Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Still 5!

Accounted for all 5 moorhen chicks this morning. Two living alone in the big pond and 3 with Mum & Dad in the smallest.
Picanto has had its recall modification.
Mum off to have a blood test.
No owls seen last evening
Dag still going down hill.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010


Morning walk gave me the Skylark singing his little heart out high above the airfield after a shower had refreshed everything.
I do hope they return to nest in "our" field next year. They were there in late winter / early spring but I think the building work on the new factory (replaces the dairy) drove them away.
Barny "no showed" last night.
Moorhen parents were going mad attacking the heron this morning. He left when I arrived but I only saw one chick. I hope the others were just hiding. They can dive instantly and "fly" under water so that they come up long distances away. The adults can instantly expel all air from their feathers and then they can stand under water with just the tip of their beak above the surface for air supply. Once it really freaked Vicky out when she saw this bird staring at her from the bottom of the pond!
There are baby (1inch long) fish in the bottom wild life pond. They should not be there as this pond is the reservoir and reed bed filter for the system and the level varies a great deal as water is pumped up to the top. I need a jam jar and a small net and some children to assist in removing them to a safer home........
Dog recovered last afternoon and ate a little food but he is poorly again this morning and appears to have lost all he ate.

Monday, 28 June 2010


Those pesky herons are still about. Not content with killing fish far too big for them to eat they are now showing far too much interest in the Moorhen Chicks. I am glad to say there were still 5 alive and well this morning.
Barny was seen very briefly last evening and a deer bolted for the woods as he flew past but I think that was because of us not the owl. Tawny sat outside my bedroom window and complained about the noise my snoring made.
Owen actually ate a little.
Parties both sides to watch the football fiasco did not appear to upset any wildlife at all.
Actually saw the Red Kites in the distance briefly...don't know why they have moved off....perhaps the hot weather has encouraged them to fly higher than I have been looking.
NO EGGS yesterday for the first time since the new hens arrived in early Spring.

Sunday, 27 June 2010


Airfield and Luton flightpath in full swing all day with full sunshine and heat plus all the grass mowings and really isn't quiet in the country!

Took some video of the garden wildlife including a baby rabbit, the Moorhen Chicks, mating common Coenagrion and a male Banded Demoiselle (Damselflies) as well as some not quite wild flowers. The flight of the Demoiselle was almost impossible to capture and what I got is slowed to half speed (The noise is a plane taxiing to take off...LOL).
The Editing is very rough as I don't want to spend all day indoors in this lovely weather.
Extra time in the USA Ghana match delayed our Owl watch and they were not seen although we heard Tawny calling from the woods and the RAF police dogs were having a real good bark to compete with the Muntjac that had barked for a while the night before.

Dog still won't eat but enjoys his night walk trying to find rats and finding lots of frogs and toads.
Happy Birthday James!

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Being Watched

Set off to watch Barny as usual last night but he only made a brief circuit of the main wheat field before disappearing into the gloom towards the village and Mark Webber's house. Possible gone to feed on his Peacocks if they have any chicks.

Meanwhile as we waited I became aware that we were being watched by a large dark coloured owl sitting on a dead branch jutting out of the top of the Airfield perimeter hedge. After a while Tawny flew off into the aerodrome to be replaced, a few moments later by a very small owl. A small skirmish ensued when Tawny returned to reclaim his perch and Eddy (Little Owl) fled.

Lamb is still calling for his mum although mum no longer replies. (Can you have a lamb that is a little horse? We Have!)

Saw all 5 Moorhen chicks again fleetingly. I will try to get some pictures as they are now so much bolder.

Owen still very poorly. We have difficulty getting him to swallow the 8 tablets a day and he won't eat so we can't start him on the steroids but he still follows me around outside and he cleared all his balls out of the way of the mower yesterday.

Pool crystal clear and up to 25 deg C
Hens still sitting, others still laying, no rats caught.

Friday, 25 June 2010


Disappointed...well how silly!
After the football we all returned to watch the Barn Owl and I had coaxed my old Infra Red Cam corder to life to get some better shots but "Barny" came later and it was darker and the camcorder was on autofocus and ........ well I got virtually nothing.
But "HEY"! How many people ever see a Barn Owl that close?
Meanwhile the Mock Orange and the Mallow are in flower. The Moorhen family still have 5 healthy chicks and I have not caught any rats in traps for 2 nights.....have I got them all yet????
Rabits everywhere and the last lamb was taken away from his Mum yesterday so they both bleeted to each other all night......still going this morning!
Fresh peas and a strawberry for tea.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Slowed down Video of last night's Owl display

This was shot in HD with a Canon Vixia HV 30. Unfortunately the machine does not have "Night Vision" but I think you can get the idea. Action has been slowed to half speed

Barn Owl display

Well ! What a display from our Barn Owl last night.

The Program will not let me move the pictures to the right order (or I don't know how to do it ) and I know the quality is not so good but it was a heart lifting experience which I wanted to share.

Here he is turning ready to pounce on some poor rodent!

Quite a long way off gliding about 2 foot above the wheat.
The evening sky just before he appeared

Well what can I say!

We went up to the field again last evening as the twilight was beginning but this time armed with my video camera. I was beginning to get cold and was about to give up when Jan gave a shout from her Bat Listening vantage point and there he was!
Might try to get my old (Non HD) night vision camera working if he comes back again tonight.
Meanwhile Owen is no better and has to go back to the Vet this afternoon.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Barn Owl

After the footie Jan, Vicky, Owen (border collie), Lionel (ginger tom cat) and I went for a stroll up the garden with the bat detector. No Bats but hawk eyed Vicky spotted the Barn Owl patrolling the wheat field and we were able to watch him searching along the hedgerows until he spotted and fell on a tasty snack.
What a wonderful hot sunny day it had been!
The ponds have been buzzing with all sorts of Damselflies including a Banded Demise and the dominant dragonfly currently is the Broad Bodied (blue male) Chaser which is angrily patrolling as much of the water as he can.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Lost the water due to a burst down the road but it is back now.
Owen slightly better.
Made some hay. Enough to fill one of those 1 tonne bags the sand came in.
Sat for a while and watched the swallows scooping a drink out of one of the ponds in flight.
3 strawberries and lettuce for tea.

Downhill to Christmas

Summer has hardly started but already the nights will imperceptibly start to draw in.
Status at Start:
Moorhens have at least 5 chicks but are all very careful to stay hidden if possible.
One Maron Hen is sitting on 6 hens eggs and Blondy (the Buff Orpinton type hen is into her second week on 6 duck eggs.
No rats caught last night so nothing for the Red Kites to have for breakfast.
Dog "Owen" is still poorly but has had a little boiled chicken for breakfast.