Thursday, 31 July 2014

Watching the fish

The heron and little egret have been at the nature reserve for the last couple of days, enjoying the fish in the lake. I don't think either of them miss very much. Still no sign of a kingfisher or a water vole, but we've found the perfect kingfisher perch. There always seems to be something else sat on it though! Here's the little egret on it - looks a bit fluffy and ruffled. Just look at those bright yellow feet!
#100DaysOfNature Day 8 - Little Egret
The heron looks like a hunched up old man, with a very beady eye.

New species of turtle found on the Isle of Wight

Breaking News: A new species of turtle has been found on a beach on the Isle of Wight. Called the Greater Spotted Wight Turtle, this is the first recorded sighting in the UK!

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Baby wrens

I've just discovered a wrens nest in a tree outside our patio. Tiny Mum and Dad are flitting backwards and forwards feeding the babies who are in a hole in the tree trunk. I can hear them making a very high pitched call as soon as the parents get near to the tree. The babies have been out of the nest, but are back in now waiting for more food.

One of the parents, with a beak sticking out of the hole in the tree

Parent, with baby peeping out

One of the babies out of the nest

Beach treasure

We've found lots of treasure on the beach today. Most intriguing is what appears to be a large tooth. It looks like a molar, with the grinding part one end and the root the other. It's about as long as my thumb and a bit thicker. It must have been in the sea a long time as it has barnacles stuck to it. Not sure what has teeth like that, but it was quite an exciting find and has led to all sorts of speculation about fossilized dinosaur teeth!

We found a compass jellyfish washed up on the beach. It was dead, but still showed all it's markings really clearly.

This is another strange find. It looks like a large mussel shell that's been worn away and started to flake apart. You can see where the shell is made up of lots of layers.

There are lots of whelk shells on the beach, some are complete and others have holes pecked in them by the birds. We have also found lots of clumps of whelk eggs on the beach.

#100DaysOfNature Day 7 Whelk shells and eggs

Other treasures we've found include beadlet anemones, small shiny shells, cuttlefish bones and some lovely driftwood.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

A crabby sort of a day

We went crabbing this morning and caught loads. They get one sniff of some bacon and all come scurrying out of the seaweed. We let them all go, but we were definitely in the mood for shellfish for lunch!

We walked along the pier to the lifeboat station and saw a big jellyfish swimming around below us. It was very large, so I think it may have been a Barrel Jellyfish.

There were also some cormorants drying their wings in the breeze - they remind me of pterodactyls!

It was very hot and sunny in the afternoon, so we had a look around the nature reserve. There were lots of butterflies around, including common blues, commas and peacocks. Bug Mad Girl had her eagle eyes on the lookout again and she spotted a cocoon in the reeds.

Common Blue



We saw several rooks sitting in the sun with their mouths wide open. I assume they were trying to keep cool. You'd think they would just sit in the shade if they were hot!

Then we saw this lovely heron practicing it's ballet moves!

#100DaysOfNature Day 6 - Ballet dancing Heron

Monday, 28 July 2014

Fossils, garlic and a buzzard

We put the trail camera out on the patio last night, hoping to find a Red Squirrel. Unfortunately all we saw were crows, magpies, blackbirds and rats! Undeterred, I've now got some hazelnuts (which I've been assured, no Red Squirrel can resist) and I will keep trying.

We had an early morning walk around the nature reserve and beach again this morning. The tide was out and it looked really pretty.

The Little Egret was out fishing again and we found some fossils (well, they may be fossils).

Still no sign of any Water Voles or Kingfishers at the nature reserve, but we did find some stripy Cinnabar moth caterpillars, damselflies and dragonflies.

We had lunch at The Garlic Farm, which is a lovely place to visit. They have a wonderful wildflower meadow, tractor rides around the farm and lots of garlic!

On the way there I spotted a large raptor, sitting on a fence post. On the way back it was still there, so I persuaded Bug Mad Dad to go back for another look. As we pulled up beside it in the car, it took off. We had a wildlife documentary moment as we drove down the road with an enormous bird flying next to us and me hanging out of the window trying to get a photo. I managed to get a couple of decent photos of it and I think it must be a Buzzard (but I'm not sure).

#100DaysOfNature day 5

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Nature Reserve stroll

We are staying right next to a nature reserve, so BMG and I went for an early morning explore. Before we even got there we found lots of geese on the grass outside our house. They seemed quite at home there and didn't take any notice of us.

There were lots of bunnies around, including this one eating some blackberries.
#100DaysOfNature Day 4 - Blackberry Bunny
There seemed to be Meadow Brown butterflies everywhere and they would fly up in big clouds when they were disturbed. We also saw lots of 7 spot ladybirds (on almost every reed), a spider guarding it's egg sack and a Bug Mad Girl found some large eggs (which I persuaded her we shouldn't take home with us!)

We were hoping to see Kingfishers and Water Voles as we found a board that said they could be seen at the Nature Reserve. BMG got quite excited at the thought of seeing either, which tends to make her talk a lot, so I think they would have vanished long before we got to them. Anyway, will try again another day when she's a bit quieter!

We did spot two Green Woodpeckers (I'm afraid I wasn't quick enough to get a photo) and a wading bird. I've had a stab at identifying it, but I'm not totally sure. The green legs and long, slightly turned up beak make me think it might be a Greenshank.
And finally, another picture of a Black Headed Gull. I've only included this because I like the reflection in the water!

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Seaweed, seashells and seagulls

We're spending the next week on the Isle of Wight, so prepare yourselves for lots of seaweed, seashells and seagulls!  When we arrived, we went for a walk on the beach and the tide was just starting to go out. A Little Egret was fishing in the shallow water - it had very yellow feet!

There were lots of Black Headed Gulls around and some very juicy looking Bladderwrack.

#100DaysOfNature Day 3

Later that evening we went for a walk on the beach when the tide was right out. There were lots of periwinkles and some pretty shells.