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Log for 2001
9 Feb 2001:
- A pair of Moorhen have stayed all winter, even during
the freezes. A few flattened reeds indicate first
of nests sites.
In Duck Pond today (a cold but sunny day with a light
skim of ice on shaded areas of ponds) a few frogs were
heard (but not seen!) gently croaking from under the
grass overhanging the wateron the South (sun-warmed)
side. Some previous frogs can be seen by clicking here.
- All the grass areas are awash after months of rain.
Walking across the grass leave puddles in the footsteps
days after heavy rain. The night-photo kit has been
removed to safety for some months.
25 Feb 2001:
- This morning about 07:00 while sitting at this computer
looking at the news, a Bat was suddenly flittering
around the study. We have no idea where it was roosting
- there is no direct route from study to loft where a
bat might roost. We think it is a Pipistrelle.
Placed in a safe place in a shed with holes in the
walls for birds, it has gone an hour later.
11 Mar 2001:
- 1 Clump of Frog Spawn discovered in the Duck Shaped
pond. The weather is unseasonably warm, so expect
more. The Amphibian section is here.
- A Pair of Moorhens are at each of the two large
ponds. No nests found yet, but the dead reeds are dense
owing to missing an intended autumn thinning because of
the flooding, so we can't see in.
- Two pairs of Mallard ducks that have been spending
most of the day here have become two drakes - very
likely the 'girls' are sitting on eggs somewhere in the
12 Mar 2001:
- Now 14 Clumps of Frog Spawn in the Duck Shaped pond's
- Firsrt Blackthorn flowers have appeared in 3 specimen
trees rather than in hedges.
- 1 Daffodil has flowered on Round pond island (safe
from being picked!)
- Spring must have arrived!
31 Mar 2001:
- About 30 frogs are spawning today in the main pond.
This pond is in shadow for much of the winter so it
initially colder than the Duck Shaped Pond.
- Moorhens have been seen fighting at all of the ponds.
We think there is one nest deep in the reeds of the
- A Mallard duck started a nest on the island of the
main pond in full view of the world. She laid two eggs
Jackdaws or magpies wrecked it. The 3 Mallard drakes
that hang around together on the site, and are
occasionally seen singly with ducks, suggest that there
are three nests somewhere on our plot. In the base of
clumps of rank grass they are very hard for us to find
- we only discover them by luck.
- A new Little owl box was commandeered by Jackdaws.
Owls won't have a chance, so have fitted a plate to
turn it into a Great Spotted Woodpecker nest box -
probably too late for this year.
- After 10 years we have finally added the common bird
Dunnock to the site species list. Why this has been so
locally scarce we can't imagine. We have also never seen
a Coal Tit even though Blue and Great Tits are rife.
Here is the Species List
- We have thousands of daffodils finally erupting, but
many are clearly distressed by 6 months of being
The vegetable garden is a waterlogged swamp. Marie is
planting potatoes in pots and is to be located gazing
forlornly at the puddles. At least the ponds will start
the summer full of clean water.
22 Apr 2001:
- Muntjac Deer seen for the first time, and in the back
garden at that. Here is a Picture
through the Patio Doors
- A Great Spotted Woodpecker has chosen an unusual
Drumming post - a Blue tit box. Not surprisingly, no
birds are nesting in it - well not any more anyway.
Here is the new section dedicated to Woodpeckers.
- With stunning reproducibility of date, the first Cuckoo
of the year was heard. We intend a page on Cuckoos
due course - for now here is his Call
19 May 2001:
- Muntjac Deer seen for a few days after the above, but
- Moorhen are nesting on the main pond, deep in the
reeds where we can't see what is going on. Another pair
moorhens have built a very exposed nest on the round
pond. This had 6 eggs in it last Wednesday, but only 2
yesterday - probably Magpies or Jackdaws took them. Maybe
another go with better cover from growing
reeds will be successful.
- First House Martin seen on 15 May 2001. We don't know
where they breed - they usually spend a lot of time
here feeding their young later in the season.
- Starlings are feeding
their young in the space above the (unused) House Martin
Worms, insects etc. arrive every couple of minutes from
Dawn to Dusk.
- The Great Spotted Woodpecker has stopped drumming. Male
and Female are using the
- Ponds are again overflowing after a further deluge -
the opportunity taken to plant more willow
wands to fill in some rearranged paths - push sticks
into the waterlogged soil and they usually take. Some
21 May 2001:
- A new specifies for this plot - a Holly Blue
- First Odonata (Dragonfly) seen this year were dozens of
Pyrrhosoma nymphula (Large Red
7 June 2001:
- A pair of Great Spotted Woodpecker have produced
at least one youngster somewhere
near us. Here the youngster (left) is near the peanut
feeder with the male.
- Magpies have been taking eggs from all large exposed
nests. Moorhen, Pigeon, Ducks are
all complete blanks so far this year - we find lots of
broken shell, and have actually seen a
magpie raiding a pigeon nest in a bush. By the evening
of that day the pigeons were
already mating again.
19 June 2001:
- 17 June a moorhen on the main pond was seen
frantically collecting morsels from under
floating leaves and delivering them to a well hidden
nest in a clump of Iris. Next day two
youngers being fed by one adult near the nest. Another
bird is still sitting - we expect
- 17 June a Skylark briefly heard and seen over a
neighbours hedge. First sighting/hearing
for some years. Very windy - it was struggling to keep
station & dived back into the hedge.
- 18 June a Muntjac deer seen drinking from the pond. Same
evening seen pictured here - the animal is about 75cm
high. It's presence explains some unexplained damage
(minor so far) to tree trunks above the
Rabbit or Hare reachable height.
- 20 July 2001:
- The Moorhen hatched 7 young, of which 3 have
survived and are all doing well. The parents are
getting 'romantic' again.
- No more sighting of any sort of deer but the rabbits
and magpies have done altogether too well. At
least two pigeon nests have also produced - they do a
lot of damage but we enjoy them anyway.
- Molehills everywhere - back garden, paths, pond edges,
hydrants, under plant pots which then
topple. Good soil for potting but also just right for
blocking up the mower and the drains!
- The great Spotted wood peckers have had two youngsters
now being shown how to extract nuts from the
caged nut feeders. One adult spends hours collecting nut
fragments and hammering them into a hole in the post
the nut feeder is on. The youngsters then come along
and feed from them.
- A Juvenile heron spent about an hour outside the
kitchen window feeding on Newts from the
pond. We didn't know this pond had any, and he had at
least 4. It took it about 30 minutes to
learn how to swallow the first, but the last (much
bigger than the first) went down in seconds.
Interesting to watch the learning process of dealing with
a non-fish shaped morsel. Page of
herons pictures planned. Here is a sample
25 Aug 2001:
- The moorhen have produced another brood. On 14 Aug, 2 egg sized
chicks were seen at the duck shaped pond in company of a panicking
adult. Next day, 6 young and 2 adults were feeding on the main pond.
The 3 juveniles surviving from the previous brood were being chased
off by the parents, rather than helping feed their younger siblings.
As of yesterday at least 4 are still around.
No more sightings of deer, although we still find some fresh
damage to trees.
26 Sep 2001:
3 Snipe landed in short rough grass South of the Duck Shaped Pond
about 20m away from us - first time more than one at a time.
Later 1 Snipe was flushed from round pond - the first time seen
25 Nov 2001:
- At 21:55 a Little owl seen in a Sycamore behind woodpile.
Flew away after a few seconds in the spotlight - normally they
just seem to ignore lights - perhaps it saw the human behind the
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