Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Frog spawn

I'm pleased to say that the frogs at Frog End have spawned for the first time in the big pond.

The smaller pond doesn't have as much cover for frogs at the moment, but I hope to plant it up in the next couple of weeks.

Don't forget to put your frog spawn records on the Nature's Calendar site.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Squirrels on ice

I often use my camera to take videos. Recently I've taken quite a few of animals and birds in the garden. Here is one of two of our squirrels exploring the frozen pond. If you're worried that they were thirsty they did have water at the feeder at the time.

This video has no sound.

Planting time

It's that time of year again... every windowsill on the house is covered in seedtrays. So far in February I've planted 23 types of seeds including grasses, annuals, perennials, wildflowers and vegetables. We got some of the seeds on freecycle and despite them being best before 2004 all but one set have germinated. The first thing I do each morning is to check all the trays, make a note of any new species that have germinated overnight and take some outside for watering.

Pea seedling

I think the ones I'm looking forward to the most are

Pennisetum macrocorum

Monarda panorama red shades

Rudbeckia hirta gloriosa

Ratbida columnifera

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Wildlife at the pond

Yesterday I went out to feed the birds and noticed that there were quite a few holes in the snow, caused by a mammal of some sorts. They led from the pond to the side of the garden where there is only a leaning fence panel - an easy way into the garden for mammals. The holes didn't seem like the ones William made when he walked in the snow, but unfortunately there was a bark path underneath the snow so there were no other clues.

I spent the last 10 minutes listening to the scream of a fox - probably on the field at the back of our garden, although I don't know how far the sound could carry. I'm pretty sure it was a fox after checking what a fox scream sounds like on youtube (can't believe I ever lived without it). I wonder how I can get more clues as to what is drinking at the pond at night. The garden is really muddy, but in the absence of snow I can't really see even the cat prints that I know must be there. Any ideas?

Red fox at Formby pine woods.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Feeding the birds

According to the BBC "Up to 17cm (6.7in) of snow has been reported in Exeter." I'd say we have around 2 inches - would that be because we don't live on a hill?

What do my fellow bird feeders do when it snows? Living in the South I've no experience of these situations. The pigeons, doves, squirrels and blackbirds are okay as one of our bird tables has a roof. None of the smaller birds use this table though. Should I keep clearing snow from the other seed trays in the hope that they will snatch a bite before it gets covered over again?

One thing I shall do regularly is to break the ice on the pond. It amazes me how many creatures rely on it for drinking water. Our cat William refuses to drink from a bowl and last time I broke the ice he ran out for a long drink (despite having had water in the house all night). We also had another cat walking over the ice a couple of days ago searching for a spot of water. Then there are the squirrels and birds. I wonder where they all used to drink before we put in the ponds.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

As requested...

We gave the otter a scarf:

Also managed to make a little snowman yesterday. Apart from a few small patches he's all that's left to remind us of the snow today.

Monday, 2 February 2009

There's snow even in Devon!

It took a long time for the snow to reach Devon from Russia, but reach it it finally did.

Unfortunately I was in a meeting when most of the snow fell (typical - the only meeting I've had this year) and by the time we got home the light was fading. Still, we managed to go out in the garden, play with William, give the birds and squirrels some fresh water and then watch a squirrel jump around in the snow. Fantastic!

William ventures out onto the pond