Tuesday, March 30, 2010

March year list update

I am as always working on a local year list. I've been moaning all year that it is going poorly, but looking at a post from last year, it isn't too bad.

Last week in March, 2008 I was on 125 (inc 17 'elites'). Year total: 189 (my record total)
Last week in March, 2009 I was on 131 (inc 22 'elites'). Year total: 187
Last week in March, 2010 I am on 126 (inc 15 'elites'). Year total: ?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Swan punishment beating

There was some violent action at Maxey pits this morning. The dominant male Mute Swan was not at all happy at the visit of a potential rival pair. A massive battle ensued, and I was genuinely worried that the inferior male may be seriously injured or even killed. The big cob chased and pecked a the smaller one and eventually grabbed it and climbed on its back to hold it still while it tried to peck the other's head, neck and eyes.
Meanwhile the two females were battling, but it turned out that the big cob's partner was getting dominated by the other female. Chief cob, though, took his revenge on the female that wasn't his partern and gave her a similar punishment beating to the male.
I could only watch for about ten minutes before I was forced to return home (time constraints). So, I missed the final outcome. But I will let you know if I find any further progress.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Jamaican frog chorus

Jamaicafrogs1 by Weedons World I recorded these frogs in the middle of the night on my ipod at Mockingbird Hill, Jamaica. Put them on at full volume and on loop and add a few more layers and you start to get the impression of what the sound was like on those balmy nights.


Grandiose by Weedons World
Now I am on Soundcloud and can put sounds on this blog, I think I may try to post some more wildlife sound recordings (though they will probably just be from my camera's sound memo function). I may also, though, put one or two bits of what may be loosely described as 'music' up.
Example one is this ditty rustled up using a Korg Kaossilator (and Garageband). I present, for your listening pleasure: Grandiose.

Frog chorus

FrogChorus by Weedons World
Frog chorus (plus Collared Dove, Greenfinch, Starling, House Sparrow and Dunnock), our garden, 20.3.10

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Watercolour attempt

I've never really tried watercolours, but thought I'd give them a quick go with the inspirational frogs...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spawning & fertilization

I think the final count of frogs in the garden pond today was in excess of 100 and we saw easily mor ehtan 20 Smooth Newts. Our pond has provided many excellent days over the last three years, but the spectacle today was one of the greatest.

Stuck in the middle with you

Frogs to the left of me,
Croakers to the right,
Here I am...

Frog sounds

Frog Chorus on MySpace
I don't really have a way of embedding sound files in the blog. However, if you want to hear a crude recording of frogs in our pond today, go to the link above, and scroll through the tracks till you get to Frog Chorus, click and listen.
Incidentally, you can also here frogs splashing, and the songs and calls of Collared Dove, Greenfinch, Starling, House Sparrow and Dunnock. Enjoy.

Garden pond action

I like your smile

Frog Frenzy

We had our best day ever for frog action in our pond this morning. Once we had seen off the Mallards which have taken a fancy again to our garden, the frogs came out to play. We had a bare minimum of 20 pairs in amplexus and loads of single males challenging for a ride.
Ed and I also watched frogs actually in the act of laying spawn (the first time I've ever seen this, as far as I remember).
The sound was also superb and never have I heard so many frogs in chorus in the UK.
In addition, there were dozens of Smooth Newts in the pond (mostly males seen, as they come up for a gulp of air).

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bird Watching mag at Fineshade

We popped out to Fineshade Wood, Northamptonshire, yesterday and wandered about with the RSPB's Chris Andrews looking for kites. This place is brilliant and we saw dozens of kites as well as several Buzzards. Jack Thorpe even brought along a giant roadkill rabbit and he and Sheena Harvey took it in turns getting beastly blood and muck and mmska on their hands ferrying it back and forth from fields. Turns out, though, the kites were more interested in the lambing fields around, presumably after afterbirth etc. Lovely.
It turned out that the best way to see the kites close up was to leave the area and glance over our shoulders, whereupon one would miraculously appear...
In this video, Jack talks to Chris about the reintroduction success in the area.

By the way, if you click on the photos of the kite in the post below, you may just be able to make out there is a thin antenna just visible behind the birds left wing (above the tail). This is apparently a satellite transmitter, one of the few surviving birds with such devices in the area.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Digiscoped Reed Buntings

Taken today (7.3.10) using my usual gear of Kowa Prominar TSN-823 + 32xW with a Canon PowerShot A640.