Monday, 31 December 2007

the little grebe, finally

a good view at last
(taken 27.12.07)

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Birds, big and small

A robin pretending to be a hummingbird. It was doing this an awful lot, just hovering in one spot for a few seconds at a time.

And again.

This heron flew right over me on the main bridge, making a hideous squawking!

Friday, 7 December 2007

the elusive grebe

still can't get an image of this fellow that I am happy with,
in his absence, here's a few others to fill the space

looking straight at you, the irresistable blue tit.

hard to see clearly, a siskin, probing for those last few seeds.

there is no getting away from it, mallards are beautiful.
they seem to be mating already, is it springtime?

Sunday, 2 December 2007

December Begins

A long tailed tit in the branches of the tree in the pond in the middle of the reserve. Actually there were loads of them. Apparently they like to exist in flocks of 20 or so. They hardly ever sat still for a moment though, continually running up the branches, presumably looking for bugs

A common sighting on the reserve, but not so often photographed. Jack and Howard (and Sheila, off camera) dealing with the remains of one of the trees fallen in the water. Just the branches have been removed, leaving the trunk and some lower bits as it seems to provide a nice habitat.

A nice early winter view through the willow to the sky.

elusive visitors

there has been a solitary little grebe on site for a week or so,
fishing voraciously -this has been perhaps the best shot so far,
just as darkness loomed over The Mere. (taken 29.11.07)

two collared doves on the feeder today, quite an odd effect as the front and back of the birds are presented simultaneously.

at last a snap of this elusive fellow, a male kingfisher
-quite close to the main bridge, just as the light was failing before a huge rainstorm.

Saturday, 24 November 2007


formidable claws on show here from a male great spotted woodpecker.
he watched me for a moment then he was off (-taken 21.11.07)

also on site worthy of note: a sparrowhawk worrying the crows by the riverbank and later hunting across the Mere, also a grey wagtail and a kingfisher.

from far too long ago, during a strangely uneventful summer,
a female blackcap, hiding in the bog area
(-taken 31.07.07)

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

New arrival today - a lovely Little Grebe (Dabchick) fishing on the Mere.
Will try and get a photo later and see if it is one of a pair!

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Activity on site Sunday morning. Most creatures naturally adopt a pose to reduce the effects of the prevailing wind.

About a month ago (early October) we noticed this unseasonal growth on a Ribston's Pippin. Our first sign of spring?

It has managed to develop one stage further. Tasting not recommended.

Monday, 18 June 2007

siskin are back again

another awful, rainy day, however, the wildlife seem to be untroubled by the weather.

nice to see siskin on site again, they were here last summer and winter too.
not sure, upon referring to bird books, whether they are resident in Britain or not.

a house sparrow plucks something tasty from a bramble.

a greenfinch, looking quite regal in the rain.

Saturday, 16 June 2007

rain, rain, rain

a dull, wet day at the Mere, however, lots going on all the same

a heron patrolling near the Spit, not sure what he was after, but it went down nicely.

a muntjac, seen on site several times, this time in the Pyghtle by an alert Sheila

Friday, 15 June 2007

Midsummer Madness - Saturday 23rd June

Come along to the the Midsummer Madness family fun day on the reserve on Saturday 23rd June. Festivities start at 3:30pm with various activities for the kids and duck racing on the river at 4:30pm. In the evening we'll have a BBQ - bring your own food and drink! Association members should be receiving a leaflet with full details, but you can download the leaflet as a PDF right now if you want. We look forward to seeing you.

Thursday, 31 May 2007

Denis Healey?

extraordinary! Denis Healey, or a house sparrow, on the feeder.
It may be that a few feathers need smoothing down . . . .

male & female bullfinch together on the feeder, my presence didn't seem to put them off.

a nice jay in the Pyghtle, just after this pic. he was chased away by a group of great tits.

one of many young blue tits flitting about the Mere.
Saw a blackcap on the riverbank, opposite the Mere, back of the Pyghtle.
No photo alas.

Sunday, 27 May 2007

First thanks to Sam for the previous photos. Like dancing pandas, things only seem to appear when I turn my back.

On site on a very wet Sunday to look at things......

and I always have to remind myself that this patch of tranquillity is only 10 minutes walk from the city centre.

It's taking a lot of effort to create the seasonal pond.............

and it will be a particularly attractive feature, believe me!

No more suggestions for the shape though, it's supposed to look natural.

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Fish and Other Critters

I went back and got some pictures of the fish, though it's not easy to do so when they're small and underwater. These were in the mere itself, right on the edge, next to the far end of the bridge. There was a shoal of about 50 or more.

Also spotted were both male and female bullfinches feeding at the same time. The male is the more colourful of the two, at the bottom.

I had my macro lens so I went hunting for smaller beasties. Here are some that I found. Note the three aphids line astern on the stem above the moth.

Saturday, 19 May 2007


Just went down to the reserve today and was astounded to see a 6cm greeny brown fish under the bridge nearest the river. Probably a fully grown stickleback, but my fish identification skills are limited. Lots of small (1-2cm) dark fish hiding around the edges near the next bridge, by the spit too.

I couldn't get a picture of the fish though, so here's a damselfly - a Banded Demoiselle I believe.

The ducklings were also out - just five of them, and quite grown up now. I also saw one or two moorhen chicks with mother, though they were darting amongst the fringes and so hard to be sure whether it was one chick going in circles or two in a row.

Finally - a picture of a ladybird larva for those that don't know what one looks like. They're quite different to the finished bug!

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

nice to see the regulars!

the male bullfinch again, no sign of the female

the great spotted woodpecker

a grey heron in the bog area,
hunting for frogs I think

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

a welcome visitor

a male bullfinch having a nice feed, like all birds that
visit, half seems to be discarded on to the ground.

Sunday, 29 April 2007

Ah, there you all are!

Friday, 27 April 2007

Where is everybody?

Twelve ducklings have hatched out and are whizzing around the Mere - but be quick to see them as the Heron is waiting in the wings for his supper! Yesterday, there was the first sighting of four Moorhen chicks - alas - today, only two remain. Many visitors have commented on how beautiful the Reserve looks today. And it's true!

Saturday, 21 April 2007


The blossom is out. Notice the tiny orange caterpillar eggs on the leaf at the bottom.

Friday, 20 April 2007

the slime

A new visitor . . . .brown slime,
across the Mere.
Some sort of algae.
Have not been to site for while,
so don't know how long it's been here.
Looks nasty.

meanwhile, some more pleasant sights

The last two pics show our woodpecker at the feeders, but as you can see, he was being a bit secretive!
Look closely, in the upper pic. -he's there.

From the far side of the bridge, across the Mere, I saw him arrive at the feeder. As I approached him, (very slowly and quietly across the bridge) he sidled around to the back of the feeder. You would never have realised he was there.... Luckily, we both held our nerve, the next frame captured him beautifully.

top: wren
middle: robin
bottom: gt. spotted woodpecker