Monday, 5 November 2012

Red Squirrels V Buzzards: A Dilema ...

Hi everyone,

Ive just received an e-mail from BBC South, who are following up reports of buzzard attacks on red squirrels, here on the island. They are doing some research on this subject, with a view to a possible programme on this issue.

I myself have not heard of any attacks, nor seen any, but I guess that the way to investigate would be to inspect the nests of the buzzards to look for bones, fur, or remains of squirrels. I would imagine that the droppings/pellets would leave evidence too. I would imagine that only a licensed person would be able to do this, so a proper study seems to be the way forward.

Maybe more evidence needs to be gathered, a study made on the growing population of buzzards on the island vs the (declining?) numbers of red squirrels, would be a good start.
I for one, was totally against the cull of buzzards earlier this year, as were loads of people who signed my online petition. But the cull I beleive was only started by the hunting brigade who were against the buzzards, because of the losses in certain parts of the country of the young pheasants.
The buzzard is only doing what comes naturally of course.

Which brings us to the point, would it be right to have a partial cull of buzzard eggs to protect the red squirrels, if it was proven that these beautiful birds were seriously affecting the population of reds?
A tricky one!
A cull or partial cull to protect the red squirrels population on the island would be controversial, but I beleive if the issue of buzzards seriously affecting red squirrels, to the extent that they would become endangered then maybe this could be justified.

What does everyone think about this?
Have you seen or heard of any attacks?


Sunday, 8 July 2012

Its a bugs life..

Sorry about the title, lol...
Ive been testing out my new sigma 105mm macro lens recently, and what a superb bit of kit it is!
As the weather has been so rubbish Ive been using my garden to test the lens, in between showers that is!
I hav'nt yet found all the names of all the bugs, as Im new to all this, so if anyone can put a name to any of these beautiful creatures feel free to comment and I'll update them all...
For the purpose of identification I will number the pics, any help with names will be much appreciated, I will ask the chaps on Wild about britain for any un-named creatures... :)

1.Fly close-up, Bluebottle
2. Flesh fly
3. Unknown fly

4. Unknown, but very beautiful, and small fly!
5. Marmalade hoverfly
6. Unknown hoverfly, possibly Eupeodes corollae
7. Bee? Lol... Told you im new to this!!
8. Ditto!!
9. Green bottle
10. Un-named spider
Thanks in advance for any ID help, tips on macro photography also welcome,
Enjoy the summer!!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Buzzards have a life too.. support the petition please!

DEFRA has now shelved plans for the "Management" of buzzards, power to the people!!

Please please please support this online petition to stop the persecution of the Common Buzzard.
These beautiful birds deserve a life too.
We are aiming for 10,000 signatures, and are urging support via, facebook, blogs and e-mail..
Please support the fight. E-mail DEFRA at :
Online petition at :

Thanks for your help

Friday, 18 May 2012

Pulborough brooks, 6th May

Whilst visiting relatives in West Sussex, Carol and I decided to visit Pulborough brooks RSPB in West Sussex. The weather was very unseasonal, cool, cloudy and drizzly, but as we only had this day free in our hectic schedule we would have to grin and bear it!!
We had our matching anoraks to keep us dry, and I was trying my best to keep my camera under my jacket but still available in case a quick shot was needed!!
The house martins were flying around us as we squelched along the footpaths. They had no fear of us, and despite the miserable weather our spirits were lifted by their acrobatics. They were only a few feet away, could have grabbed one if I was quick enough, what an experience
I was watching swallows and house martins on the edge of a field when a damp little bird landed on a barbed wire fence about 10 feet from me, what luck!! Managed to fire off quite a few shots before he departed. The background couldnt have been better, and despite the lack of light I was really pleased with my pics....
A family of long tailed tits huddled together in the trees...
The aforementioned house martins were congregating in one particular tree. From underneath I counted around 50+ .....
We moved onwards and decided to head back to the cafe for a hot drink... as luck would have it two more house martins landed nearby, and very happily posed for me, despite the drizzle ....

We heard the beautiful sound of a nightingale, my first ever, but I only managed this poor record shot....
Finally we made it to the cafe, where we watched the birds on the feeders... Suddenly I spotted this bird, but wasnt immediately sure wether it was a marsh tit or a willow tit.....but snapped a record shot anyway ....
Thanks to my friends at "Wild about britain", I am reliably informed it is almost certainly a marsh tit.
Unfortunately the little devil wouldnt sing for me, which might have helped!!
However, a couple of new lifers for me on this day, so a good result.... and some lovely sightings of the beautiful house martins... Luv nature!!!

Dawn chorus walk ...

Last sunday I managed to drag Carol out of bed at 4:15am, YES.. 4:15am, on a SUNDAY!!
I had mentioned to her that I would like to get up even earlier than normal, (Im a postman!) and go for a dawn chorus walk. She reluctantly agreed, but I knew she would like it when we were outdoors. The prospect of leaving her bed at such an unearthly hour, at the weekend too, was a rare occurance indeed!!
Although it was early may, it was cold, very cold in fact. As we started on our walk on the Alverstone old railway footpath at around 5:15 the frost was quite sharp, but the sunrise was magical.
The highland cattle were beautifully back-lit by the first rays of the sun....
We soon heard a cuckoo in the distance, but alas didnt get a view of one in the flesh, does anyone ever see them? The sound of the dawn chorus was magical, with no dog walkers, cyclists, or noisy kids to disturb the peace. We are still getting used to the different calls, but can make out the more common birds without much problem. Chiffchaffs were vocal but out of sight, and the green woodpeckers seemed to be laughing at us most of the walk!!
A young chaffinch looked a bit dozy with a twig in his beak...
My daily tick list was growing by the minute. Song thrushes were very common, as were whitethroats. Maybe house sparrows will be rare one day, the numbers are certainly in decline, hence their red status....
A beautiful dunnock happily posed about 10 feet away, thank you very much!!
He did look a bit dozy though!!
Eventually he saw me and woke up a bit....
After a couple of hours walking and trying to warm up, we decided to go to the hide for a warm up. Carol had sensibly packed a flask of tea and biscuits. Unfortunately the code on the hide had been changed so we couldnt get in for a sit-down :(  We hung around for a while to observe a jay, red squirrels and a tree creeper....

The light was really bad, and tested my nikon to the max!!
Back to the cycle track we ambled back savouring the calm. As we neared the sandown end, the walk the wight charity walk was just beginning, and the sun was warming up nicely.
We had spotted 27 species, with another 3 heard...
Not something we will do again in a hurry, it took us quite a few days for our internal clocks to get back to normal.... Try it yourself, well recommended!!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Dry for a few minutes!!

In between the april showers, Carol and I ventured out for a sunday stroll. Knowing that rain was on the way for the afternoon, we walked along the the old railway line at shide, dodging the dog walkers, cyclists and horse riders on the narrow path.
 As we had had a lie in and missed the early action, the birds werent showing very well. A few chiffchaff's were singing, a wren was flitting around, and the blackbirds were singing beautifully, as was this chaffinch...
A kestrel hovered behing the trees, and a buzzard flew over....
The spring flowers put on a colourful show, including this lesser celandine next to a rusty box..
...the red campion beside the riverbank glowed in the sun...
A few butterflies were on view, but didnt stop to pose for my camera. An orange tip was spotted as was this peacock, which was very patient with me disturbing his peace!
Looking forward to some sunshine next week, as I have a holiday, as I get nearer Im not too hopefull, but we do need the rain I guess!!