Wildlife Notes 2006

NEW FOR 2007

A new badger watching hide is under construction and will be in place for 2007.Completed December 5th 2006

The existing badger climbing frame will be moved closer to the top hides and will be made taller with a few dead trees have been donated to me. awaiting some frosty weather to save making wheel marks and ruts butI have all the trees ready to be installed

Badger and wildlife watching observations for 2006

5th December 2006

A mistle thrush has been singing to me every day this week while I was completing the installation of the new hide. I was delighted to see a greater spotted woodpecker on our bird feeder this week alongside a green wood pecker that was polishing off the wood lice that were in some redundant tree guards

8th November 2006

11 badgers emerged from their setts last night at 7pm all looking very wet as the weather had changed from a pleasant November evening into a monsoon, a substantial amount of rain fell from 7pm until 8-30pm. The rain clouds quicklyblew away and by 1am there was a white frost on the grass.

16th October 2006

I saw 10 badgers out at the same time on 12th Oct 2006 between 7-8pm, then I rustled a bag and off they all went back to their sett. There has been lots of digging out within the setts partly due to the volume of rain( 2.5inches on 6th October) which has caused several partial sett roof collapses here, and within the local area I have seen what were active setts brim full of water and debris. I fear for the occupants lives if they were at home.

Our wild bird cover is much much better than I expected. It is absolutely full of green finches, pheasants linnets and many other birds all feeding on the seed heads, so much so that the peanut feeder is redundant! (at the moment)

10th October 2006

Between 8-10 badgers are being seen each evening with the ermegence starting at 7pm. Sightings of a barn owl, several fallow deer, a muntjac and inumerable pheasants have taken place this week

12th September 2006

I saw a white doe fallow deer this morning at 7-15am on the edge of our wild bird cover I passed within 3 metres of it and thought that it was going to stay where it stood (it appeared frozen to the ground) but just after I walked by the deer bolted off into the wild bird cover in leaps and bounds. There was no sign of a fawn but hopefully it would have been not far away perhaps in the wild bird cover. The fallow deer was in excellent condition with a good shiny coat, bright eyes and well fleshed.

8th September 2006

19 badgers all out at the same time were seen on a calm warm August (30th) evening. The high wind last Saturday 2nd September benefited the badgers who are eating a substantial amount of the windfall plums. In the evening there was a carpet of plums under our plum trees and by morning they had all been eaten by badgers and foxes. I know for certain which animals ate them as the plum stones are eaten with the plum and deposited around our farm by the foxes and in latrines by the badgers.

We have pressed our first apples (windfalls) to make cider on 4th September which is about a month early this year. The apple juice was suprisingly sweet which gives me an indication that the apples are going to ripen early this year. So there should be cider available to our badger watchers in 2007.

19th August 2006

The badger emergence was delayed again by 6 hours by noise from campers at Traitors Ford instead of emerging at 8.30 pm it was 2 am before the first badger appeared as the Nationa Field Archery Society (Windrush Bowmen club) were having a party with loud music until just before midnight

The Protection of Badgers Act 1992 states

  • it is an offence to damage, destroy or obstruct a badger sett; to cause a dog to enter a badger sett; or to disturb a badger when it is occupying a badger sett.
  • I will be pointing out this fact to officials of theNationa Field Archery Society when I can find a relevant telephone number to a senior member.

18th August 2006

The badger emergence was delayed by 6 hours by noise from campers at Traitors Ford instead of emerging at 8.30 pm it was 2 am before the first badger appeared.

15 badgers have been seen out at once through out the week. On Saturday 12th august a white fallow deer was seen in front of our hides with two fawns (they were brown in colour)

3rd August 2006

The emergence started at 8-30pm last evening with 7 badgers being seen out at one time, three deer passed by (one roe and two fallow). A very wary fox also put in an appearance for a few minutes while a barn owl was seen flying by!

17th July 2006

38 different types of moth were caught and released over the last two evenings (a full description of the different types below) 12 badgers were seen out in front of our lower hide at the same time last night. The badger emergence has been getting earlier (I guess due to the dry hot weather) last night they started emerging at 7pm

Macro Moths observed at College Barn Farm by Jonathan Need

July 15th – 22nd  2006

Photographs of some of the moths listed below can be accessed by clicking on moths in the left hand column (it is well worth the visit)

  1. Angle Shades (phlogophora metieulosa)
  2. Grey Dagger (Acronieta psi)
  3. Orange Underwing (Jodia Croceago)
  4. Large Yellow Underwing (Noctua Pronuba)
  5. Lesser Yellow Underwing (Noctua comes)
  6. Garden Tiger Moth (Arctic caja)
  7. Common Footman ((EIlema Lurideola)
  8. Rosy Footman (Miltochrista Miniata)
  9. Elephant Hawk (Deilephila Elpenor)
  10. Swallow Prominent (Pheosia Tremula)
  11. Poplar Hawk (Laethoe Populi)
  12. Swallow-Tailed Moth (Ourapteryx Sambucciria)
  13. Early Thorn (Selenia dentaria)
  14. Brimstane Moth (Opistographs Luteolata)
  15. Magpi (Abraxas Grossulariata)
  16. Clouded Border (Homaspilis Marginata)
  17. Large Emerald (Geometra Papilionaria)
  18. Scarce Silver Lines (Bena Bicolorana) *
  19. Buff Ermine (Spilosma luteum)
  20. Yellow Tail (Euprochs Similis)
  21. Buff tip (Phalera Bucephala)
  22. Silver Y (Autographa Gamma)
  23. Coronet (Craniophora Ligustri) *
  24. Oak Eggar or Grass Eggar * (Lasiocampa Quereos or Lasio campa Tritolii) TO BE CONFIRMED
  25. Ruby Tiger (Phragmatebia Euliginosa)
  26. Peppered Moth (Biston Betularia)
  27. Ribana Wave (Idaea Aversata)
  28. Broad-Bordered Yellow Underwing (Noctua Fimbriata)
  29. Galium Carpet (Epirrhoe Galiata) *
  30. Heart + Dart (Agrotis Exlamations)
  31. Marbled Beauty (Cryphia Domestioa
  32. Garden Carpet (Xanthorhoe Fluctuata)
  33. Barred Straw (Eulithis Pyraliata)
  34. Pale Oak Beauty (Hypomecis Panctinalis)
  35. July Belte (Scotopteryx Luridata)
  36. Drinker Moth (Euthrix Potatoria)
  37. Scalloped Oak (Crocallis Ellinguaria)
  38. Ghost Moth (Hepialus Humuli)

Thank you Jonathan for your contribution to our web site.

Many thanks to  Steve Sargent for the photograph (taken last week) of a roe deer passing over the College Barn Farm badger setts more photographs from Steve will be added to the web site shortly

10th July 2006

On Friday  7th July 12 badgers were seen out at once, the emergence started at 8-30pm with one badger appearing and then went to sleep under the floodlight for half an hour!   Saturday 9th July a spectacular  flying display started at 10 am, first to take to the air was a pair of hobby hawks closely followed by a pair of kestrels and they were followed a pair of buzzards all circling in the same thermal. The buzzards in particular soared with wingtips curving upward so that they nearly touched. Their rate of climb in the thermal almost exceeded their body strength or so it appeared, I have never seen buzzards ascend so quickly.

While we were watching the feathered flying display a loan Lancaster bomber flew by accompanied (very loosely) by a Hurricane and a Spitfire. (apparently on their way to a flying display in the Cotswolds)

A pair of Hares have taken up residence in our newly planted wild bird cover. They have been seen daily by our badger-watchers for the last three weeks. I hope that they will become a permanent fixture here as we have not had hares here permanently for 20 years.

6th June 2006

Saved from the bees by my dogs! I was out walking yesterday evening when I noticed that the dogs behaviour change dramatically, I then noticed what appeared to be a myriad of flies hovering directly in front of where I was walking (on the edge the field of beans) on closer inspection the flies turned out to be bees. Within seconds the bees were starting to buzz around me (the dogs had already retreated)  I emulated the dogs wise move and watched from a safe distance for a few minutes hoping to see them swarm onto something but  they did not. Without the dogs letting me know something was amiss I would have walked into the outer reaches of the bee swarm and undoubtedly been stung.

Around 20 badgers (including cubs) were seen out at one time last Friday evening.

29th May 2006

Friday 26th May 2006 just too many badgers out at midnight to count them all accurately! but over 20 with around 10 cubs all joining in the family association they seemed to have a very good party with the cubs swinging from the lower branches of a walnut tree by their teeth!!

A roe deer, a barn owl and foxes were seen the same evening.

20th May 2006

It has been a very wet week this past week, over an inch of rain fell 22mm of it in 45 minutes last Saturday evening!

Excellent sightings of a Roe buck most evenings along with a barn, tawny and little owl. 10 badger cubs have been seen out at once with up to 8 adults.

15th May 2006

I saw the first Red Kite (that I have ever seen) here on Saturday 13th May at 10-30 am. It was a truly wonderful sight even though it looked like the bird was going through its moult. The Red Kite had several flight feathers missing from each wing which looked to be random moulting. I hope to see this wonderful bird around here on a more frequent basis even if the rooks and crows were not too happy to see it. A total of 9 badger cubs were seen out together last Friday evening (12th May) (probably three litters of 4, 3 and 2 cubs as their sizes varied considerably)

10th May 2006

The first Moorhen chicks were seen (by Richard) on 6th May they looked to be 1 day old. There were about 5 of them they are so adept at hiding that I found it difficult to see how many there were in total

9th May 2006

Badgers to be seen almost every where after 8-30pm out in front of the hides and Mobile home! and some times before 8-30pm, the badger cubs however are reluctant to emerge much before midnight!! There have been lots of different birds  seen here this week all in their immaculate spring plumage (apart from the rooks) I have added one or two photographs of birds to this web site. Bob Perry photographed them here last Saturday. (look under photographs in the left hand column and then click on birds)

2nd May 2006

The total number of badger cubs that have been seen here has now risen to 10 and more expected to be seen over the next few weeks. A pair of jays have been seen using the bird feeder close to our mobile home. I saw a partridge on my morning dog walk this morning. (the first partridge that I have seen here for two years)

27th April 2006

I saw two badger cubs in the entrance to one of our less accessible badger setts at 4-30pm yesterday, they soon disappeared out of sight down into the sett when they saw me! They were larger than I thought they would be at this time of year. I would have expected them to be around 12 inches in length but these two were about 14 inches in length and very healthy looking.

24th April 2006

A week of firsts

I saw the first swallow on the 15th April, 6 days earlier than last year, I heard the first cuckoo this year on Saturday 22nd April. I also saw our first bat last night at dusk Sunday 23rd April. Our badger watchers saw the first badger cubs (3 of them) last night  (I am awaiting photographs of the badger cubs so watch this space)

I saw two kestrels this morning (24th April) exiting one of or barn owl boxes and a barn owl going into one of the other owl boxes (last night)

19th April 2006

The barn owl has been seen every evening this week, often out hunting well before dark around 7pm and appears to be taking the ‘catch’ back to the triangular owl box that I situated on our large ash tree.

There were three lactating sow badgers out at once in front of the badger setts last Friday night. There are therefore three separate families with badger cubs in what I thought were two badger setts which I now accept as three setts .( it is normal for only one female badger to breed per family unit)

No badger cubs have been seen here as yet, but watch this space as I feel on the first warm evening they will be up playing with mum looking on.

On my morning walk yesterday at 7am the wildlife that I saw included a pair of Jays, a pair of greater spotted woodpeckers a green woodpecker, song thrush , buzzard, kestrel, sparrow hawk, most of the tit family, wagtail, yellow hammer, two skylarks   and a pair of mallard duck. On the ground I saw a short tailed fox (I have no idea what happened to the other half) and a roe deer.  A memorable morning indeed.

14th April 2006

The male chaffinch is still attacking our car wing mirrors and house windows (where ever it can see anther male chaffinch)

I have been hearing  song thrushes and blackbirds singing early morning every morning and the song thrush also singing into the April showers, at long last spring seems to be nearly here.

The badgers have been busy changing bedding this week so I am expecting rain! They are the best natural weather forecasters that I have ever  observed. They never change bedding when it is raining always just before the rain starts.

7th April 2006

Lots of badger activity at College Barn Farm over the past 7 days with badgers seen mating! bed changing, and lots of badger group association. I was also pleased to hear that a lactating sow had been seen but no cubs as yet.

I received a telephone call last night from a concerned house holder who had been visited by a badger via the cat flap in his house on the previous two nights. The adventurous badger had emptied the food from the  fridge on the first evening (and eaten most of it including grapes, gravy, bread and butter) before exiting the house via the cat flap, only to visit again the next evening and ate most of  the frozen food from the upright freezer. I have never known a badger be this  brazen before. I think that the badger will not be so lucky when he visits tonight as there is a suitably placed obstruction in front of the cat flap!

A pair of buzzards were also spotted (on our dog walk) making the next generation  of buzzards.

31st March 2006

Spring is here! buds are bursting into leaves, frogs are spawning and birds are busy building nests. The College Barn Farm badgers look like producing three litters of badger cubs! it appears that they have been born but not yet been seen above ground.

25th March 2006

I have been watching a male chaffinch appearing to attack our car this week. The chaffinch spent hours pecking at the glass and surrounding rubber inserts. I twigged what was happening after about two days! The chaffinch obviously has a new partner and my car was within his territory and he could see what he thought was another male chaffinch in the glass of the car that he thought was intruding upon his territory. He just did not realise it was a reflection of himself. I moved the car 50 metres and that solved his problem

15th March 2006

Steve Sargent’s latest badger & fox photographs

This badger is on the end of one of the new climbing trees 2 metres off the ground!

Out with the badgers, a fox in prime condition

To see the rest of Steve’s 2006 photographs click on photographs link in left hand link box and then on Steve Sargent 2005

11th March 2006

Weather wet cold and windy -2 c last night, but 9 badgers emerged , I saw a Muntjac (briefly) outside our top hide at 7am this morning. The resident kestrel was sat on the very tip of the ridge of our grain store roof (waiting for a mouse to move) as it had been every morning this week.

My son’s saw four mice hanging off our birdfeeder last night at 9pm, apparently the mice were on the birdfeeder every night this week at 9 pm (I thought the birds were taking an exceptional of peanuts)

24th February 2006

Last night’s badger-watch 6-15pm to 7pm weather overcast with a cold east wind:

I saw 4 badgers ascend the logs (right to the top) and two more badgers ascend to the very tip of the tree in front of the top hide (see below) I also heard a barn owl very close by but did not see it  and a very healthy looking fox passed around the badger setts.

22nd February 2006

Last nights badger-watch was with a journalist from the Daily Telegraph. The watch was brief but very successful! In an hour we saw two foxes (both in excellent condition) 5 HEALTHY badgers all adults (but one was one of last years cubs) two of the badgers came close to us (within 6 feet) two ascended the log pile and the other while close was probably about 15 feet away. An owl was also seen along with an active mouse.

The article the journalist is writing comes out in the weekend edition of the Daily Telegraph on March 4th and hopefully will portray the futility of the proposed badger cull.

17th February 2006

The new badger climbing logs constructed this month

Molly & Spencer aged 4 and 13 years

The badgers have already managed to ascend to the top of all the logs

The badgers have already managed to ascend to the top of all the logs

10th February 2006

I saw three dark fallow deer and our old friend the white fallow deer this morning at 7-10am in amongst the trees below the badger setts. The badgers are still emerging every evening even though the temperature was a chilly -7c last night and have been climbing 12feet up the logs and taking peanuts from the top of their NEW log pile before going about their nightly duties.

16th January 2006

I saw an early (7am) morning barn owl yesterday morning as it worked the hedgerow alongside the wild bird cover. The barn owl spent 10 minutes flying up and down the hedge looking for an elusive prey. I lost sight of the owl as it appeared to go back to roost (hungry) as the dawn broke.

Later on the same morning (7-45am) I was surprised by Spencer’s (one of my springer spaniels) warning growl (only the second time in 13 years that I have heard it) I looked around and could not immediately ascertain the cause of his concern, until two foxes rushed out of the bushes and on to one of our set aside fields. I presumed that the ‘dog’ fox was pursuing the vixen with mating intent. Unfortunately for them my two Springer’s joined in the chase and after a few minutes running around the field ended up separating the two foxes which went in opposite directions .

11th January 2006

7 Fallow deer seen at 7-30am (at dawn) this morning heading back to traitors ford cover. They were all black (topped) deer in good condition and all had a tremendous leaping ability as they were seen to clear a five foot hedge from a standing jump.

The badgers are still emerging every evening (contrary to those who believe that they hibernate) There has been a lot of badgers digging and not all in the setts!

The swan is still here

4th January 2006

The mute swan is still on one of our ponds being fed every day along with the other feathered visitors. Michael and I watched it  chase off two other mute swans that flew in on a visit yesterday. I was surprised how aggressive the swan was considering it was out numbered two to one.

Lots of badger activity recently with the badgers digging out their setts (ready for the birth of their cubs) They have also spent a considerable time digging up and  turning over the grassed areas that surround the ponds and badger setts presumably looking for leather jackets.

26th December 2005

On the 23rd December a blackbird sang us a song in the mild morning sunshine for about 10 minutes. I guess he thought that spring was here! How wrong he was! The rooks were making the same mistake as well. They were attending to their nests in the rookery at Traitors Ford for most of the morning.

A lone mute swan came to one of our ponds for Christmas dinner and is still here on boxing day (apparently to full to fly)

29th November 2005

4 inches of snow fell last evening the badgers stayed underground last night with only  two exceptions. We have numerous birds feeding from various points including a grey heron on our top pond (the only pond not frozen over)

24th November 2005

I have just started helping the badgers with a supply of dry straw for their bedding. The weather here has been frosty for 8 days, but not quite frosty enough for me to have to give food aid to the badgers. (yet) The badgers have managed to dig up most of the banks round the ponds looking for larvae/leather jackets.  As long as they can find natural food I will be leaving them to do so (even though they are making a heck of a mess by stripping the turf off)

Many thanks to all those who have supported our project this year, with special thanks to Astrid who made a tremendous effort coming all the way from southern Germany to watch the College Barn Farm badgers

17th September 2005

18 mistle thrushes cleared all the slugs of my lawn this morning

The first clear barn owl photograph taken at College Barn Farm

by Steve Sargent September 15th 2005

(the rest of Steve’s photographs can be found by clicking photographs in the left hand column and then clicking the Steve Sargent button)

15th September 2005

Barn owls, woodpeckers, Jays and badgers have all made good progress this year

11 badger cubs, 3 green woodpecker chicks, 4 Jay chicks, 2 greater spotted woodpecker chicks have all matured to adulthood  this year at College Barn Farm.

Swallows swallows swallows swallows

One pair of swallows  reared three broods of chicks in our old barn this year, a total of 13 chicks fledged.

I was treated to a spectacular flying display by about 2000 swallows feeding off insects at an inch or so above ground level on a newly planted rape field yesterday. I have never seen so many swallows in one place or flying so low or so close together with out any apparent accidents.

10th September 2005

I spotted a white adult fallow deer hiding amongst the trees in our plantation yesterday morning at 7am it seemed completely unconcerned with my presence even though I was only 10 metres away from it.

The badger watching has been excellent with the occasional fox joining the badgers for an evenings browse keeping the watchers on the edge of the seat. A pair of barn owls are being seen regularly late at dusk, hunting for their supper over the plantation and the wild bird cover.

You can find all of the 2005 wildlife notes and pictures of 2005 badgers by clicking the wildlife notes 2005 link in the left hand panel.

The badger watching has been excellent with the occasional fox joining the badgers for an evenings browse keeping the watchers on the edge of the seat. A pair of barn owls are being seen regularly late at dusk, hunting for their supper over the plantation and the wild bird cover.

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