Wildlife Notes 1999

To 27th November 1999

I have seen lots of Field fares flying through on their way South. One seems to have taken a liking to the apples left in the orchard as it has been here all week by itself. The local hunt drew the cover at Traitors Ford on Wednesday lots of noise from hounds etc rockets and fireworks from those that disapprove and six foxes that made an amazingly unhurried departure. From my vantage point on the top of the roof of my house (I was tiling the roof) I saw it all. I also saw a grey Heron and the Buzzards. On Thursday I saw a Sparrow hawk take a Blue tit as it flew between two trees (at dusk)

I have seen both white and pink champion in flower as well as keck this week! Is spring here already?

The badgers have been doing a lot of winter cleaning and digging. It never ceases to amaze me how much bedding they have underground. As soon as we get a clear spell I will be leaving them a bale or two of straw to take underground.

23rd October 1999

I saw a Jay one morning this week it is the first one that I have seen this year. I also saw a Kingfisher at 8-30am yesterday morning (for about three seconds) There were 10 Canada Geese on one of the wheat fields at 9am this morning.

The emergence time for the Badgers this week is between 6-6.30pm we are expecting some outstanding photographs of Badgers from the two of our recent watchers!

9th October

A kingfisher has been visiting our top pond every day this week. Many hours were spent trying to photograph it but all to no avail. We have about 60 mallard and various other ducks coming in to the main pond. It is absolutely wonderful to see them trying to land into a southerly wind. They often have to fly around the pond three or four times before they can achieve a safe landing so steep is their descent.

2nd October 1999

A blustery week with intermittent heavy rain. Our fresh ploughing attracted lots of Rooks. They seemed to be feeding on worms, but as there are a lot of slugs around this year I guess they were being eaten as well. The dusk have returned to our ponds, they have been absent for around a month. I am fairly sure that they would have been feeding on stubble’s. As the stubble fields have now been ploughed up they have returned to the water. About 60 came in last night, mainly mallard but one or two other varieties as well. It was however to dark to identify what they were.

19th September

Another nice warm week, the signs of autumn are evident. There were about 100 swallows on our “Party house” roof on Tuesday, resting in the sun. Today the Swallows are all  heading south. I did not see one swallow on my morning dog walk. I have received two sets of “badger” photographs this week, one set from Rose and Arthur Jones and the other set from Mr. & Mrs. Cross. The photographs were all taken during their holidays here this year. A web page is dedicated  to each set of photographs.

23rd October 1999

I saw a Jay one morning this week it is the first one that I have seen this year. I also saw a Kingfisher at 8-30am yesterday morning (for about three seconds) There were 10 Canada Geese on one of the wheat fields at 9am this morning.

The emergence time for the Badgers this week is betwen 6-6.30pm we are expecting some outstanding photographs of Badgers from the two of our recent watchers!

This Week to 9th October A kingfisher has been visiting our top pond every day this week. Many hours were spent trying to photograph it but all to no avail. We have about 60 mallard and various other ducks coming in to the main pond. It is absolutely wonderful to see them trying to land into a southerly wind. They often have to fly around the pond three or four times before they can aheive a safe landing so steep is their descent.

A little weasel (see below) was spotted hunting through a new wood pile this week.

2nd October 1999

A blustery week with intermittent heavy rain. Our fresh ploughing attracted lots of Rooks. They seemed to be feeding on worms, but as there are a lot of slugs around this year I guess they were being eaten as well. The dusk have returned to our ponds, they have been absent for around a month. I am fairly sure that they would have been feeding on stubble’s. As the stubble fields have now been ploughed up they have returned to the water. About 60 came in last night, mainly mallard but one or two other varieties as well. It was however to dark to identify what they were.

19th September

Another nice warm week, the signs of autumn are evident. There were about 100 swallows on our “Party house”roof on Tuesday, resting in the sun. Today the Swallows are all  heading south. I did not see one swallow on my morning dog walk.

4th September 1999

A nice warm week, the Badgers have been out early 8 to 8-30pm. A pair of late born badger cubs were observed from the second hide on Wednesday evening along with many other badgers that were frightfully busy changing bedding and grooming etc.

A pair of garden warblers were also seen around the ponds. I saw the Kingfisher early on Monday morning. Pipestral bats and another (as yet unidentified ) were very busy on Tuesday evening. They were not seen again so were obviously off hunting some where else on the other evenings.

The various varieties of carp in the main pond were showing them selves wonderfully this morning. It amazes me how vibrant their colouring is in the sunlight.

While mowing the grass I spotted another young moorhen. The third brood to be reared by the same parents this year.  I fear that most of the other young moorhens have succumbed to various predators.

28th August 1999

Lots of Badger activity this week, several tons of soil have been excavated from our various setts. Mr Greedy (the biggest and fattest badger) is still eating most of the peanuts. His favourite trick is to lie on as many peanuts as he can, until he has a chance to eat them. A Kingfisher was spotted this week on one of our ponds by a South African family that are staying with us. (I have not seen one for two years!)

The weather this week was torrential rain Mon., Tues., and Wed. fair Thurs. sunny Fri. and Sat.
Last Week to 20th August: I saw an oldish crow mobbing a kestrel. The kestrel was hunting the barley stubble’s of a 24 acre field that slopes fairly steeply toward Traitors Ford. (Warwickshire) I watched the amazingly agile crow mobbing the kestrel for at least 10 minutes. I was surprised to see how the crow seemed to second guess the kestrels next flight movements. All of the time that I was watching the crow never seemed more than a few feet away from the rear of the hawk.

We have seen a pair of Green Woodpeckers this week, they have brought their three young ones out on to our farm drive for a feast of ants. What a pleasure it is to see their dipping flight, and their distinct calling.

The weather here this week has been HOT! 29degrees between 11 and 13 badgers have been emerging from our main sett every night this past week.

Mr & Mrs Temple and Grandson James (aged 7) from Portsmouth tell me that they have had wonderful sightings of Badgers all week and hope to send me photographs for the Web site!

Several scanes of Canada Geese have been seen late evening and early morning about 30 in the scane. My next door neighbour (Bill Sabin) saw 6 young badgers run out of our wheat field one after another and bolt down their sett. They were apparently disturbed by our dogs that were being taken for there walk at 9.30pm last night. (30th July 1999)

The Buzzards have a young buzzard with them today!10th July 1999 13 Badgers were out last evening and a fox was also seen in the distance (probably the one that had one of the moorhens this week) The badgers are eating my wheat again, they always do when the weather warms up and the slugs hide at this time of year.

I trimmed the “setaside” this seemed to help the badgers find each other as nine badgers were seen out at once most evenings, also two foxes were seen last night (02.07.1999) This morning I observed a pair of buzzards hunting for rabbits. The weather this week has been warm and muggy, consequently the fish have been basking on the surface of our larger pond, Last evening I saw 11of the 40 big fish.They were all in good condition. The coy and orf have really beautiful colours.

Our first Badger Watcher from New Zealand! enjoyed seeing the first badgers that she had ever seen, most evenings around 7 or 8 Badgers were out as a family unit. One particular badger was showing signs of a big fight as she had a large cut near her tail.

I found two young Badgers on the roadside near the entrance to our Farm obviously run over by cars.(on the same night)

I saw two little owls sat on the ground near a Badger Sett on Friday afternoon, they were this years hatchlings and seemed very brave, I hope that they soon “wise up”

I saw a three quarter grown fox this morning. (7.45 am) It seemed to be moving very slowly, I thought for a moment that there was something wrong with it. However when it saw me it ran in to the winter beans very quickly. I went to where it had been moving slowly and found that it had been hunting mice! How do I know that? My dogs told me !!!!!

June 1999

Arthur and Rosie Jones (from Warrington) have been watching our Badgers for the fourth consecutive year. Most nights they saw 7 adults out at once.On one night they were accompanied by two badger cubs. The cubs were being constantly sprayed by all of the adults in turn. A fox appeared and was promptly sent off by two of the badgers (with only a piece of bread for his trouble)

The moorhen has had better luck with her latest hatch, I have seen three, week old “moorlings” this week. The buzzards were spotted hunting this week. There are numerous hatchlings testing their wings this week.

The nosy swallows that I mentioned two weeks ago were not nosy at all, they were building a nest above the interior light of the badger watching hide!

A large brown duck emerged yesterday (4th June 1999) with 9 little ducklings which were about a day old. It was absolutely brilliant to see them swimming around our main pond. At long last all that work for is starting to pay wildlife dividends! (this is the third duck to hatch out ducklings near our ponds this year. (16th June 1999) The mystery duck has now been identified as a “Golden eye” I have also seen another brood of Moorhens and some more young newts this week. Two inches of rain fell on 3rd June 1999

We have a NEW Badger Sett being constructed this week by a very industrious Badger. The Badger has been moving soil all week, about 2 to 3 tons so far.

May 1999

Rose Knell our watcher/photographer of the week managed to photograph a weasel carrying a mouse to its young in our old Barn and also a close up of one of this years Badger cubs. (The photo’s will be on the website next year) I asked Rose how she knew that it was a Weasel and not a Stoat? Rose said its easy a Weasel is “weasily” distinguished while a Stoat is “stoatally” different. (no comment)

NEWS: A vixen has a litter of cubs in our top badger sett 15 metres from the hide.Several watchers have seen her and the dog fox bringing rabbits and other food for the cubs. Although the cubs have been seen playing they always seem to eat underground.

Two 10-12 week old badger cubs were seen this week. They were seen outside with their mum feeding on peanuts at the top sett.

Goldfinches,buzzards,sparrow hawks, kestrels,linnets, swallows, partridges, yellow hammers, yellow wagtails,Tawny Owl plus many more are all being seen on a daily basis.

This years Swallows are very brave and nosy, they are flying into the badger watching hide through the viewing aperture. Then flying a quick tour around the watchers heads, twittering loudly, before making their exit back out through the viewing aperture

29th May 1999Winston (our springer spaniel see below) trod on a grass snake while we were out for our early morning walk. (7am) The snake nipped him and Winston flipped the snake into the air and proceeded to harass it. I managed to extricate the snake from Winston. I then examined it to see if it was hurt, fortunately it appeared to be OK although angry. The snake had tied it self into a knot in it’s efforts to get away from Winston.  After a while it made off through the grass. I thought it unusual to see a snake that early in the morning. I normally see them mid-morning basking in the sun.

Lots of newts swimming in the ponds this morning.

Winston one of our springer spaniels


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