Monday, 1 June 2015


Below are two video's showing Stephen Carter ringing Meadow pipits and then Redstarts. The Meadow Pipits were ringed last weekend and the Redstarts this weekend. 
I edited out the background sound in the first video as I think Steve and his nesting buddy Anthony forgot that I was recording them and were effing and jeffing away so not to offend anyone I've muted their voices. The meadow pipits have now fledged so if they survive and come back up here to nest next year we might see them with their rings attached.

Also the Buzzard's are doing well with three chicks still in the nest with a half eaten rabbit. Although we think the smallest Buzzard is struggling a bit as it seemed to be either sleeping or it has died, we'll find out if it's okay the next time we check on them.

the three buzzard chicks

Here's also a photo of a Woodpigeon chick in a nest that Steve has found.

woodpigeon chick
Still a while to go until the end of the nesting season so who knows what will turn up.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015


Steve came over on Sunday to check the boxes and the Buzzard, good news on the Redstarts with four active nests the same as we had last year this one has seven eggs.

redstart nest

 You can always tell a Redstart nest in comparison to say a Piedflycatcher as the reds always use feathers in their nests, and as you can see by all the feathers this clearly is a Redstart.

Great tits are doing well with I think about eight boxes being occupied, two Blue tit and a Nuthatch made up the rest of the boxes being used.

Steve also showed me a Meadow pipit nest in a banking the chicks should be ready to ring by this weekend.

meadow pipit
 There was nothing in the boxes at the back of our house (think they're to near the feeders) and alas we think the Swallows have failed with the two eggs in the nest being stone cold there's evidence that they have been trying to build again but without much success. These pair of Pied wagtails are about the place but we haven't had much luck in finding their nest site.

male pied wagtail

and the female

Steve climbed the Buzzard nest which had three eggs so they're doing well.

buzzard nest
A good morning's monitoring with decent success especially with the Buzzard and Redstarts who knows what we might find in the coming weeks.

Monday, 11 May 2015


Although it's great to see and photograph the more common birds of which we should never take for granted (look at the demise of the house sparrow) there's nothing better to get the blood pumping than something out of the ordinary.
I was chatting to my mate on the phone looking outside as the early evening light was fading then suddenly to my utter surprise a female Sparrowhawk landed on a post at the back of the garden. I threw my phone down grabbed my camera and managed to get this image not great just a record shot but not to bad considering how bad the light was.

After picking my phone back up and explaining to my mate what had happened I quickly reviewed my images and this one above was about the best of a very noisy and blurry bunch.

Redstarts have migrated back now from their winter quarters in Africa and are in good numbers, we had four different nesting pairs last year this one's been exploring the nest boxes in the garden.

male redstart

exploring the boxes

This male Green Woodpecker flew into a tree near the house, these are very shy and wary birds so I was pleased to get this record shot.

green woodpecker
Also managed to capture an image of this Jay, they were quite frequent at my feeders at one time but not so much now especially over the last couple of years.

 It was nice to watch and photograph (well try anyway) something a bit different, just goes to show with birds you never know what when or where things are going to turn up.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015


My birding buddy Stephen Carter was over again this Sunday with his ringing guru Denis Jackson and his wife Val to ring the Tawny Owlets. I'd showed him the photo's Luke took of the birds the week before and Steve said they looked big enough to ring, so we all went to the nest site where Steve climbed the tree to the box to get the youngsters down safely to start ringing.

Steve puts the ladder up to fetch the young Tawny's for ringing
After fetching the birds in a soft bag they're then put one at a time into a smaller bag to keep them calm while the ring is put on the Owlets leg.

The parent birds were flying just above us sometimes making a very agitated clicking sound. Tawny Owls can be very aggressive and are known to attack even humans around it's nest site so we had to be on our guard.

the female looking a bit agitated

Finally the last chick is ringed and I was able to get a quick snap before Steve took them back up the tree and safely into the nest box.

  I think the parent birds were happy to have their family back safe.

Great experience for myself seeing these beautiful birds up close and to see some real conservation work, even though it was a little hairy sometimes with the parent birds flying so close to us, but it shows what good parents they are.

Below is a short clip of Steve ringing the birds enjoy!!

Big thanks to Steve, Denis and Val hope you enjoyed the tea and the chat afterwards CHEERS.

Monday, 27 April 2015


My old buddy Stephen Carter came over on Sunday 19th April to check the nest boxes and a few other places where we hoped would be lucky enough to find some natural nests.
The boxes are starting to get used up mostly by blue and great tits and nuthatches. This box is being used by a nuthatch when the female comes off the nest it covers its eggs with leaves.

Steve looking into the nuthatch box

nuthatch covers its eggs with dead leaves
 Steve also found this Robins nest with 4 eggs in.

robins nest

Next we set off down the old Farm where the spring lambs are out in good numbers they look so cute.

We went to check a Buzzard nest that was not used last year but to our delight they've come back to the site this year and the female is sitting on two eggs.

you can just make out the female on look out
the buzzards two eggs
These two squirrels were keeping me amused as I waited for Steve to check the Buzzard

Steve sent me some pics of a couple of cracking nests he's found at other sites.

mistle thrush

long tailed tit
The pics are small as Steve took them with his phone but two cracking nests.

Steve with his trusty note pad
Later that day middle step son Luke who can climb trees like a monkey checked on the Tawny owls and for the first time the female flew off to reveal 4 very healthy tawny owlets.


He also climbed a Carrion crow who are nesting quite close to the Owls this had four eggs.

crows nest
A good day bird wise and its still only April, big thank you to Luke and Steve and there's more on the Tawny Owls coming shortly.

Saturday, 18 April 2015


The Swallows have arrived back, and have decided to start nest building in my shed which gave me a good opportunity to get a few shots as they continually fly back and forth with nesting material. The first bird came in on April 9th and was  quickly followed by two others.

swallow with nesting material

taking a look before fetching more material
take off
This Willow Warbler was in fine voice and is another summer resident which visits us every year.

willow warbler
Still some summer migrants yet to arrive but the nesting season is now well and truly under-way with quite a few of my boxes being occupied and I hope to bring you news of these shortly.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015


With spring now here I've noticed that there has been a notable arrival of birds back on their breeding territories. I was delighted to see this pair back at my feeders I expect feeding up to start their breeding season.

male yellowhammer

and the female
A real pretty little Bunting looks more like a mountain Canary.

Also our annual pair of Pied Wagtail are back with Skylark and Meadow Pipit in fine voice on the moor. Also Reed Bunting starting to pair up.

pied wagtail
male reed bunting

The breeding season is here again lets hope for kind weather and great success fingers crossed.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015


Went around with Luke (he's my climber) and checked the three Owl boxes we've got dotted around the place to see if there was any sign of activity. Great news in the first box as a female Tawny Owl was sitting I think on eggs but she wouldn't budge off the nest so we can't be 100 percent sure if she definitely is on eggs or just roosting as she was to lazy to move.
We went very late afternoon because if the Owls are disturbed to early in the day they might not return to the nest site until it turns dark.

two pics of the female in the nest box
  I think it's the same female as last year as the facial markings are very similar but you never know.

female taken last spring.
The other two boxes were empty but there were some signs of life so perhaps with a bit of luck we might get something in these as well.
Our Tawny Owls raised one chick last year so lets hope that the weather stays fair and they manages to fledge a couple more this year.

Saturday, 7 March 2015


Hard to believe that today was a lovely spring day but what a contrast to the beginning of the week when we had a covering of snow.

my feeding station

There was nothing out of the ordinary but I had a good selection in.

This Robin on a peanut feeder was a peculiar sight.

This Buzzard floated by then landed on a post.

What a contrast in the weather in one week, birds were singing and displaying today and will soon if they haven't already, be starting to nest build and may even be sitting on their first clutch of eggs.