Clearly not the lame heron that has been visiting the pond. This one seems quite happy stalking the fish (and frogs, toads and newts).
At last caught on camera: the fish thief! This grey heron has been visiting for a while, leaving big footprints in the mud around the pond, but today’s the first time he’s triggered the trail cam. Does seem to be limping though. Hopefully will get more footage soon with a better view.
Five greylag geece visited the pond this morning; lovely to see but the the appetite of geece can be rather destructive to fragile pond plants. They didn’t stay long, treating the pond rather like a motorway service station, and once they had their fill off they went, heading north.
We have a new nest box on one of the old oak trees on the edge of the field: this one for kestrels. Thanks to John and Mary from Talon Nest Boxes. Now we wait…
And now it’s time for the toads: unlike frogs they’re quite happy to be out on dry land.
A long way from home* but these three oystercatchers seem happy enough rootling around the edge of the pond.
*Shropshire isn’t renowned for its coast, or oysters!
Filmed over two nights on the same camera at a busy crossroads: a hare, a cat, a fox and a badger.
And here’s a composition of all four to show their relative sizes (the hare is closer to the camera so it looks bigger than it is).
We spotted this brown hare a few days ago running at full pelt into the distance but this morning filmed it on the trail cam undisturbed in the early morning sun. It is coming into the field (we hope looking for a nesting site) through the holes in the hedge that the badgers make. Unfortunately badgers and hares don’t mix well together but there’s not way we can let one in but not the other: we’ll have to leave nature to do its thing.
Just as the winds die down, the first frogs and toads have started to gather in the shallows around the pond edge: one of the first signs that spring is not far away.
A common frog
The unmistakable silhouette of a red kite over Tipton’s Croft. They’re not an unusual site around Shrewsbury but we don’t usually see them overhead here. The resident buzzard wasn’t impressed.
Today we had a delivery of some more native English fish to join the roach already resident in the pond: some three-spined stickleback and perch. Hopefully the pond will be big enough for them all to avoid each other as much as possible, as the perch are rather partial to eating small fish.
These freshwater shrimp are having fun wriggling around upside down on the underside of the ice in the old pond.
We know: they’re not actually shrimp and probably not the native Gammarus pulex but rather the interloper Crangonyx pseudogracilis.
Say hello to one large Great Crested Newt! Found on the floor of our garage, about a hundred yards from the pond, not very well, but perked up quickly once relocated to a more appropriate site in the undergrowth on the pond’s edge.
The three barn It’s not just owls! Summer is a great time of year for the insects too
It’s the time of year for our dragonflies to morph from larvae to adults. Here’s the discarded cast (‘exuvia’) of the old skin, probably from a broad-bodied chaser as we have lots of those here and this cast is quite big (about two inches long).
The roach’s spawning has attracted some unwelcome attention (for the roach) in the form of a little egret.
Didn’t take much to scare it off but it will be back!
The roach are spawning at last as the weather finally warms up. They’ve been getting all splashy in a clump of water crowfoot and have been at it all day.
Normally rather shy, today the roach are behaving like a pod of dolphins.
Having eaten all it wanted, the swan has gone elsewhere. We now have a small moorhen visiting instead. Rather noisy for its size!
A juvenile mute swan arrived today, quite bold and hungry, currently hoovering up the water crowfoot (which is a shame as it’s just started to flower). Lovely addition to the pond though.
Now the frogs and toads have had their fun it’s time for the newts. There are a lot of them this year, both smooth and great crested but now the water has become so clear they are easy to spot and the visiting hungry heron quite likes them for breakfast. Today only the smoothest of newts wanted to be photographed.