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Log for 2004


31 Jan 2004:
Muntjac deer calling at 11pm outside the bedroom window. Intermittent shout every few seconds. Wandered off unconcerned at the powerful torch used to see him.

1 Feb 2004:
The Night photo kit took this image of a Muntjac Doe and fawn. We are advised that the fawn is probably 2 or 3 weeks old. Click the thumbnail for a larger image
9 Grey Partridges pecking at the gravel at back of house near a bird feeder (presumably after the dropped fragments).
A pair of Moorhen in evidence every day on the main pond.

13-14 Feb 2004:
Great Spotted Woodpecker Pair are 'converting' the Great-tit box on a dead elm stump into a woodpecker box by chipping away the hole. Female did all the work, and the male turned up to inspect (tried to get in but couldn't first even though the female had). Next day the female was seen clearing out the old nest material (including a dud egg). Click the thumbnail to go to the updated woodpecker page.
Mallard duck pairs suddenly seen on all the ponds - well it is Valentines day!

22 Feb 2004:
Mammals section now includes Rodents to include Field Mice
Amphibians section on Newts now includes Heron eating Great Crested Newt.
Robin Pair added to Birds at Night
Added Links to a Swan enthusiast from the Swans section, and to the Digswell Lake Society in the Links section

23 Feb 2004:
At 20:20 a Field Mouse seen by torchlight running about on iced pond (looking for feed corn?).

5 Mar 2004:
Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming on the now 'traditional' open front nestbox this morning (not the 'modified' one). Robins HAD been looking at it! Click on the thumbnail for more images and sounds.
Pair of Moorhen back on main pond after 2 weeks absence during a freeze-up.
Mallard duck pairs spending most of the day on the ponds.

15 Mar 2004:
Dead Rabbit being pecked over by Carrion Crow. The same morning at 05:37 the night photo kit took picture of cat with rabbit in mouth. Click on the thumbnail for the set of images.
4 clumps of Frogspawn in the West of the Round Pond - right where we usually throw in corn.

16 Mar 2004:
Frogs seen and more clumps at the same place.
Great spotted woodpeckers still drumming on the open nestbox. No activity at the 'modified' nest box seen as yet.
Dead Rabbit Gone - one less unpleasant cleanup job!

28 Mar 2004:
Small Light Brown Bat flying over main pond 21:00

29 Mar 2004:
Mallard duck in box on Dragon Island (Subsequently abandoned about 7 eggs which then disappeared).

HedgehogFirst ever Hedgehog sighting at 3 a.m. by the night photo kit. Added to Species list along with a general update.
A lengthy 3 way moorhen fight took place at the distant 'round' pond. Can't find the nest without risk of spoiling the camouflage.

JayA Jay also took its photo. Click on the thumbnail for this and other Birds at Night.

23 Apr 2004:
First Swallow seen.

24 Apr 2004:
First Orange Tip Butterfly seen.

29 Apr 2004:
Moorhen rushing between pond looking for morsels - some eggs must have hatched.

30 Apr 2004:
Nest spotted in the reeds at the edge of the NE of the Round Pond.Last year they nested on the same ponds island in ornamental grasses. Number of chicks unknown.

5 May 2004:
Moorhen & 2 chicksA moorhen chick seen outside the kitchen window with parent. Same evening the night photo kit captured this parent finding food for 2 chicks. There is likely another parent looking after more chicks. Click on the image for Moorhens.
So far this year:-

Doesn't anybody teach these birds which box to use?


6 May 2004:
6 moorhen chicks, 2 with first parent off nest & 4 with other.

21 May 2004:
Swift thumbnailFirst more than fleeting 'maybe' view of Swifts over the plot. Click the image for flycatchers.
The whole moorhen family still seems to be with us.
The quantity of blossom this year is stunning. Air frost in late spring normally damages buds and in particular horse chestnuts, but not this year.
Yellow Flag Iris now rampant around the main pond.

6 May 2004:
6 moorhen chicks, 2 with first parent off nest & 4 with the other.

6 June 2004:
Another adult moorhen seen with scalp missing - an injury not previously seen by us or researcher.

13 Jun 2004:
First cuckoo heard (in field to the West).
Injured moorhen still OK.
Great Spotted Woodpecker male has been feeding a 'chick' at the peanut feeders for last few days.

20 Jun 2004:
Swallow ThumbnailYoung swallows being fed in the wires and tree tops. Click the image for Flycatchers

21 Jun 2004:
2 Muntjac Deer seen drinking at main pond 22:00. Exited at S boundary. Click the image for Herbivores.

27 Jun 2004:
Linnet singing in evergreen
Adult moorhen contact calls to chicks heard over CCTV at round pond. At least 4 adolescent moorhen survived.

Moorhen & 2 chicks21 July 2004:
After a week of seeing only the female adult, the adult pair & 3 chicks visited the main pond in the evening after a grass cut. Click the image for Moorhen.

24 July 2004:
Moorhen parents have build a brood platform on main pond and are looking after their 2 remaining chicks on it.
Occasional visits by Swallows.
Lots of Hawker Dragonflies over all the ponds.
Hundreds of Hedge Brown (Gatekeeper) butterflies on bramble flowers in the hedge take off in a cloud as you walk by. Some Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock and Red Cardinal butterflies seen on flowerheads. Brimstone butterflies seen here in mid-summer for the first time.

6 Sep 2004:
The moorhen second brood raised 3 youngsters, two of which are sharing the ponds with the adults. Unfortunately this all took place away from the main pond. The adults seemed to be preparing for a third brood on the main pond, but it came to nothing.
A nice item on moorhen parents protecting their chicks during Hurricane Frances in the USA is Here
Swallows transfering food in flightThe swallows seem to have left after one last appearance on 3rd Sep. Surprised to see feeding of the youngsters in flight this late in the year, and managed this image. The previous 'best-so-far' is in the 2003 log. Click the image for the flycatchers page.
The original 1996 image of round pond is so different from today's image that we have updated Bird's Eye View.

28 Nov 2004 & 5 Dec 2004:
First ever sighting of Redwing - solitary bird in hawthorn tree. 7 days later it took this poor photo of itself in our 'night' photo kit at first light picking up some apple peel.

17 Dec 2004:
After hearing faint Mallard calls for a few days a Female spotted in main pond mid-morning.
Moorhen pair seen mating a few days ago. Last juvenile not seen for some days.

Logs from Previous years