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.
… choose a bigger blade of grass to hide behind.
It’s hard to keep track of them, and which is male and female (most of them are male we think), but they all seem to be having fun in the sun.
Doesn’t look like a fresh badger paw print though.
The first common toad of the year, all by himself. Won’t be long before his friends arrive.
The first sighting of mating frogs: this pair of common frogs appeared this evening and are enjoying themselves in the rain. There are likely to be many more appearing over the next few days. Spring can’t be far away!
Hiding in one of the outbuildings one night last week. See, it’s not all about barn owls!
The two fledgling stock doves couldn’t get out of the barn owl nest box (due to the entrance being too high up) so we took the side off to help them. Here’s one of them mustering up enough courage to make its first flight. Its nervousness may be partly related to the nest box being about twelve feet off the ground.
You can just make out the other fledgling on a branch next to the nest box. It had just made its first flight and was encouraging its sibling.
A few days ago we left food out for the barn owls for the last time: if they didn’t come for it we knew they had dispersed. The food didn’t go to waste though: the next morning a greedy buzzard saw to that.
It’s the season for caterpillars of all sorts (though we could do without the Large Whites on our cabbages).
Twenty eight days old and the two stock dove fledglings have learnt to fly, though they’re still living in the nest box.
What we hadn’t noticed was that one of the parents had returned to nest with the two fledglings. This wouldn’t normally happen (they would only return to feed them) and we have found out why: the adult, now clearly female, is sitting on a new clutch. Stock doves do lay more than one clutch each year, but it is a bit unusual to not even wait for the first to leave the nest.
You can just make out an egg under the female dove.
So it’s a Meadow Brown butterfly.
Fifteen days old and the two stock dove fledglings are almost ready to fly (but fortunately can’t leave too soon because of the high entrance to the barn owl box). They’re still growing though and the adults are busy trying to satisfy their hunger while not get trampled on at the same time.
The first sighting of a cormorant on the pond. It didn’t stay long (not much for it to eat).
Six days old and the two stock dove chicks are already losing their fluff as their new feathers appear. In only three weeks time they’ll be fully fledged and will have left the nest.
Sooner than we expected: the stock dove eggs have hatched to reveal two tiny yellow wriggling balls of feathers.
The two stock dove eggs are being well looked after in the other barn owl nest box, with both parents taking turns to incubate them. Not long before hatching!
When the stock dove left the nest a few days ago (after unsuccessfully incubating a single egg) we took the opportunity to check over the nest box and move the camera. Within a day the stock dove returned and is now sitting on two new eggs. No sign of the male so she’s in for a long self-isolation. Quite determined behaviour!
A flock of house martins has descended on the lake to collect mud for their nest building. We thought they were swallows but the white rump, shorter tail and lack of red on the face = house martin.
Tipton’s Croft isn’t always about owls!