13th June 2018

Adult Blue Tit after raising young

The shevelled and the dishevelled: it always fascinates me to see the contrast, at this time of year, between the adult and juvenile Blue Tits. Exhausted and with feathers in a bad state of repair, ready for moult-time, the adults look diminished and ‘tatty’ after brooding and feeding a nest full of young, compared to the fluffed up and healthy, larger-looking juveniles, some of which are still demanding feeding. So here are some recent

Juvenile Blue Tit

photos showing the contrasts. Conditions : breezy, with some bright spells. Temperature: Max 21 Min 14C.

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11th June 2018

Chris Packham has been writing passionately today of the “apocalypse in our countryside”, where we see only a wealth of wildlife in our nature reserves and not in the countryside as a whole, where there is a dearth of insects, flowers, birds etc. We noticed the contrast on our recent two weeks in Ireland, where the wild flowers and insects were so like the density we grew up with in England, but no longer generally see. “Where’s the pink of Ragged Robin, the yellow of Flag Iris?” he asks. Here are samples of both from the beautiful masses in the west of Ireland last week. Conditions: Thunder, short showers and sunshine. Temperature: Max 21 Min 12C.

Ragged Robin

Ragged Robin

Yellow Flag Iris

Yellow Flag Iris

10th June 2018

Young Blue Tits, paler and fluffier than the adult, are still singing, or more accurately calling for their supper in our garden, though most of the juvenile Tits are now able to feed themselves. May and June are such busy times for the adults that they encourage the young to feed independently as soon as they can. With broods of at least seven young to raise , research shows that, on average, only one adult and one juvenile Blue Tit survives to breed the following year. Conditions: Mist clearing to sunshine. Temperature: Max 22 Min 12 C

Adult feeding young Blue Tits

7th June 2018

Yellowhammers: Returning from a great break in Ireland, where we never got wet in 16 days (is this some sort of record?), I’m restarting the blog with these gorgeous Yellowhammers, doing what they classically do- singing from the top of a low bush, typically a Gorse bush as you can see. We heard the brightly coloured male singing its rhythmic song- “a little bit of bread and no cheese”, while the camouflaged female sat nearby in a small tree (see photo). They were unusually numerous on an RSPB site in Dumfries, having sadly declined in many areas, as scrubland is replaced by intensive farming or development. Conditions: Cloud and sunny intervals. Temperature: Max 20, Min 11 C.

Yellowhammer, male

Yellowhammer, male

Yellowhammer, female