Roe deer

I regularly see Roe deer near my house, they sometimes use the lane by the side of my house during the night.

They are pretty used to me being in the fields and normally take no notice of me. Although if there has been shooting going on nearby they become very wary for a few days. (quite rightly so).

A few facts about Roe deer – I’ve tried to find some unusual facts

  • Roe deer are native to Britain, they have been here since before the Mesolithic period
  • When alarmed they make a short dog-like bark (often scares the life out of me when I’m badger watching)
  • Roe deers are a grey colour in the winter and a rich brown in the summer
  • Their white rump patch ‘puffs’ out when they are alarmed.
  • Deers eye sight isn’t any better than ours although they have a better field of view at 310 degrees.
  • Deers have poor depth of field view and reply on motion. That’s why they sometimes stamp their feet to get you to move.
  • It has been said deers can recognise individual humans – I’m sure this is true.
  • Deers have a sense of smell 1000 times better than us.
  • Roe deer have scent glands  between their antlers and on the side of their face, they will scent mark branches. They also have scent glands on their hind legs near their hooves which they use to paw and scent the ground.
  • Deers are thought to align themselves to the north and South of Earth’s magnetic field when relaxing
  • There have been accounts of Roe deer swimming

Let me know if you have any fun facts about Roe deers and I’ll add them

Roe in the grassWoodland glade

Roe deer amongst trees

Posted in Animals, Blogging, Environment, Local patch, mammals, nature, outdoors, Oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Wildlife photography | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments

Rose-coloured Starling

After a busy day yesterday I was meant to be getting on with some revision for my GCSE mocks next week, but I was sent a Tweet with a request for a bird ID.

I’ll admit I’m not the best at bird identification, so I passed it on to Toby  who is much more experienced that me.

Within a few moments Toby came through with an identification of a Rose-coloured Starling.

As the bird was quite local to me, I was luckily invited to go and see it.

Only 5 minutes after we settled down in the kitchen, the bird flew on to an apple tree close to the kitchen door, then hopped down to the ground and started feeding on the apples.

It was quite comfortable sharing the apples with the local Blackbirds and only disappeared back up in to the nearby trees for a short time before returning again.

Rose-coloured Starlings or Rosy starling (Pastor roseus) originates from eastern Europe, breeding in places like Albania, Croatia, Romania, Slovakia, Turkey and Ukraine, so it was quite an event to see one in Oxfordshire.

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Posted in birds, Blogging, Environment, Local patch, nature, outdoors, Oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Wildlife photography | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Busy first day 2019

New Years Day, and I joined a group of people in a peaceful protest against Fox hunting in the town of Stow on the Wold.

The same as Boxing Day, there were plenty of members of the public out to watch the horses and their riders parade in the town square. Hopefully some people will have taken notice of the signs and maybe think a little more about what is involved.

We hadn’t been back home for long when mum got a call out to a badger rescue. The poor young badger had been reported by a member of the public lying by the side of a bridle path.

The badger had probably spent most of the day lying in a cold puddle and was really ill. It was rushed to a vet and found to have a large abscess on its jaw. Unfortunately, despite the fantastic efforts from The Nutkin Ward the little badger didn’t pull through and sadly died.

If you have chance check out Nutkin Ward on Facebook and look at the wonderful work they do.

Oxon Badger Group are a small group of people dedicated to looking after badgers in Oxfordshire, at the moment they are fundraising to set up a badger vaccination project – the link to donate is here GoFundMe vaccination project

Thank you and Happy New Year

StowYoung badger

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Last photos of 2018

It’s been another busy and exciting year in 2018. There always seems to be something to new to discover or learn about.

I had a weeks work experience at The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, saw glow worms for the first time, help out with small mammal and large mammal surveys, looked around my local patch with a thermal imaging camera and helped out with a couple of badger rescues, and more importantly a badger re-release.

During 2018 I spoke on a panel with a number of other great young wildlife conservationists at Birdfair and walked with thousands through London on Chris Packham’s ‘The People’s walk for Wildlife’.

 

 

During July I was invited to be one of the Young Presenters on Chris Packham’s Bioblitz

 

As the sun set on the last day of 2018 we took a walk around my local patch.

 

I’d like to say a huge thank you for all the support during 2018. For reading my blog, the likes, the comments and shares on social media.

2019 is going to be an eventful year with GCSE’s, my debut book being released and leaving school to start college.

Hopefully we can make 2019 a safer year for wildlife!

Wishing everybody a Happy New Year

Stay Wild

Alex

Posted in Animals, Badgers, Birdfair, Blogging, Books, Citizen science, Environment, Happy New Year, Local patch, mammals, nature, Oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, Wildlife photography, Wildlife Rescue | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Hazel Hill Wood

Recently I had the chance to visit the magical Hazel Hill Wood

Hazel Hill wood, near Salisbury, is a 70 acre ancient woodland plus wildflower meadow.

The setting is completely off the grid with electricity from photo-voltaic systems, compost toilets, running water from a ground water capture system and heating powered by wood burning stoves.

On set dates throughout the year they hold volunteer conservation days and family conservation weekends. A few weeks ago I spent the day there, doing a mammal survey.

On arrival Charley met us and with a map in hand we set off around the self-guided paths which twist and turn through the mixture of oaks, beech and ash trees.

Back at the The Oak house, once we had a quick bite to eat and familiarised ourselves with the area, we set off again on a more structured walk of the wood.

During the day we spotted one hare, 2 fallow deer, a herd of 6 Roe deer and 2 Muntjac deer.

Mid-afternoon we met back up with Charley and a few volunteers that were working in over in Wild West area. Charley had brought along a stove to make hot drinks, as well as cake. Much needed after a a few hours wildlife surveying.

It was a great day and if you fancy volunteering at Hazel Hill Wood – here’s the link – http://www.hazelhill.org.uk/volunteer-conservation-days/

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The Round House where you can sleep undercover.

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The Oak House

The Forest ark

The Forest ark. One of the places you can stay.

More yellow staghornFungi

Lighting fire

Charley lighting the stove

snuff holes

Badger snuffle holes

Yellow staghorn

Yellow Staghorn fungi

Posted in Animals, Blogging, Citizen science, mammals, nature, outdoors, survey, Uk nature, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Wildlife photography, Woodland | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Lost Words evening for Sobell House

Seems like ages since I’ve written a blog.

With a GCSE Graphic Art project due in this week and January mock exams fast approaching I don’t seem to have much time.

A couple of weeks ago I went to an evening of ‘Lost Words’ in aid of Sobell House, Oxford at the Sheldonian Theatre. I’d been to The Lost Words evening with Jackie Morris and Robert Macfarlane before but I wasn’t quite ready for the evening ahead.

On top of the beautiful drawings and paintings from the very talented Jackie Morris and Spells from equally talented, Robert Macfarlane, the evening was hosted by Dr Rachel Clarke.

Between art, spells, chatting and music a number of people spoke about how Sobell House had helped them and their families. By the end of the evening I don’t think there was a dry eye in the whole building.

I’m a bit late blogging about the evening and quite a few people have beaten me to it including one of the guest speakers Mr Ed Finch

Mr Finch’s wife, Diane, had stayed at Sobell house before her death and her song she record there was one of the most moving parts of the evening. If you have a moment, please read Mr Finch’s blog Ed Finch 

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Jackie Morris – Otter

 

 

Posted in Animals, Blogging, Oxfordshire, The Lost Words, Uncategorized, Wildlife | 2 Comments

How often does a badger change its bed?

Badgers use a variety of materials as bedding, depending on the time of year.

Most commonly used is dry grass, leaves, bracken, hay, straw and moss. They use also Bluebells and other green material during the Spring, which as it decays produces heat which can help keep the cubs warm.  Garlic leaves are sometimes used which may help remove pests such as fleas, ticks and lice due to the strong smell.

Nesting chambers are filled with bedding materials to keep the badger insulated, off the wet mud and to minimise draughts. During harsh winter, windy weather I’ve seen my local badgers use bedding to temporarily block exposed entrance holes.

Badgers will change their bedding regularly to control flea infestations, badger fleas only jump onto the badgers to feed but mainly live in the bedding.

Badger will regularly ‘air’ their bedding, bring it out in to the open, leaving it out close to an entrance hole during a dry, sunny day to kill off pests, before taking back down in the evening.

A couple of times a year they will completely replace all bedding, normally before winter and before the cubs are born.

Michael Clark, author of ‘Badgers’ noted that in one case bedding  stayed underground for 14 months.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Animals, Badgers, Blogging, Environment, Local patch, mammals, nature, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Woodland | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments