Days 13-15 – Walk instead of Drive, Magpie Thief, Sunset – 30 Days Wild

Day 13 – Walk instead of Drive

I went out for dinner to a local restaurant and instead of a 5-10 minute drive, we walked instead. It took about 35 minutes and our walk took us past a farm with cows and sheep close by. Two cows were dining next to each other on some long grass. Two goldfinch flew out of a tree right in front of us and twittered as they landed on a fence and then flew into the distance. It was a pretty warm walk, but it was totally worth it.
Day 14 – Magpie Thief

Last year I wrote about a magpie stealing a pigeons egg, and another attacking a rat that had just climbed out of a drain. This year, I witnessed a magpie learning to land on our window seed-feeder. The magpie is so big compared to the feeder that is had to squat down in order to fit inside. The magpie was stealing seeds from the feeder, and purposely knocking many seeds out of the seed tray by swinging its beak side to side. Naughty magpie! 

Day 15 – Watch the Sunset

A simple pleasure – watching a pretty sunset. I’ve been waiting all week for a good sunset, and today I finally got one. The clouds were pink as the sun went down, but the pinkness slowly faded to blue.

Days 6-8 – Plan a Wild Trip, Bug Rescue & Spring Watch

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I have been researching into a wild trip. I want to see puffins and red squirrels, so I started looking into trips to see puffins. Last year my friend went to Skomer Island, off the coast of Wales, to take photos and it sounded awesome. I have been researching into the trip. It turns out the Wildlife Trust of South & West Wales has the details.

 

Boat trips only run 3 times a days, and only 250 people are allowed on the island per day to protect the envirnoment and habitat for the wildlife. Different wildlife you can see (depending on the time of year you visit) are:

  • Puffins
  • Dolphins
  • Porpoises
  • Seals
  • Guillemots
  • Razorbills
  • Rabbits
  • Short-eared owls

 

This sounds awesome! I might have to wait until next year to go, as my summer is getting full, and the best time to see the puffins between April and July.
Day 7 – Bug Rescue

At lunch time at work there were a few bugs that decided to fly in the door of the canteen and join our table. First of all, a bumblebee flew in and was buzzing by the window. Next was a green shield bug, then a tiny green beetle that ended up sitting on the table in front of me. My colleague wanted to squish it so I was the bug’s personal body guard and kept it safe. Eventually all the bugs flew outside, but I was ready to rescue them.
Day 8 – Watched Spring Watch & Hedgehog Video

Today I came across this hedgehog video – that’s twice I’ve seen this behaviour on video now. It made me laugh. I also watched Spring Watch on BBC2. It was heart-warming to watch the baby swallows being so well fed by the adults, and the peregrines adopting another chick that wasn’t theirs. My favourite was the stoat that was so agile as it jumped over tall grass to move her kits to a cleaner nest.

Day 4 – Bird Sounds – 30 Days Wild

Today’s nature task was totally unplanned. I had some time to kill, so I sat for half an hour and listened to the sound of the wind through the trees and the birds outside. 

Since having our seed feeder out, I have learnt the sound of a Chaffinch calling. Mr Chaffinch is our most frequent visitor and I could hear him calling in the nearby trees. I can tell it’s a Mr Chaffinch by his bright colours. He then came to visit our feeder.

There was a Magpie about too – also a frequent sound I hear. But there was another couple of birds that I couldn’t identify, so I’ll have to research these sounds:

Our first seed-feeder visitor

For Christmas I got my boyfriend a seed feeder to stick to the outside of our window. It has been up for four months, but yesterday was the first time we had a visitor to it. They have finally found it! 


Within a minute of the great tit visiting, a jay landed on the window sill. It could see me through the window, and kept ducking down behind our clothes horse that was up. I tried to snap a picture but it flew off. 
The great tit visited twice, and later on the jay tried the window sill again. We are super happy our seed shop finally has customers!

Big Garden Birdwatch 2017

This year the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch was over the weekend of 28th – 30th January. I really enjoy taking part, counting the birds outside for an hour. It’s a great chance to catch up with my mum too!
This year I did two bird counts – one at my parents’ house and one at my flat. I did both with my mum which was lovely. Although, my parents’ garden had way more interesting birds visiting. I miss getting so many. But the results were not surprising – my parents have 8 bird feeders in their garden vs none in the garden of the flats.
The results were as follows *drum roll please*:

At the flat:

  • 8 wood pigeons
  • 1 carrion crow
  • 1 great tit
  • 2 squirrels (bonus guests)
  • 1 rat (super bonus guest)

At my parents’ garden:

  • 2 robins
  • 4 blue tits
  • 2 great tits
  • 5 black birds
  • 6 wood pigeons
  • 4 goldfinches
  • 2 bullfinches
  • 2 dunnocks
  • 1 sparrow
  • 2 starlings
  • 2 nuthatches

Rat vs Magpie

 

 I can’t believe this happened right in front of me today. I was walking into town when a rat climbed out of a drain by the kerb a few metres away from me. It jumped up the kerb and ran across my path to a grassy patch and the safety of nestling up close to a brick wall. I stopped to take a photo and then started taking a video as the rat ran and jumped forwards over the grass that was about the same height as her.
As I was taking a video, a magpie jumped down and tried to attack the rat – right in front of me – and the rat screeched. The magpie jumped up and landed on a street name sign. I didn’t know what to do but instinctively wanted to protect the rat so I scared the magpie away. The rat ran back to the grassy area by the brick wall and started walking next to the wall. There was another magpie sitting on the roof of the house behind the wall, and the attacker-magpie was in a tree just below it. I stood there, knowing my presence would deter the birds from attacking. The rat probably didn’t even know I was protecting it, but I stayed until the birds flew away. I considered guiding the rat towards safety, but I wasn’t sure the best place for it as it was a residential area. I left the rat where it was, hoping that the magpies wouldn’t return. 

Here is the video I took:

30 Days Wild – Day 26 – Wildlife Count & Baby Birds

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_26

I have watched the wildlife from my window for months now and have never made a note of what I actually see. So today I spent 20 minutes, whilst eating my breakfast, to make a note of the wildlife that came to visit. Here goes:

  • Carrion Crow
  • Squirrel
  • Rat
  • Noisy Blackbird
  • 2 small brown birds that were too fast to identify
  • Sparrow
  • Flying overhead: Swift

 

Nowhere near as much as the wildlife that visits my parents’ garden. I also visited my parents’ house again and got to see an adult starling with two young starlings visit the feeders, and also a blue tit adult with two young blue tits. I really enjoy watching the birds visit – there is always something going on in the garden to watch. One juvenile blue tit was furiously vibrating its wings to get the adult’s attention. I managed to take a photo just at the right moment to catch the adult feeding the juvenile – amazing!

BluetitsFeeding3