Sunday, 30 November 2014


My old buddy Stephen Carter came over today to help me put up a couple of owl boxes that my brother had made for me ages ago. So I think it was about time that they went up and the autumn although coming to a close is the best time (I think) to site owl boxes. Although quite a nice day it was a bit of a struggle getting the first owl box to it's tree with all the steep boggy ground we had to walk across whilst carrying the ladders and tools. The battens on the box to fix it to the tree were horizontal and we had no end of trouble trying to securing it and Luke (my middle step son) and I had to go back later with some more wood to fasten it tight, so hopefully the job is now done. Quick tip - if you put battens on an owl box put them on vertically!! 

Stephen Carter fastening the owl box

give us a smile Steve

the owl box up with extra wedges and battens
Lets hope that we get some success in this box like we had with my other box we put up a couple of years ago where a pair of Tawny owls successfully raised 1 chick

tawny owl chick from earlier in the year

I should have prepared better for the second box it needs a lot of modifications for us to successfully site it on an old concrete lampost so will have to wait now for a week or two until the work on it is done. I'm pretty pleased we got the one up though, a good mornings work and a massive thanks to Steve and Luke for their help cheers lads.

Monday, 24 November 2014


Been out this morning trying to photograph some winter thrushes that land in a berry tree near to where I live they were very skittish and I had to sit still in my Jeep for about half hour before they would land in the tree to feed. The images are not great but it was nice sit and watch and try to photograph these winter visitors from the north and east of Europe.

the Redwing

The fieldfare
both species together

think this was the best of the bunch

this female blackbird was enjoying the berries
Another winter migrant I managed to spot and get a quick shot of was this female Brambling.

Female Brambling
Nice couple of hours spent with these birds on one of the first frosty mornings of the winter so far. It was difficult trying to get decent images through all them twigs and branches, but I will be trying again (hopefully) and get some better images.

Saturday, 15 November 2014


Here's a quick update on Bertie the young buzzard we found with a broken wing a few weeks back.

Malcolm with Bertie after we had delivered him to the sanctuary  

We popped into the bird of prey and owl sanctuary today to ask about Bertie it was also a good excuse to have a look at the owls and raptors on show there. The place was very busy with lots of visitors which is good for business. I managed to have a word with Malcolm (he's the bloke that runs the place) and he gave me the great news that the vet had actually fixed Bertie's wing and Malcolm had set him free after fattening him up for a week or two to give him the best possible chance of survival.

lets hope our Bertie makes it
Lets hope he makes it and is able to fly free like this one I photographed earlier in the year, GOOD LUCK BERTIE!

Monday, 10 November 2014


Just before it got dark today I had a quick check of my feeders and couldn't believe my eyes to see a Goldfinch trapped inside my nyger seed tube feeder. The poor thing was trying desperately to get out but couldn't get a grip on the shiny plastic that the tube feeder is made of. The wind had blown the top off the feeder so that there was a big enough gap at the top for the bird to get in.

Goldfinch stuck in the feeder

the wind had blown the top up so the bird could get in
  A quick rescue mission and the goldie was flying free. 

looking better than it did in the feeder.
Lucky that I had checked the feeders otherwise I don't think it would have survived the night.

Sunday, 2 November 2014


We've had massive flocks of Woodpigeons around the farm over the last couple of weeks my guess is our native birds have been joined by other pigeons from the north but at the moment they don't seem to be dispersing or moving on just flying, feeding and perching on mass around this area. It is though quite an impressive sight especially when they all take off they virtually fill the sky.


drifting around the trees

filling up the sky

I should imagine the local raptors must think that Christmas has come early.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014


I KNOW I KNOW, where the hell have I been. Well the answer to that is no where really there hasn't been that much to blog about and although I've taken a few bird images throughout the summer there hasn't been anything out of the ordinary that hasn't been seen before.
So because I've neglected my blogging responsibilities for so long thought I'd share an incident that happened a couple of weeks ago.
Whilst going for my usual walk with the youngest Aneurin and Jack (that's our jack russell dog)  Jack flushed a Buzzard from some undergrowth on a banking, the bird was a juvenile from one of this years pairs we have nesting up here. The bird was very distressed and couldn't fly and by the way it was holding it's wing it looked as though it had somehow managed to break it. The buzzard lay still looking at us eyes wide open I expect terrified.

young buzzard with it's broken wing
I had nothing on me to cover the bird with so I could capture it and didn't want to distress the bird any more than was necessary and also didn't fancy having buzzard talons stuck in my hands, so a quick phone call to the wife and she came to the rescue with her jeep a box and a blanket as well as  the rest of the boys in tow.
We soon had it wrapped in the blanket and put in the box and kept it warm and quiet over night whilst we phoned around trying to find out where to take it so it hopefully could be saved.

Bertie the buzzard as the boys had named him, quiet in it's box

We've got an Owl sanctuary and bird of prey centre near where we live and after talking to the owner whose a very nice bloke called Malcolm we decided to take it over there to him. He told us that because Buzzards are now a common bird of prey a vet would more than likely put the bird to sleep than try to fix it's wing because it would be expensive treatment for a bird that is wild.

Malcolm with Bertie the young buzzard 

We left Bertie with Malcolm for a few days to see how he faired. The good news is that Malcolm decided to keep Bertie as one of his collection so at least we know that he will be well looked after. Malcolm's Owl and bird of prey centre is situated at the Garden festival site in Ebbw Vale south Wales. He has quite a variety of raptors on show which have either been injured like our Bertie or have been kept as pets that people no longer wants or can't look after. It's free of charge to enter and if you do decide to visit please give a small donation or buy something from his small gift shop it all helps to keep this fascinating place open.

Sunday, 1 June 2014


GOS (Gwent ornithological society) and BTO (British trust for ornithology) conservationist Stephen Carter (a name I may have mentioned before) paid me a visit yesterday to find some nests and check on the nest boxes. We had blue and great tit nests in a few boxes and all doing well except for one great tit nest that had failed. The eggs had hatched but the wet weather we recently had as either stopped the adults from feeding or water had got into the box and chilled the chicks, either way it was sad and disappointing.
We had nuthatches in a box that has recently fledged and we've also got four different pair of redstarts with Steve finding the fourth nest whilst we were out checking the boxes.

redstart nest with seven eggs

male redstart

Whilst we were out and about Steve also told me about a wood he goes to where he stumbled upon this mallards nest a first for him and he sent me the pic so here it is:-

mallard nest a first for Steve

Also another first for him was this Lesser Redpole nest:-

lesser redpole nest found and photographed by Stephen Carter

Two of the redstart nests had chicks in that were ready for ringing (their legs not their necks) so I stood by whilst Mr Carter did his stuff.

Steve starts to ring the chicks

another one done, what a cutey.

look at the concentration

the last one gets it's ring, look at all that gear.

they all safely put  back into the nest box 

Later we had a scout around for any new nests, Steve found this Linnet nest:-

linnet nest

He also found a blackbirds nest and a Wren building. We watched a male reed bunting singing away and spotted the female but we couldn't locate where the nest was. There were also a Stonechat with its chicks, which was also frustrating that Steve didn't find the nest as they must have nested somewhere near by. 
We did notice this baby frog crawling through the grass we put him back down so it could carry on it's journey:-

 Not a bad afternoon though and great to see most of the birds that's using the boxes being pretty successful except alas for our one great tit.

We've also had quite a few rabbits about the place and by the way our black and white bloodhound Jack has been going berserk about the place I think there may be a warren close by. There could be one by my feeders remember the hole near the feeding station? Well this cheeky bleeder came out of another hole close by and stayed for a while.

cheeky rabbit

they are cute
he looks the part but hasn't caught one yet
 Big thanks to Steve once again for his company, think there's a few more twists as quite a few of the birds are going into second clutches, will Steve find them? watch this space.


                                                                                                                                                          We're well into the breeding season now and that means nests, eggs, chicks and  juvenile's. Roving BTO nest finder Steve Carter has been over to the farm and found a few nests as well as checking on our nest box colony which up til now (touch wood) has been quit successful. Lee Parsons also has been over on a couple of occasions and found Steve a meadow pipits nest and has also took some nice photographs of some of the nests. 

First our Tawny owl, only one chick reared but it has successfully fledged.

Tawny owlet
Here's some of the nests that Steve and Lee has found.


meadow pipit


song thrush chicks
pied wagtail sitting tight, this nest was a success with all the chicks fledging 


Some of the birds,


great tit

great spotted woodpecker

blue tit

female redstart

female blackbird

male blackbird

female linnet

male redstart


coal tit
pied wagtail

male reed bunting

male siskin


male chaffinch
The pied wagtails have already fledged so have the nuthatches and the Blackbirds that I had nesting in one of my new boxes I added to the colony this year.