The last few weeks have been extremely quiet in the garden. It is dry, very dry and the garden appears to be suffering with a scorched lawn and dusty soil. Insect life is very limited with very few hoverflies, butterflies or other insects but a few bees. Birds in the last few days, appear to be on the move again in the garden. We have had a regular visit from a Magpie who recently took an egg from the Wood Pigeon nest, high in a conifer that frankly will very soon need cutting back as it is dominating the garden at around 30 feet tall! Still, the birds like it. He left the empty eggshell on the ground. Sparrows were feeding a chick in the garden today and a Collared Dove, the first for several weeks put in a show. While I was away in the USA in April my neighbour took the opportunity to cut the high branches from the apple tree that were always such a great perch for the doves........ I wonder why he did that? Swifts were seen from the garden this morning. We also have this year, two pairs of Herring Gulls breeding on the rooves both next door and opposite. Frankly they are a nuisance especially at first light (that is 4,30 in the morning) My neighbour tells me that we have been visited by a fox twice in the last week, no reason to doubt her but surely he/she would have taken my chickens? (The fox that is, not my neighbour).
On the River, the Kingfisher appears to have moved on to another nest site. I watched the first site from 50 yards away for an hour or so at lunchtime. Two Kingfisher were seen........ or the same one twice. The first time with a fish in it's beak, probably flying towards a nest, but well away from the original site. Then I saw another flying from up river past the original site and away. This is almost certainly the same bird, Kingfisher are very territorial and would not tolerate another in it's territory except it's mate. Also seen close to the river was a Reed Bunting in the same area that I have seen them on previous years. I am sure they breed here.
There is a shallow exposed sand/pebble bank in the middle of the river. Gulls use it for bathing and today, as is usually, several Lesser Black Backed Gulls were amongst the Herring Gulls.
Butterflies in the last couple of days have included at least 15 Small Tortoiseshell along the Alphin Brook amongst the grasses and the day before yesterday, the first Painted Lady of the year, also on the grass by the brook. Also on the brook was a male and female Broad Bodied Chaser.
Fresh Otter spraint was found on the brook on Monday on an exposed concrete support at the far end. This was in an area that I check regularly so I know that it was marked within the last week. This is good news. No sign of a Kingfisher on the brook for me since May but I have a report of one being seen in the last week. I sat in the hide today for an hour and apart from this drinking sparrow, there was very little else to see.
So as you can see, if you get out and about you can see some nice interesting wildlife, all on your doorstep. One thing is for sure, you will never see any wildlife of your own watching Spring Watch!!!!!!
One slightly unfortunate occurrence today was an unfortunate encounter with a dog that decided he didn't like me and went a bit further than just bark, nipping my leg. It's never right if you are a dog owner and you let your dog bite people. So if you are a dog owner, then please keep your dog UNDER CONTROL>