Wednesday, 30 January 2008

BTO Atlas tetrad at Mells

The forecast looked good, so it seemed a perfect day to do one of my late winter BTO Atlas tetrads. See . The early winter surveys had to be done in Nov/Dec and the late winter ones need to be done in Jan/Feb.
This particular tetrad is in and around the village of Mells in Somerset, just a few miles from my home in Frome. The habitats I covered today included Mells Stream with adjacent deciduous woodland, Mells Village and surrounding farmland.

The stream and woodland were pretty quiet. There were plenty of Wood Pigeons and noisy Jackdaws, but only small numbers of Tits and a general lack of woodland species made for a slightly disappointing walk along here. I did have a few Redwings feeding on Ivy berries which is always nice to see.

The farmland section of the tetrad was also quiet, but I did have 40+ Fieldfares in the field just to the right on the photo above. I also had a flock of around 50 Skylarks and 8 Lapwings feeding in stubble fields. One slightly unexpected sighting was a pair of Bullfinches in these stubble fields, well away from their usual habitat of parkland or gardens. Despite it being quiet birdwise, it was a lovely day to be out and about!

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Dan Dan the Ringing Man.

Today the weather relented enough for me to visit a friend of mine, Dan Lupton who rings birds for the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology).

He was ringing from his garden on this occasion. There was a nice mix of birds including Blue Tit, Siskin, Robin and Lesser Redpoll. The Blue Tit was a feisty character! (-:

Mum's Garden

Last week I went up for my fortnightly stint of gardening for my Mum. She lives in the village of Colesbourne up in the Cotswolds. She has 1.2 acres of very wildlife friendly garden which slopes down to the River Churn.

It's a lovely part of the country with plenty to keep me enthusiastic as to what I might see there. On this occasion, whilst digging over the vegetable plot, I had a Tawny Owl calling, a Mistle Thrush singing at full throttle, Siskins overhead with their mounful call and a Sparrowhawk being mobbed by the local pair of Kestrels. She also gets some great birds on her feeders!

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Reflection at Rodden Nature Reserve

Yes! The first glimpse of sunshine for days this morning! What a real lift to the spirits. I decided to get out before breakfast to have a walk around Rodden Nature Reserve.
This is a relatively new Reserve which is being managed for Asda by Frome Area Wildlife Group (FAWG). It was designed both as a flood amelioration scheme and Nature Reserve when Asda built their supermarket there 2 or 3 years ago. There are two freshwater areas with wet meadow and pasture. The River Frome also runs along the western side of the Reserve and Rodden Brook along the north side. There is a website currently being built for the Reserve which I will try and link with when it is up and running which will give alot more detail including species lists.
Here is a photo I took this morning in lovely light showing the Mill which is occupied. Otter has been seen along this stretch of the River Frome. In March 2006 several excellent birds were seen on the Reserve including Bonaparte's Gull, a pair of Garganey and Jack Snipe.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

In amongst the cattle

I was hoping to get out this morning to photograph a friend who was ringing birds in Frome. Unfortunately the weather didn't cooperate with a gusty wind and drizzly rain. Hopefully we'll try again soon.

In the meantime, there's a local Cattle Egret overwintering just 5 miles from Frome so I decided to go along and see if I could get some photos. I found it in the expected field with half a dozen cows for company. It was quite happily feeding and didn't seem to mind me clicking away. It would have been nice to get a bit closer, but I guess a photographer is nearly always going to wish that!

Saturday, 19 January 2008


Well, here it is at last (better late than never).....I promised myself that at the beginning of 2008 I would start a blog so that my thoughts and photographs and curiousity about birds and nature in general would be available to all in the blogging ether.

It's kind of difficult to know how to start when the weather here in southwest Britain so far this year has been sooooo dreary, drizzly and damp. So, I decided to raid my store of lush, warm summer photographs and post one of those to help anticipate the spring and summer to come........that's the theory anyway!

Last year, this Silver-washed Fritillary posed beautifully on a thistle at East Woodlands, near Longleat, just 10 minutes from home.
Future posts will be about the birds and nature that I find at my home in Somerset, also at our local Rodden Nature Reserve just five minutes up the road and at my Mum's home in The Cotswolds where I do her gardening once a fortnight. The odd birding trip will probably make it onto here too!
I hope you enjoy looking at this blog as much as I will enjoy creating it.