large numbers of wild birds, who opportunistically make good use of the facilities…..

Click for gallery of images from the slideshow.

Seri has written a little about the actual trip, so I won’t replicate her writings – you can find her blog entry here. The day was exceptionally hot, and many species were keeping out of sight, but it was still an interesting and worthwhile effort to get there.

All I will say further is that the place is a delight, Water Voles for all their relative rarity are easily seen. There is a free guided boat trip, which is short but reasonably informative, and it is certainly worth a visit……

We shall not go again, the only reason being the distance from home……Have a look at Seri’s blog – as usual she’s nicked my photos, but that, as she tells me, is what marriage is about LOL

8 May 2012

RSPB Bempton Cliffs 2012.

And so we make our annual pilgrimage to Bempton Cliffs – only one trip this year as opposed to our usual two, body cannot cope with any more at the moment, but that’s life.

We got to the reserve about 1pm(ish) which in itself was something of a relief after some prat in a transit van deliberately tried to run us off the motorway (twice) before he noticed that our car  has a camera fitted in the windscreen, at which point he left at high speed….. What an arsehole….

Anyway to Bempton – the usual welcome in the carpark, lots of Jackdaws looking for lunch, cars everywhere and lots and lots of people, all looking excited and ready for the “action”.

The Tree Sparrows nesting, as is their custom, in the roof of the visitor centre are a delight and always provide our first photo opportunity. A male on the roof spotted a feather flying past in the wind – of which there was voluminous quantities – chased it deftly, and with immense aerial skill, before catching it in mid-air and returning it to his nest.

The visitor centre, heaving with people, is always difficult to get through – for some reason the guides seem to congregate by the single access point to the reserve, causing a traffic jam LOL but they are all volunteers and generally do a good job, so no complaints :-)

A walk to the cliff face in a stiff breeze, turn right and off we go looking for the natives. Mostly Gannet in evidence today, and strangely they are flying in small groups. We have arrived a little early in the season this year it seems, they are not all paired up and ready to raise their young just yet….

Lots of Kittiwake the delightful and very beautiful onomatopoeic gull breed which is present at Bempton in large number for breeding. If photographing them try to get one mid-call, the inside of their mouths is a very beautiful orange-red colour, as is the case with many of the seabird species. It just adds a bit to your shots :-)

The usual Guillemot and Razorbill are also on the cliffs, although there are not as many as we usually see. As I said above, we seem to be a week or so early this year. Herring Gull are also about, doing their opportunistic best…… as are the rock doves, Jackdaw and crows. A chance view of one of the Guillemot’s very beautifully coloured (powder blue) eggs was something of a bonus, not seen one before.

There is a lot going on…..

There are usually very few Puffins to be found at Bempton, indeed in three years we have only previously seen two. This year we seemed to bump into them almost at every turn, still not many of the little clown faced fishers, but I think the relatively fewer numbers of the other species makes the puffin easier to see.

Star of the day, one of the Puffin decided he wanted to check out the photographers at the top of the cliff face – so he expertly used the high wind speed to rotate his way upwards. Such a joy to watch, to get photographs all the better…..To do so with an ancient Nikon DSLR – amazing LOL

Click the slideshow for gallery

So cliff face walked – thousands of shots in camera and we go back to the carpark – Meadow Pipits flying at lets say a nominal 15mph into a matched headwind of 15 mph meant one was flying full pelt and yet hovering in front of our faces, what an opportunity……..

Our final view is always of the feeding station, just off the main carpark at Bempton – the usual mix of Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Collared Dove, Jackdaw, Tree Sparrow and then we see a few flashes of colour – Linnet, Brambling and Yellowhammer are there too….. Delightful.

Our first ever views of a Brambling, and our second of Yellowhammer.

What a great day – long drive home, and no-one tried to kill us……Worth the trip.

If you get the opportunity, GO……

16 April 2012


Due to continuing and long term illness we don’t get to take conventional holidays. Instead we try our hardest to use whatever “good days” that may happen along in our random lives (anyone with such illness/disability will know what I mean). To that end we go on day trips, over the years we’ve found quite a few places we like :-)

So this weekend, I was in a “good day” from which we managed a half day in Norfolk at the excellent, if somewhat expensive to access, Pensthorpe Nature Reserve.

Home to the usual collection of exotic and rare wildfowl, most of the species list is replicated in the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust sites – of which we are members, but there are a few gems which we have not found in captive breeding at any other site which we visit.

The Pensthorpe Nature Reserve is a great place to visit – and we would suggest it to anyone who loves to get out in nature – yes many of the species are captive bred, but frankly who cares – the enclosures are spacious and promote natural behaviour……

Anyway – the slideshow below gives a taste of the reserve’s content. Hope you like it.

If you’re not sure what the individual species are please feel free to ask……..

31 March 2012

Time out

Time away from the house, at long last :-) life has its ups and downs – at present things health-wise are reasonably OK – so we go out and have a bit of time away…..

This month we’ve managed trips back home to Wales, and half a day in Gloucestershire at the wonderful Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetland Trust site. The following slideshow is a mix of shots from our Home and Garden, Slimbridge, Brandon Marsh Nature Reserve and Nant yr Arian.

Hope you like it…..

21 March 2012

Long Days at Home–mostly….


As the dark days of winter are slowly coming to a close we are hopeful that health issues will begin to subside, and life can return to a more normal state. Hopeful, but not wholly optimistic at the moment…… We are both, in the main, quite optimistic people, so we’ll get there eventually.

Anyway, for the moment it’s still pretty much a case of sticking the cameras out of the bedroom window and seeing what delights are in evidence. Also making the odd trip to Brandon Marsh – but trips are few and far between.

Enough for now – have to go look out the windows again – wouldn’t want to miss anything  :-)

8 March 2012

A few recent images

I’ve been rather unwell recently, and we have not really been too far from home – no big deal, its been going on for a number of years, but it is highly disruptive……

Anyway, here are a few images we shot in the past couple of months, just to keep the blog ticking over, so to speak……

Photography, more particularly wildlife photography,  is a great hobby when you are long term ill, keeps the mind occupied, and, when possible, gives one a means of gaining some much needed exercise, in a gentle and constrained form.

Anyway, hope you like the images.