Return to moorhen home
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
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
27 Feb 2000:
- Suddenly 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
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
11 Mar 2000:
This 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
the warm sunshine brought out about 45 frogs (and a few
toads) to enjoy a mating frenzy. This is a pair of the
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
- 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
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
- 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
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
The local farmer tells us he still sees his Little Owl
- 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
- 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
- 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
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
- 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
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
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
- 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 &
Logs from Previous