RSPB: OUR BIG GARDEN BIRDWATCH 30/03/2013

WELCOME BACK TO OUR ‘BIG GARDEN BIRDWATCH’

This week we have seen many species return and our wildlife has come to life after the cold winter even though we seem to be experiencing the coldest March for some years with the sub-zero temps and wind-chills staying at a constant -3 to -11 most days and nights. The suet is going well and the Coconut Treats with Cereal and Buggy Bits n Mealworms are going fast still.

*I was indeed saddened this week to read the news that in Ireland there have thousands of new born Lambs been killed and buried in several feet of snow which killed them straight away their poor little bodies would not have stood to the cold and freezing conditions, God Bless…as this will be the case for all wildlife and their newborn, more commonly in our gardens will be the baby birds/chicks, baby hedgehogs etc…if you find any abandoned wildlife weak and affected by the cold and freezing conditions. Please if you are able to wrap it up in your coat or jacket gently, take it home and place in a box with warm towels, give some milk either through a straw, a syringe  or on a saucer. Ring your nearest RSPCA/ RSPB/ Wildlife Rescue Centre.* You can look these up in your Yellow Pages or Google the internet!!!!!

Meanwhile…here on the ranch, colder nights are drawing in even though it is late afternoon and the sun is going down the Long-Tail Tits are having their supper on the Coconut and Robins are taking their Buggy Bits in their Treat Tray. As we are blessed with their “Even Song” here are some pics I took earlier of their new feeders and treats, bird feeders etc…Enjoy!!

Right Window Treat Tray and Hanging Coconut Treat with Buggy Bits Mealworm Suet Currants Sultanas Rasins   Coconut Treat started 27th March   Right Window Feeding Station visited by Log-Tail Tit on Coconut Treat midevening

Right Window Bird Feeding Station:

Treat Tray and Hanging Coconut Treat with Dried Mealworm Suet Currants Sultanas Rasins and Coconut Treat started 27th March. Long-Tail Tit on Coconut Treat mid-evening.

Left Window Bird Feeders Window Feeder & Fat Ball Feeder and Recycled Water Feeder   Left Window Bird Feeders Window Feeder and Fat Ball feeder and Water Feeder

 Left Window Bird Feeding Station:

Window Feeder: Feast feeder Supreme Premium Wild Bird Care: Wheat, Chopped Maze, Black Sunflowers, Naked Oats, White Dari, Red Dari, Safflower Seed, Red Millet, Yellow Millet, Other small seeds.

RSPB: Bugs & Bits Sprinkles: High Protein Dried Mealworms, Water Flies and River Shrimps.

3 x Fat Ball Feeder: RSPB: Good Quality Fat, Cereal and Seeds.

Recycled Bottle Water Feeder for drinking and washing.

Written By Lizzie & Joshua Christian. Copyrighted (C) 30/03/2013

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RSPB: BIG GARDEN BIRDWATCH 29/03/2013

    WELCOME BACK TO OUR ‘BIG GARDEN BIRDWATCH’

This week we are being graced by the presence of our local Grey Squirrel

Enjoy the photos we were blessed to capture.

Gray Squirrel 25th 1   Gray Squirrel  25th 2   Gray Squirrel 25th 3

Gray Squirrel 29th 1   Gray Suirrel 29th 4

 EASTERN GRAY SQUIRREL  Sciurus carolinensis

‘Sammy Squirrel’

We have nicknamed our local Squirrel who’s nest site is high up in this Ivy clad tree way up high the front entrance where he scampers up into after gathering his monkey nuts we throw down to the ground for Squirrel and the ‘Jays’. Squirrel sits upon the branch nibbling the husks off the nuts as he allows us to watch in delight then he turns and hides back to us he munches away quite happily. Then he scampers down his tree and gathers courage as shy as he is, comes down to the the grassy bank laden with monkey nuts and picks one one up and returns back to his branch. And sometimes we are graced with a show of affection with a shake of a bushy tail or a dance amongst the trees as we watch with glee. For we are so blessed to be able to be caretakers of sweet mother earth, to look after the winged ones, four-leggeds and creatures, our LORD’s Creation.

 

GRAY SQUIRREL  Sciurus carolinensis

These squirrels have grey fur and often sit upright with their large bushy tails arched over their backs. Grey squirrels, originally from North America, were released in the UK by 19th century landowners. They are now very common and widespread. Grey squirrels are active during the day, foraging for food in trees and on the ground – they often visit peanut feeders in gardens. In the autumn they spend time storing nuts to eat during the winter. Their nest, called a drey, is a compact, spherical structure. It is slightly larger than a football and constructed of twigs, leaves, bark and grass.Grey squirrels tend to breed in between January and April and, if food is plentiful, they may have a second litter in the summer.They are extremely successful and have replaced our native red squirrels over most of the UK.

Eastern Gray Squirrels are the most frequently seen mammal in our area. They are members of the Rodent family,  and spend most of their lives in threes.

Eastern Gray Squirrels can grow 17 to 20 inches long. They have greyish-brown fur, except for their bellies, which have pale fur. The tail often has silvery-tipped hairs at the end. This animal doe have a black phase, which means some of them are nearly all black; but thee are not as common.

Eastern Gray Squirrels usually live in forests, but they are also seen in back yards, gardens, and city parks. Basically, they live anywhere there are large, deciduous trees (trees whose leave leaves die in the Fall/Autumn). These squirrels live in trees all year round, either in cavities or nests they build out of leaves. Cavities are often old woodpecker holes. Nests are usually high up in the crotches. Nests are hard to see in the Summer because they are made with green leaves, and are hidden by foliage (leaves on the trees). They are easy to see in Winter, when the nest leaves have turned brown and tree leaves fall to the ground. The trees most commonly ised by Eastern Gray Squirrels to live in are White Oak, American Beech, American Elm, Red Maple, and Sweetgum, though they will use  others also.

29032013752   29032013753

‘Sammy’ Gray Squirrel’s Home Beech Trees

This is our local Squirrel’s nesting holes you can see the front entrance and there is a back entrance to their nest at the back of this tree. Just below where the Ivy starts there is a tree hollow which is also used as an entrance to the nest. I have been watching this family of Squirrel’s for over 12 years and the many generations of  this Squirrel Family.

Squirrels mate in the Winter, and you can often see males chasing females up, and down, and around trees. Once mated, both the male and female build the nest.

Gray Squirrel 29th  2  Gray Squirrel  29th 3  Gray Squirrel  29th 5   Gray Squirrel  29th 3

Gray Squirel 29th 7   Gray Squirrel 29th 9

Gray Squirrel 29th 10   Gray Squirrel 29th 11

Gray Squirrel 29th 12   Gray Squirrel 29th 13

Gray Squirrel 29th 14

We were graced by our local Squirrel’s running up and down and along the trees and branches showing off his graceful leaps n bounds. We were able to capture this frame by frame pics with our Nokia Camera which was awesome, we just watched in awe. This last shot was just before he jumped to his Ivy clad tree and shot up to the front entrance of his nest head first all you saw was the bushy tail following his head and body bless.

Eastern Gray Squirrels are very active, especially in the morning and evening (crepuscular times). During these times they are constantly moving. Usually, they are looking for food.”text-align:The diet of the Eastern Gray Squirrel includes: Acorns, Hickory, Nuts, Walnuts, Beechnuts, Maple (Buds, Bark, and Samaras), Yellow Poplar Blossoms, American Hornbeam, Seeds, Apples, Fungi, Black Cherry, Flowering Dogwood, Grapes, American Holly, Insects, (adults and larvae), Baby birds, Bird eggs, and Amphibian. Sometimes they even eat each other!

Eastern Gray Squirrels will also visit bird-feeders, dig up flower bulbs, and steal garden vegetables. Squirrels will often bury their food at a new spot, near the surface of the ground. In winter, when food is scarce, they will use their sense of smell to relocate their “Secret” food. But they don’t always find all of their stashed food, so they indeed help “Plant” new trees and plants, letting them grow in new places.

29032013749   29032013751

An Abundance of Money Nuts especially for “Sammy” Squirrel and when Squirrel is not around the Jays will swoop down for them too!!

The most important predators of the Eastern Gray Squirrels are Hawks, Owls, Red Fox, Raccoons and Snakes.

Sometimes you will see a nearby bald squirrel. This means it is suffering from mange, an illness caused by mites. This needs to be reported to RSPCA or RSPB or other animal/wildlife rescue centers in your area.

From time to time, Eastern Gray Squirrels have short battles with Pileated Woodpeckers over tree cavities. Usually the Squirrel Wins!!

Well folks it is time for a well earn’t mug of hot mocha coffee and go to our “hide” and watch our birds and wildlife do their wonderful thing.

Written by Lizzie & Joshua Christian. Copyrighted (c) 29/03/2013

 

OUR BIG GARDEN BIRDWATCH 24/03/2013

WELCOME BACK TO OUR ‘BIG GARDEN BIRDWATCH’

This week has welcomed the returning of our feathered friends

a ‘family of four’ or ‘two pairs’ of ‘Long – Tailed Tits’

Enjoy our photos.

  Longtailed Tit 1   Longtailed Tit 2

Longtailed Tit 3   Longtailed Tit 4   longtailed Tit 5   Longtailed Tit 6   Longtailed Tit 7

Longtailed Tit 8   Longtailed Tit 9   Longtailed Tit 10

LONG – TAILED TIT (Aegithalos caudatus)

This tiny rounded body and slender tail of the Long-tailed Tit give it a ‘ball and stick’ shape that is unique among European birds. In Summer, family parties move noisily through bushes and undergrowth, but in Winter they often travel through woodland in much larger groups, crossing gaps between the trees, one or two at a time. Has a black band on white head; all-white in N. face. Black and pink back, long, black, white-sided tail, dull white below. Black and white plumage, pink shoulders and dark wing.

Over the last few weeks we have noticed their increase February into March when our local Pair have become a family of Four and do they argue who has the Coconut Treat first and they don’t appreciate it when Great Tit comes along and try’s to muscle in bless there is an  almighty squabble amongst the pecking order! Lordy, Lordy…and whilst this is going on poor Robin flies in and out grabs a tasty morsal the biggest meal-worm when he can from his favourite Treat tray. It like being in a ‘kindergatern’ bless. They all have their own pecking order and territorial in their own rite as God intended. We are so very blessed to be able to be gifted in being Caretakers of our land and looking after the Lord’s Creatures.

HABITS: Highly sociable species producing large broods of young and travelling through woods and along hedgess in family flocks for for much of the year. They roost in groups and durring cold weather huddle together to conserve body heat. Restless and acrobatic as they feed actively amongst branches of trees and bushes, often hanging upside down to reach to reach food. In spring, it has a butterfly-like display flight.

FEEDING & FOOD: Feeds on invertebrates, including flies, beetles and spiders, also on eggs, larvae, pupae and adults of moths and butterflies. Also eats seeds, and has adapted to feeding tables and on hanging food. This behaviour has become more widespread in recent years. Tiny insects and spiders taken from twigs and foliage, some seeds.

HABITAT: Breeds along deciduous woodland fringes, in scrub, hedgerows, parks, and in other bushy places. Outside breeding season travels more widely and sometimes visits gardens where there are bushes and trees. Lives in woods with bushy undergrowth. Increasingly visits garden feeders.

VOICE: Common cal is a thin, high pitch ‘see, see, see’ often interspersed with a short, rolling ‘thrup’ . Song rarely heard – an elaborate version of the calls. High, thin, colourless seee seee seee; short,, abrupt, low trrp or zerrp.

NESTING: Nesting begins in late March and early April. Male and female build the nest in bramble, gorse or other thick shrubs. It is a delicate round or oval tructure made from moss bound with cobwebs and lined with lots of feathers. The outside is covered in litchens. The result is a rther elastic nest that expands with the growing young inside. The entrance whole is at the side. Female incubates 6-8 eggs that hatch after about 15 days. Young fly after 16 days and arefed by both parents, andfor a further 2 weeks or so after fledgling.  Some adults, especially males that fail to rear their young, frequently help to feed a neighbouring family. Rounded nest of litchen, moss, cobwebs, and feathers with side entrance in low bish; 8 – 12 eggs; 1 brood; April-June.

Today…we put up a new Coconut Treat for the Long-tailed tits and Woody. We also put up anew birdfeeder with a long tray andperches and three suckers to sucker to the window which os cool. We wit to seehoisbraveenough to try it out first LOL. We may have to remove the treat tray until they get used tothenew feeder. All in la very cold day indeed. We will be back tomorrow with more pics and news of our Friendly Feathered Friends Tweet Tweet!

Written by Lizzie and Joshua Christian Copyrighted (c) 26/03/2013

 

RSPB: HOMES FOR WILDLIFE

Welcome Back!

http://www.rsbp.org/hfw

March update

It has seemed a long time coming, hasn’t it?, but you get the feeling that spring is about to launch itself at us. I get a rush of excitement just thinking about it – ahead lies all that birdsong, the first butterflies, croaking frogs and beautiful blossom.

Some of you may even have frogspawn already, or robins starting to nest. Let us know.

However, there are still many birds around which haven’t started to think about nesting yet, such as siskins. This is the best year in ages for seeing these bright little finches in gardens. Unfortunately it has been a poor year for the tree seeds they feed on out in the countryside, but you give them a lifeline with the supplementary food you put out. Try nyjer seed for best results.

Well, I stopped for a moment whilst writing and noticed that my bird feeders are running low. And I must prune that late-flowering clematis and my buddleias and caryopteris, and start the big garden tidy up after the winter. There’s so much to do – I believe ‘bring it on’ is the phrase these days!

Happy gardening.

Adrian

Things to watch for in March

The first butterflies of spring are always a delight to see. Almost always it is one of our species that has overwintered but which will it be in your garden?

Bright yellow male brimstones? Peacocks with their big ‘eye’ spots? Or it could be jaggedy-edged commas, tiger-striped small tortoiseshells, or black, red and white red admirals? Most will start by getting warm in a sheltered, sunny hotspot, so it is a great month to photograph them.

Come and learn more about gardening for wildlife at the RSPB’s new garden in Suffolk. Our wildlife garden at Flatford, near Ipswich, is entering its third year and maturing beautifully. It is a lovely location in which to learn how to garden with wildlife in mind.

Shirley Boyle, our head gardener there, will be running Homes for Wildlife workshops on Saturday 27 April, 29 June, and 14 September, 10 am to 4 pm, just £45 per person.

Places are limited to 10 adults for each, so you are ensured individual attention. Shirley has a degree in horticulture, is trained in garden design and has 12 years’ experience in the field.

For more details, please call on 01206 391153 or email shirley.boyle@rspb.org.uk

Adrian Thomas,
Wildlife gardening expert

A True Gift of Nature Not To Be Missed Once in A Life-Time 2011 L4 Panstarrs Comet Not Predicted to return to our skies for 110,000 years caught on Camera NASA

11 March 2013 09:32 | By MSN UK News

Once-in-a-lifetime comet spotted in Australia

Object not expected to return to Earth for thousands of years


The comet Panstarrs (© AP, Nasa)

AP, Nasa

A comet that is not predicted to return to our skies for 110,000 years has been caught on camera.

The comet, known as 2011 L4 Panstarrs, has taken millions of years to travel from the Oort cloud: a huge colony of icy objects at the very edge of the solar system.

The comet Panstarrs (© AP, Nasa)

AP, Nasa

Throughout March it will be close enough to Earth to be visible through binoculars or a telescope.

On 5 March, conditions were ideal for it to be photographed when it passed over Mount Dale in western Australia – resulting in this stunning image, which has just been released by Nasa.

Another chance to spot the comet is tomorrow, 12 March, when its trajectory passes low in western sky throughout the evening.

And towards the end of the month Panstarrs will rise higher in the sky, making it easier to see.

If you do miss it, don’t worry: another comet is expected to make a more dramatic appearance in November.

Comet Ison is predicted to fly much closer to the sun than Panstarrs, causing it to light up.

Experts say it could be bright enough to see in daylight, but from the UK it will only be visible low in the sky.

OUR BIG GARDEN BIRDWATCH 11/03/2013

Welcome back to our ‘Big Garden Birdwatch’

This month has welcomed the returning of our feathered friends

‘Greater Spotted Woodpecker’ and ‘Jay’

Enjoy our photos.

Great Spotted Woodpecker Male Knocking  Top off dead Tree Trunk for Insects 08032013   Great Spotted Woodpecker Male Knocking tree Bark for Insects 08032013   Great Spotted Woodpecker Male 10032013

GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER (Dendrocopos major)

Our Great Spotted Woodpecker feathered friend has come back this year, a Male adult, knocking a long the trees and branches. We have seen him on the Coconut Treat, hanging outside our window that he enjoys, we’ve see him hanging upside-down knocking into the fat and buggy-bits, a real treat! As and when he will let us take a pic we will upload for you all to see. He has striking beautiful Black and white plumage and a small bit of Red at the back of his head and beneath is tail . The photos we have taken through the windows on the 08/03/2013 yep it was wet and cold that day, but our Great Spotted friend was out and about knocking the bark for bugs n beetles.

HABITS: The rapid “drum roll” of this bird is a common sound of Spring Woodland. The Woodpecker itself is often easy to locate, propped on its tail as it hammers at back or timber. Although similar to the Middle Spotted, it has less red on its head,  and more beneath is tail. He has a bright red on back of his head, bright buff below, bold black and white above and vivid red under his tail. Rarely seen on the ground. Generally solitary outside the breeding season. When danger threatens, it will spiral up a tree trunk or branch and often ‘freezes’ on the side facing away from the danger. When attacking food with tongue shells it it will wedge it in a crevice in a tree trunk or branch and hammer it open with its powerful bill. During courtship pairs engage in noisy chases among the trees.

HABITAT: Likely to be found almost anywhere there are trees, both in coniferous and deciduous woods, provided the trees are large enough to support the nest-holes. Some live in parks and large mature gardens in urban locations.

FEEDS ON:  Feeds mainly on insects in Summer and seeds and nuts in Winter. Eats  a wide variety of insects, including adults and larvae of wood-boring beetles, which the woodpecker reaches by chipping away at dead wood and using its long tongue to reach into the insects’ chambers. Will also create a hole in a nest box to reach the young birds inside, which it then eats or feeds to its own young. May visit bird tables and will frequently cling to hanging feeders. Gardens and scrub a well as mature woodlands; breeds in both deciduous and conifer woods. digs insects and grubs from bark with strong bill; also seeds and berries. He will hang from a peanut feeder and coconut fat, seed, treats.

NESTING:  Bore nest hole in tree trunk or branch; 4-7 eggs, 1 brood; April-June.

VOICE: Sharp and loud ‘kick, kick’ may be heard throughout the year and is often the best indication of the bird’s presence. ‘Song’ is an instrumental sound made by drumming with its bill on a branch. The short bursts of drumming last around 5 seconds and accelerate before fading away at the end. Most drumming takes place in late winter and early spring.

Later…today we threw out some Monkey Nuts in their shells we thought for the local Squirrel, but little did we know we had other company. Josh said look there through there a new bird…we looked and behold there were two Jays swooping down and picking up every one of the Monkey nuts we put down. Flabbergasted we threw and a whole load more monkey nuts down on to the ground and sat back and watched they showed themselves even though being very shy birds but even though one after another each of the Jay few off with every one of them Monkey nuts, and as we thought they were storing them for the winter and for feeding their chicks. It was amazing and we were truly blessed with the visit and they will be back later for sure when we get some more Monkey Nuts. Enjoy our photo they allowed us to take.

Jay in branches waiting to come down to pick up monket nuts for winter and chicks 10032013   Jay in branches woodland 10032013   Jay in branches woodland 10032013a

jay gathering with a beak full of insects or beetles10032013  Jay gathering monkey nuts from scrubland and Ivy. beautiful markings and colours 10032013

‘JAY’ (Garrulus glandarius)

Noisy but shy, the Jay often keeps to thick cover and beats a swift retreat if disturbed, flying off with a flash of its bold white rump. It has a curious habit of allowing ants to run over it plumage, probably to employ the ants’ chemical defences against parasites. Mostache thick and black, pinkish grey body; barred blue wing panel; white patch on black wings; white under tail and black tail. “Anting” posture and raised crest.

HABITS: For most of the year a secretive woodland bird that is more likely to be heard than seen. However, individual birds or small groups become more obvious as they travel away from woods in late summer and autumn, and search out new supplies of food, especially acorns. On the ground it moves with a series of hops. Flight can appear laboured and ‘floppy’, but it is manoeuvrable in woodlands. Territorial when breeding, but in spring gatherings of 3-30 Jays may take place. Breeds in woodland and parks,  especially with oak trees, and visits gardens.

HABITAT: Essentially a woodland bird that lives in both coniferous and deciduous woods especially where there are oak trees. Also found in copses,spinneys and parks. Has recently moved into suburban areas in many parts of southern Britain and is frequently seen in gardens, cemetries and other places with mature trees.

FEEDS ON: Eats mainly insects in summer, with some eggs and nestling, stores acorns in autumn for use i n winter. Acorns are eaten all year round, and sometimes fed to the young. This is possible through the Jay’s habit of hiding food and recovering it later. Food may be hidden in crevices in trees, but is most often buried and covered. Also eats insects, especially caterpillars, cockchafers and other beetles, fruit, nuts, eggs, nestlings of other birds and small mammals.

NESTING: Bulky stick nest, low in dense bush; 4-5 eggs; 1 brood; April-June. Nesting begins in mid-A pril. Nest of twigs lined with fine roots and hair is built by both adults on a branch in a fork in a tree. Female incubates 4-5 eggs for about 18 days. Young are fed by both adults and leave their nest after about 21-22 days, but continue to be fed by their parents until they are 6-8 weeks old.

VOICE: Call is a harsh screech that travels considerable distance through the woods. It also has other, less obvious calls, including a Nasal, mewing pee-on, sound, short bark; loud, harsh, cloth-tearing skairk!

Well my lovelies, fellow Bird Watchers and Twichers, thats it for today.

Sending prayers for a good day:-)

Written By Lizzie and Joshua Christian Copyrighted (c) 11/03/2013