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Log for 2000


6 Feb 2000:
Moorhens seen mating, and some half-hearted nest building in the reedbeds. For the first time two of last years young are still hanging about - not quite mature judging from beak colour. Will they help or hinder?
Added section Dragonflies 2 taken Spring 1999 showing a dragonfly emerging.

10 Feb 2000:
Correction to labelling on the emergence sequence.
Links added to the British Dragonfly Society.

19 Feb 2000:
Link added to the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust on 'Snow Goose S0181' page.  

20 Feb 2000:
Whole site restyled to accommodate planned expansion.
All links tested -a few broken ones removed and some updated.

27 Feb 2000:
SparrowhawkSuddenly seeing the Sparrowhawk perched outside the Window (rather than just flashing by in pursuit of lunch). See bottom image at Birds of Prey.
We are still waiting for either toad or frogspawn, and haven't see any amphibians yet. But the heron is MUCH better at finding them than we are (taken 21Feb00):- 

29 Feb 2000:
14 new images added to the Moorhen section.

6 Mar 2000:
This seasons first 6 clumps of frogspawn seen this morning in Duck Ponds 'Head' - one of the favourite places. This is the largest clump, still absorbing water so must be fresh. Also seen in the last few days this weasel in a flowerpot, and a Pheasant male.     

11 Mar 2000:

Tawny OwlThis Tawny Owl a welcome first time visitor last night. This photo taken by torchlight from the house - excuse quality! Of the three owls seen here (Little, Barn and Tawny) we are always surprised how little distant torch light bothers them - maybe they think it's a 'just' car headlight.

Now about 25 clumps of frogspawn in each of two ponds (Duck and main ponds). This afternoon in the main pond the warm sunshine brought out about 45 frogs (and a few toads) to enjoy a mating frenzy. This is a pair of the frogs and another male on the right trying to 'muscle-in'.
Groups of frogs are called an army or a colony neither of which seems quite right.
Moorhens still staking out the main pond but no serious action yet.
27 Mar 2000:

For the first time we have found Toad Spawn, and were lucky enough to find it while it was still being laid
You can find a new image at Toad Spawn in a simultaneously extended section on Amphibians.
17 Apr 2000:

At last! Having built 4 trial nest platforms, we have a proper nest at the other end of the pond in an unusually secluded clump. We didn't spot the nest until we saw the red beak. More typical nests are shown here.
All the various amphibian spawn has broken up and we get the occasional site of a tadpole. We have some toad tadpoles in a tank to watch, never having seen toad tadpoles develop.

27 Apr 2000:
First Cuckoo Heard and (briefly) seen over the plot.
The Moorhen nest above has been abandoned, and the only moorhen nest with eggs in it is an arms length from the edge of our holding pool - most unlikely to escape the attention of the fox, but good luck to them.

29 Apr 2000:
New section Unusual Nests added. Includes a ridiculous Blackbird nest (unfortunately failed), and yet another opportunistic Jackdaw nest
13 May 2000:
A dozen Swallows swooping over the mower as the paths got their second cut of the year, presumably catching the insects disturbed. Never before seen so many at a time.
First Odonata of the year - a fleeting glimpse of Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula).
Two moorhen nests being solidly incubated.
19 May 2000:
First the sad news ... The poorly sited moorhen nest is being destroyed by magpies - 3 eggs taken, 1 broken, 2 left but are not being incubated. Later nothing left
20 May 2000:
And now the good news ... one moorhen chick has left the other nest with a parent and is being fed 'tasty morsels' by one of the parents. The other birds continue incubating - we don't have a good view into the nest, but more expected over the next few days.
You can see Pictures of previous Nests and Chicks.
22 May 2000:
What we expected isn't what happened. This morning the nest was destroyed with a few broken eggshells scattered about, no sign of the only chick, and the parents squabbling a bit, but obviously thinking about trying again. By the next time the next brood reach this stage the Jackdaws and Magpies won't be so desperate for food for their own chicks.
A Starling nest added to Unusual Nests.
24 May 2000:
Last night at about 22:00 a barn owl put in a rare appearance. It sat on the 'Great Tit' nest box (in recent years used by Tree Sparrows but this year unoccupied) mounted about 3 Metres (10 foot) up a young elm for about 20 minutes. See also the Tawny Owl picture on 11 March taken similarly.
The local farmer tells us he still sees his Little Owl regularly.
5 June 2000:
We believe we have the culprit responsible for the loss of the second Moorhen nest (see 22 May 2000). We now have back the processed film from the night photo kit adjacent to the pond. The frames taken that night include this back end of a fox walking away from the pond. It is dripping with water (see detail at left) on a night with no substantial rain (yes we keep records!) so have to assume that it had just been in the pond.Click here for the gallery of Foxes.
The Dragonfly Emergence Sequence extended to include a more natural picture of the Dragonly, and a Damselfly Larval case for comparison.
The picture of the Brimstone Butterfly has been replaced by a better one, and the description updated to match.
The Jackdaw nest in the Pigeon box (see Unusual Nests) has been abandoned.
29 June 2000:
Suddenly 2 adult Moorhen and (at least) 3 youngsters, about a week, old have appeared on the back lawn. They are nothing to do with the pair nesting gain on the main pond (see 22 May 2000) whose eggs haven't hatched yet. If you don't see it being built a well hidden nest can be undetectable even if you look every day - if we find the nest we will add an entry.
3 July 2000:
First ever Mayfly seen. Just one on the waters surface, hopefully after laying eggs.
The successful Moorhen nest (see 29 June 2000) found 2 metres from the unsuccessful one but much better hidden.
22 July 2000:
The moorhen family is still intact and the 3 youngsters growing well.
A 3rd attempt on the main pond by the other pair is underway.
The Woodpecker has drilled a 5cm deep cavity about 20cm by 10cm in the log post that supports one of the bird feeders - another repair job for the winter if it lasts that long!.
Two new site links added:Mr. Newt's ZooQuarium and The CountryLovers' Pages
3 Aug 2000:
On 31 July a recently hatched moorhen youngster appeared on the main pond, being attended by both adults. Just this one still around last night.
10 Sep 2000:
First ever (brief) siting of Clouded Yellow Butterfly. This is a continental migrant which only reaches this latitude if it manages a breeding cycle further south. They can not survive the winter.
The one moorhen chick from the main pond has grown 'extra fast' with attention from both parents. Occasional sitings of youngsters from the other pond. All nesting activity has stopped.
The night photo kit has 'caught' foxes 5 times in a fortnight at the end of August - unprecedented. Maybe we have a blase fox who doesn't mind the flash and whir! Will post some in due course.
Two pigeon nests are still active in hedge sites. Do they never stop.
4 Elm trees have suddenly starting dieing in the last month. The conditions must be just 'right' for the elm bark fungus. Plan to fell them this winter.
16 Sep 2000:
On 11 Sep about 21:00, out with torches looking for frogs and toads, our beam fell on a snipe standing on the vegetation in duck shaped pond only 10 foot away. We all froze for a minute or so. Then the bird quietly slinked off into some reeds. Snipe variety currently uncertain. Previously only glimpsed from 50 yards away flying away!
18 Nov 2000:
First confirmed sighting of a Stoat yesterday. In retrospect (identification is easy in hindsight) we saw one fleetingly jumping over the pond vegetation earlier this year. Perhaps this explains the very poor Moorhen breeding season. A major clear out of the pond margins is indicated!
First Fieldfare of the season observed - late this year.
The whole site is a 2 acre bog. The ponds all maintained their level themselves this year for the first time. Half the potato crop has rotted in the ground, and all idea of planting overwintering crops in the saturated vegetable beds will have to wait for it to stop raining for a week or so.
20 Nov 2000:
The Stoat has been busy reducing our rabbit population. It's amazing the size of animal that Stoats and Weasels can tackle - this one killed this rabbit on its own. There is a new mammals section Stoats & Similar

Logs from Previous years