Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Almost invisible

About this time of year you can spot skeleton leaves. Some are almost transparent and they are as white as bones. They've survived the winter weather and if you're lucky you can find some with minimal damage. Take a look with a magnifying glass, the structure of the leaves is very clear and the colours are subtle yet beautiful.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

At last a badger!

At about 9pm by pure chance I turned on the outside light, and there it was on the terrace. I was so excited - and there was some swearing as I rushed for the camera and asked it to shoot a moving subject in feeble light. I can't remember the last time I've been so happy with a photograph. 

Sunday, 17 February 2013

The first butterfly

Spring is definitely stirring in the country helped along with the welcome return of warm sunshine. The first butterfly of the year, a red admiral appeared along with a couple of bumblebees and the snowdrops were popping open everywhere.

The Fantastic Mr Fox turned up and despite his lack of teeth he managed to eat a lot of bread and cheese rind I'd put out for the birds. Before Christmas he's obviously had a nasty near miss with a car. He had a huge injury on his back and a terrible limp. Somehow he made it through the winter and he can just about run again now. I don't begrudge him the cheese rind at all. But the pheasant wasn't so pleased.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

The mole catcher

This weekend I met a mole catcher. A cheery straight forward chap. He worked away in the meadow in the pouring rain for about an hour. He checked traps, set new ones and spread the earth around from the molehills so next time he came he could see any new mole action. 

He gave me a couple of dead moles I'm aiming to get at the skeletons (I buried them rather than boil them for days - I'm not up to that). He said they rot down pretty fast.

I'd never held a mole before. Their feet are utterly astonishing. Essentially they seem to be soft, hairy bodies, a pink nose and huge front feet, that's about it. The mole catcher told me that their fur can brush both ways so they can go back or forward easily through tunnels. They have incredibly sensitive noses and you need to stay WELL CLEAR of their teeth.

I am now a big mole fan

Friday, 8 February 2013

Changing seasons

The light is changing so fast now, spring is most definitely on the way. Animals are finding mates and the air is full of bird song. I watched a pair of blue tits scouring the bark of a tree for food, they called to each other as they went. 

Now is a good time to get out and look for birds. In a few short weeks the trees will start 
to produce leaves and it will get harder to see them. 

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

A feathery lollipop

I am always happy to see these birds. Small, round, with a tiny black beak and long black and white tails they are not unlike feathery lollipops. 

They fly in small flocks, sometimes along with other sorts of tit. They flit through branches looking for insects and call to each other with little piping whistles. I was watching a flock and heard their calls suddenly change to one I'd not heard before - clearly an alarm call - as I watched a kestrel fly overhead.

They have the longest tail in proportion to body length of any British bird.

Seashore collection