Tidying up and taking stock

Friday, December 15th 2017

Another cold start, but this time after a series of short showers that turned to ice, so the first job was to put grit out on to the paths around the Field Centre.  Once the showers had passed it turned into a bright but cold day.

Plovers Pool remains frozen with little sign of wildlife here, but Snipe were seen as they flew away after being disturbed by the ponies.  A round bale of haylage has arrived to help supplement the diet of the sheep, so it was not difficult to find or count them this morning.  They seemed more intent of using the bale as a climbing frame, probably for the most agile to be able to reach the best bits in th centre of the bale.

Bird ringing is planned for the weekend, and so Colin has been doing his normal rounds to fill the feeders.  He has also been refilling the hoppers with chaff which is much loved by bullfinches and other small birds.  The feeding area in the Field Centre garden has been visited by a Grey Squirrel who has clearly been so successful in building up reserves of fat for the winter that, in human terms, he would be considered overweight.  He was happy to wait on the ground to eat anything spilt from the feeders above even when a female Sparrowhawk made a dash across the garden.  He stayed put while everything else vanished.  Judging by the way he slowly left the garden later, he may not have had the ability to get out of the way.

Meanwhile, Ian has been busy all day in the workshop.  Tree tubes that had been stored in there after recently being removed from trees have now joined the rest in the Bullet Catcher store so that they can then be either saved for re-use or for disposal.  Stakes are being graded for use again with trees or for other uses, such as in putting in footpath or step edges.  The workshop is now ready for the next stage which is to work through all the tools to see what condition they are in and to do any necessary maintenance.


Preparation for ringing has also included charging two-way radios and boxes which can play birdsong.  One other job that Colin has done today is putting new apples on the vole platforms, and walking through the Scrapes late this afternoon it was obvious that these had been eagerly attacked.  This time, it looks like it may have been Blackbirds as three flew away from one of the vole platforms.  There are a large quantity of Blackbirds around, with up to 60 seen at one time.  Further on, where the Kestrel had been seen successfully hunting a few days ago, a Buzzard was trying the same trick, trying hard to beat its wings fast enough to not quite achieve a hover, giving up to revert to the more normal 'flap and glide' as it circled overhead.

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