Some of my favourite photos

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Wittenham Clumps

At the weekend I went to Wittenham clumps with my friend Ben,
http://bensbirdsandbeastlybugs.blogspot.co.uk
Wittenham Clumps is the name for a pair of wooded chalk hills, Castle hill and Round Hill, in South Oxfordshire.
The site is looked after by Earth Trust 

Panoramic view from Round Hill 

We started our walk by a church and followed along the river for a while before heading into the woodlands.
The trees are just starting to change colour and the wood was full of fungi. Underneath woodpiles we found Beetles and Centipedes. There is also a Newt pond in the middle of the wood.





Birds were calling from the trees above and Dragonflies whizzed around but that was the only wildlife we saw, probably because we were making to much noise. My favourite part of the afternoon was building dens in a tree.



From the top of Round Hill there was a fantastic view of the Thames Valley. We could make out Didcot Power Station, The JR Hospital and Culham Lab.


Round Hill is 390 metres above sea level and great fun to run all the way down.


Sunday, 28 September 2014

Kestrel

Considering that it is the end of September the weather was warm enough to wear a T-shirt.
 Just as we had got back from a dog walk when we heard screeching from above. 
This Kestrel was being hasseled by three Jackdaws.
 One of the Jackdaws was dive bombing and grabbing the Kestrel's tail with its claws.  
After about five minutes the Kestrel managed to get away.





Last night at dusk we were at the bottom of the garden when a male Tawney owl started to hoot over head. I didn't have my camera with me but mum had the trail camera in her hand, unfortunately by the time she switched it on the owl had flown away.
What we didn't realise until my sister told me was that the owl was on our neighbours roof calling, then it flew over our heads, up the garden path, nearly colliding with my sisters face before landing in our other neighbours tree.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Last couple of weeks

I haven't had a lot of time to do much wildlife watching or blogging over the last couple of weeks because I have start at a new school.

Last week we went on a moth and bat survey in the local wood.
I couldn't stay very long because it was a school night, but we did see this hornet and a sleeping dragonfly.




During the bat survey we listened to 3 different types of bats on a bat detector. I did see some bats early in the evening swooping around in the dusk. I tried to take some photos but the photos were too blurred.
We were told about the different noises they make, including a fast clicking whistle when they have caught something. Another noise when are aware of us underneath them.
The lady doing the survey said she could hear them in a hole in a tree.
There were 3 types of bats that evening, Common Pipistrelle, Noctule and Soprano Pipistrelle.


Where the farmer has been harvesting and then ploughing, there has been lots of birds of prey over the fields. Sometimes there can be over 10 to 20 Red Kites and Buzzards in the air and the trees. The rooks have been trying their hardest to keep them out of the way.
The mornings have been a lot colder, with the fields sometimes covered in mist and cobwebs.
The Kites and Buzzards are flying lower until the air warms up.
From around 4pm in the afternoon the Twany owls have been calling. We have seen a few flying from tree to tree, my aim is to get a photo.



Rook or crow chasing a Kestrel

Buzzard


Hovering Kestrel
Now the crops have been cut the deers are having to find other places to hide. This one has a few scratches under it's eye.


The badgers have been cleaning out their setts.........


and busy eating.

video


Sunday, 14 September 2014

Afternoon walk

 We had a family walk this afternoon around the reservoir, because we had the dogs with us we stuck with the Countryside walk around the outside edge.

There was a huge amount of geese in the fields, we heard a raven and tried to take a photo but it was through the trees, but not much else.




  

 About half the way round my sister noticed some bones on the ground. It turned out to be a deer.




There were a few dragonflies around

Female Migrant Hawker


Friday, 12 September 2014

Badgers at the bottom of the garden

 Another evening of badger watching, this group are becoming more and more used to us. Especially a young female.
I am not sure whether these badgers are coming up from the sett in the wood or have their own sett closer to our garden.
I can hear when they arrive by the crunching of snail shells.
There are around 5 or 6 badgers in this group and at least one of them has gone up the lane towards our house. I remember last year that our front garden was dug up a few times.
As long as we stay very still the badgers are happy to feed around us.





video


video


video

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Harvesting

I found this mushroom while out on a walk, it's a Giant puffball. At the moment it's the same size as a football but they can reach to the size of a beachball.


Giant puffball
This week I visited my friends at Fallowfields falconry, I really enjoyed James teaching me how he repairs a birds feathers if they get damaged. He is able to mend the feathers so the bird can fly and then that feather will be moulted out and replace with a new one later.
James showed me some different feathers including a peregrine falcon feather, he pointed out how it was shaped so the bird can fly fast.
Although in returned I raked the gravel around the birds.

The local farmers have been out harvesting over the past week. The Red kites and the Buzzards have been following the tractors. The most I have seen at one time was a mixture of 19 Kites and Buzzards and one Kestrel.






There also has been a lot of Swallows, I think the tractors must be disturbing the flies as they harvest. There must have been about 30 swallows in the air.


Saturday, 6 September 2014

Badgers are back

Badgers are back at the bottom of the garden.

We sat on the grass and they came within a few metres of us. One even walked behind us.







video



Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Badgers - closer and closer

We are very lucky to have badgers near to us. Normally we only have a five minute walk down to the badger set. 

Yesterday we came back from a dog walk, went into the garden to clear up the days bits and pieces when we heard some rustling and what sounded like something eating snail shells. We decided to wander down our lane to investigate...
Through the dusk we could see the bottom of the hedge moving and a little black and white face appeared. We ran back to the house, grabbed the trail camera, camera and a handful of peanuts and sat down to wait.
We didn't have to wait long and within a couple of minutes we could see three badgers but could hear more. 
Not wanting to scare them as this is the first time we have seen them so close to our house we took a couple of photos, left the trail camera running for around 10 minutes and then left them alone.







video

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Fungi - First signs of Autumn

For me the first signs of Autumn, apart from going back to school, are all the diffent types of Fungi appearing around the wood. The leaves on the trees are just hinting at turning brown as well as the evenings getting dark earlier.
Under every tree, in every leaf pile and even in my lawn at home, fungi have popped up.
They come in different shapes, sizes and colours and some even smell like the Common Stinkhorn.





Common Stinkhorn


Common Stinkhorn  one hour later