Tuesday, 28 April 2015

My very own pond

Well, instead of building in the fields behind me, the city council are giving me my very own pond and they don't even know it! They have been building a lot of houses around where I live and I thought they were going to end up filling the fields behind. They have been planning the building for a few years now and no one around here wants them to do it. I really am against the whole process, but if it has to be somewhere, I'm glad its not behind my house.

When they have built in some places, they have been collecting a protective species of newt. I get them in my garden but didn't know they were this important to building sites. The Great Crested Newt is my favourite amphibian and I love finding them in the garden, along with smooth newts, common frogs and toads.
They have collected quite a lot, and this pond they are making is to house these newts. It's a good size and depth. The workers have been on it for over a week now and this is the progress so far.
In the past three days they have moved on to the field behind this one and are making another pond! It's like the council are making me my own little nature reserve. Canada Geese have returned for the fourth year going and have already taken their territory back and are protecting it from their own youngsters. Their offspring from past years have nested in various ponds around the fields. It's always great fun to watch them and especially when their eggs hatch and the littlens are waddling in the long grass. However it's only good fun to watch from a specific distance as I once found out two years back when I was trapped between barbed wire whilst an adult flew at me making a noise.

Meanwhile in the last few weeks or so the Canada Geese have been keeping close to the nest area. The female has been sat on the nest but I haven't had a glimpse of any eggs yet, and the male is keeping on guard. The pond has filled up a lot, and Hawthorn has been planted on one side, so really only we can see into it from the bottom of the garden or from my tree house. The Moorhens have been wondering around it. I think this pond is going to turn out really nicely and hopefully draw in some different wildlife to the area.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Fabien the Fox

On the 28th Dec I went birding at Pilling and found a fox. Here's the tale of the Fox (pun intended).
Unfortunately this fox (now named Fabien) had been hit by a car along one of the country lanes. One of the legs had been badly hit and broken. I found the skeleton behind a fence and only managed to see it because the tail and part of the bottom vertebrae was on the grass verge. At first I thought it was a rat at a distance but as I got closer, I saw the long tail and thought that it wasn't an abnormally large rat, but a fox.
2013 FOX CUB
It was my first ever fox I had found. I have been wanting to find one for ages and then my chance came. I was so happy and couldn't wait to clean it up and add too my collection. I don't have many mammal skulls, mostly birds. My aunty had given me a road killed Badger, but it doesn't feel the same as finding it on my own.
So I cleaned it up a bit and then left it soaking in water over a month or so. Then for a two nights it was left soaking in hydrogen peroxide. This makes it go a clean, whitish colour. However it can't be left in too long otherwise it will go brittle and maybe break, then it was left to dry. It has all its teeth, however the gaps you will see in the following photos are where teeth have fallen out and the bone has healed over. So here is the finished Vulpes Vulpes.


Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Cockerham at Easter!

Finished college on Friday and came straight up to the caravan at Cockerham. Have been here for two weeks and it's been so good. The weather has been a right mixture; sun, wind, rain, mist, snow and hail. It was unusually misty for four to five days and only seemed to be here and no where else. I tried to get out birding everyday and also did some beachcombing.

I went to Abbey to try and see the Little Owl. Didn't see it unfortunately, but I did find some owl pellets in this spot I know of. There was a Great Tit skull, 2 mice, 7 shrews and 12 voles in the 7 pellets.

I went to Conder Green a few times and managed to find a Mute Swan skull (minus the top beak) and a Pink Footed Goose skull. There were Redshank, Teal, Little Grebe and many other waders on the pools. I keep trying to see the Spotted Redshank which is usually there, but I haven't yet distinguished it from the other Redshanks. At Glasson, there wasn't many 'good' sightings. There were the usual swans and Mallards but not much else.

On one occasion I walked left, past Cockersands and Bank End. I saw loads of mermaids purses but I'm under strict orders not to pick anymore up. Although I did take back a partial Gull skull, which is puzzling me with its true identity.

The rest of the time I spent at Cockerham Sands itself. I went on many walks along the beach and found many more skulls (2 Guillemots, 2 Rabbits, a Herring Gull and a Greylag Goose). Along with over 70+ mermaids purses and 8 Oysters. I got to see my first Swallow of the year on the 8th April flying around the caravans. I got a close encounter with a female Reed Bunting, which wasn't really looking too well.

On one of the sunny days I walked left from the site along the wall, taking macro shots of the mini critters, which had some iridescent colours being hit by the light. There were loads of Drinkers, Spiders, Ladybirds and Beetles climbing up the grass stems, so it was hard to get the camera focused on them.

On the Friday before I went home, I bumped into Pete Woodruff, well I say bumped. Truthfully my grandad dragged me over to talk to him. As we were talking, small groups of Snipe left the marshes as the tide was pushing up the sands. He told me the Wheatear are back near Plover Scarr and that he hadn't seen much else. What we both didn't see coming was that following Monday. I had gone home and he informed me he was following a Wryneck around the caravan site!! A Wryneck in April!!! Here's his post on it... http://woodruff4.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/a-pain-in-neck.html