Under or Over

Jessie is developing her skills

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Here learning the difference between

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Under

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and over

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Duck watching is a favourite

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and football

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But boots…

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…are best

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Avian Valentines

As the sun disappears, after a day of non-stop duty

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and the moon takes over the cloudless sky

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a busy day comes to an end.

Blue Tits have turned their mind to mate attraction, laying claim to desirable residences and shouting about them very loudly.

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“This one is mine”

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This individual

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is probably unaware that its chosen home

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is fitted with a camera inside.

In the trees down the valley

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a Mistle Thrush shouts its claim.

A tortoiseshell is tempted from overwintering in the house to take a trip outside

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and the crocuses

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see if they can open just a little bit wider

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Darling the Starling

Every winter our resident bird population grows a thousand fold

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as the Starlings descend

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taking over the fields

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taking over the trees

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and taking over the feeders

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At the end of every afternoon they head off South-West to roost

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All except one

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Darling the Starling has decided to roost with some of the hens

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It does not seem to have difficulty flying as it heads off each day but it is either deficient or ostracised

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as it is now part of this flock

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Cagney looks on

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Feeding the semi-hibernating hedgehog

During the summer drought our hedgehog population vanished.  In previous years it was not unusual to see five or six individuals visit the feeding bowls.

The parched hard ground made a diet of beetles and worms impossible to find. In addition we had evidence of a very hungry badger (who would also normally feed on worms) increasing its range in search of food – which might well have included hedgehogs. We did care for and release 2 summer hoglets, where their mothers had probably died as a result of badgers or the drought. And this winter we have had two vet referrals living in the hoggery hostel, now semi-hibernating.

As we have a feral cat that does the rounds every night,

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our hedgehog feeder now looks like this

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with a supposed cat-proof maze inside

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We have seen the cat weasel its way through there but it must have had some good hunting as this week it has a try

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and walks away

One never knows when a hibernating hedgehog is going to get up for a quick snack so this week we were pleased to see this had happened

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definitely not a cat

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Last night we got further evidence

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Good to see activity again.

One week catch up

Here is a quick round up of some pictures from the last seven days…

Snow on the ground always provides a new way of seeing familiar shapes:

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Likewise, ice gives new form to familiar places

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The ducks spent a lot of time eating snow and ice

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or just blending in

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The pigs just take it in their stride

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Bird numbers around the feeders have been high. There were up to a hundred tits and other small birds in the trees and bushes around this feeder this morning

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By contrast, a walk through the surrounding fields is very quiet.

On our patch the Blue Tits are ever present

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and the Robins can always be relied on to pop up

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different individuals each having their own territory (although this is the same one!)

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Here the starlings head off to roost at the end of the day

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It is very seldom to have a day without some bit brightness in the sky

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or on the surrounding hills

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and shafts of light provide new images as the year shifts their angle

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