Tuesday, January 29, 2008

de la Poer

They say that our small cul-de-sac in Peterborough was built upon an ancient monument, with rumours of pre-druidical temples and long-forgotten heathen rites. Roman remains have been found in the vicinity, up towards the railway bridge.

And at night, we just can't sleep. The walls resonate to the dull repetitive throbbing of enamel on wood. The endless cycle of nibbling makes normal sleep impossible. Even in restless dreams, though, the sound, the noise prevails.

We are infested.

Our house's hideous secret is not lice, worms, flies or even mice. It is worse. It's that most odeous of invaders – rats!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Big Garden Birdwatch

Female Blackbird

The RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch is one kind of birdwatching that I can do without having to leave the house

All you have to do is count the maximum numbers of each species in your garden (or other spot you chose) over a one-hour period over the weekend January 26-27. Then you submit your records on the website. Easy.

Jazzy, Eddie and I did our bit yesterday morning (27.1.08).

We saw 12 species (Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Magpie, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Robin, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Blackbird and Song Thrush). And it was fun!

Here are a few shots I took...

Magpie hoovering peanuts like a Puffin guzzles sand-eels...

This Blue Tit and its mate were checking out the nest-box nearest our kitchen window. Last year the babies sadly died when still rather featherless. Fingers crossed for this year...

Collared Dove and House Sparrow.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

From the archives... No.13

Green Woodpecker, Southey Woods, July 2005

Man, I'm getting very bored being stuck indoors, looking at pictures of and reading all about birds I should be looking at, enjoying, hearing, smelling...

So, I'm resorting to dredging through old snaps to remind me of the days when I could walk... sob...

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

New Year shenanigans

Despite being legless, I joined my team of Raptor Ray and Young Will Bowell and Helen Wilson to brave absurd fog in search of the elusive New Year's Day PBC day-list record. Despite the atrocious weather, as a group we scored 99 species and I hauled in a personal total of 95. Personal highlights were Merlin with prey, Peregrine, Short-eared Owl, a hard-worked yet strangely easy White Nun and Brambling at two sites (a birder I met said: " Did you? 'Cause they're short off the ground this year, aren't they?").

Worst dips were Bullfinch, Grey Partridge, and for me, the unforgivable Herring Gull! Red Kite would have easily fallen if it weren't so foggy, and surely we would have had time for Tawny Owl and Hen Harrier without that cursed miasma.

I hate to say it, but I am already looking forward to 1.1.09, for a chance at a weather-permitting, fully-mobile ton!

Here is the poor wounded lamb enjoying Nuthatch, Marsh Tit, Treecreeper and Jay at Old Sulehay. Lord knows where the rest of the gang have got to!