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!!

Monday, 13 February 2012

Winter stroll to Alverstone .....

Carol and I decided on a winter walk to Alverstone along the old railway track. The temperature was barely above freezing, but we wrapped up warm, and set off. Shortly after setting off down the railway track, Carol decided we should go on the wetland walk, a diversion off the track. I wanted to carry on along the track, but in the end gave in! Lo and behold in the clearing we spotted a Bullfinch through our binoculars, a first for us! A good start to the day! Managed to get a record shot, this one won't win any prizes!
Back onto the railway track, we made our way to the hide at Alverstone reserve.
We went inside and had a nice cup of lemon tea, Carol in her wisdom, had decided to pack a flask.
The squirrels were raiding the pile of nuts, and their antics took our minds off of the cold weather.

A big fat Chaffinch was fluffed up to keep out the cold.
The Blue Tits were too fast for me!!
We saw, many Blue Tits, a lone Reed Bunting, Dunnock, Wren, A pair of Long Tailed Tits, a wandering Pheasant, Robin and Great Tit ...
After more hot tea, we decided we had to get moving before the frostbite set in!
On the way back we flushed a kingfisher from under a bridge. We also saw a Buzzard, Jay, and a Grey Heron flew overhead. The total for the day was 25, not bad methinks!!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Squirrel fun

Went to Alverstone bird hide this morning with Rob. The squirrels were running round like headless chickens, must have been trying to keep warm! I don't think the temperature got above zero in the hour or so we spent there, but watching these little fellas running round took our mind off of the weather.

Lots of birds were visiting the feeders, including blue tits, chaffinch, great tit, reed bunting and the beautiful long-tailed tits.
A jay was around but didn't want to have his photo taken. A dunnock was skulking in the undergrowth, and a squirrel was playing with a rat, which kept us amused!
After an hour or so we decided to move on as hypothermia was setting in. We popped into Oasis for a hot chocolate and scone (cheers Rob!)
Then after warming up we went to see the Glossy Ibis, now in its 4th day on Brading marsh. Today he was keeping his distance, so just managed a record shot.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Glossy Ibis alert on the IOW !!

Hi everyone,
Not been here for a while, but had a rather exciting day, so I thought I would share it with you all!
Yesterday evening I heard that a Glossy Ibis was back on Brading marshes again. When I finished work today I checked online and saw it was still around so I hot footed it down there, and thanks to the online reports I found this fella straight away. The light was fading so I set to work straight away, and got my camera clicking. The best shots are below...

I may go there again tomorrow after work if the weather is a bit brighter, after all I may never see one again who knows!

Yesterday Carol and I visited Pulborough Brooks RSPB, in West Sussex. It was only a flying visit, but whilst there I managed to see a flock of  Fieldfare, which was a new bird to us.
Before we left there, we had a lovely hot chocolate in the yard while we watched the birds visiting the feeders. As we left we did a bit of browsing in the shop. All of a sudden carol shouted "David" and beckoned me to a large viewing window. Lo and behold there was a Water Rail about 15 foot away, another lifer to add to my list. Managed to get a quick snap or two before he ran for cover...

 So, this year has started well, a Glossy Ibis and Water rail in two consecutive days, lets hope my good luck continues!!