Birdsy Camera

Over the past few months I have been using a Birdsy camera and software as part of a trial.

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Not only is it a camera that films wildlife, in your garden but the software identifies the species of bird.

Each clip that is recorded is stored under the name of the bird or in a file for the day it was filmed. There is also an option for a folder for ‘favourites’.

You are also able to watch a live stream from the camera on your mobile phone or computer.

 

What I love about it are that the clips are social media ready so I don’t have to do much with them.

I’ve also had quite a bit of success filming wildlife in the garden at night.

Click here for more details about Birdsy

Posted in Animals, Autumn, birds, Blogging, Environment, fox, garden, Get Your Boots On, Local patch, mammals, nature, Uncategorized, Wildlife | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Harvest mice

Last weekend I was supposed to be going out to help survey Harvest mice nests, but with the large amount of rain during the previous few days the survey was postponed until the following day, which I couldn’t make.

I was a little disappointed as I’d never seen a harvest mouse and I think I’ve only ever seen a nest, once on our allotment, so I was keen to learn more about these tiny mammals.

Luckily I was invited to a small mammal trapping session where there would be a good possibility of finding harvest mice.

During the survey we collected 60 traps. A total of 15 small mammals, including field and bank voles, a wood mouse and I’m please to say, a harvest mouse.

A few fun facts about Harvest Mice – Micromys minutus

  • Smallest rodent in Europe
  • Weigh 4g to 6g
  • Life span of approximately 18 months
  • Only British mammal to have a prehensile tail
  • They eat seeds, fruits and occasionally insects
  • Called the harvest mouse because they used to nest in crops and were often seen at harvest time
  • Their nests are made out of woven grass around 10cm in diameter for breeding, but smaller for individual use
  • They can have up to seven litters a year, containing 8 young
  • Tennis balls have been used for substitute nests for surveying and reintroduction (Google this for some super cute photos)
  • During winter they use holes underground for safety and warmth

 

 

Get Your Boots On is now available from the publisher (The fastest way to get it) by clicking this link Dived Up

Or you can ask for it in your local book shop or order online from Amazon UK

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Autumn Thrushes

While stood at the window watching the Great tits and Sparrows squabbling over the bird feeders and the Jackdaws swinging acrobatically upside down trying to peck away at the fat balls, I noticed high in the sky an unruly flock of birds passing over head.

Within an instant, almost as a second thought, they did a u-turn and swopped down, landing in the Hawthorn hedge across the road.

The first of this years Redwings have arrived on my local patch.

They picked at a few berries, making their ‘seep’ sound, but as a passing car rushed by, they took to the air and disappeared down the road.

Over the next few weeks hundreds more will appear, until the whole of the hedgerows on the road leading out of the village will be alive with Redwings, Fieldfares and Blackbirds which rise in clouds in to the sky with each passing car.

Until the berries are gone when they may venture into the garden after fallen apples.

Redwing

 

Last week the camera in my garden filmed a Green woodpecker not only looking for grubs in the grass but feeding on an apple.

I didn’t know they ate fruit until I was told on social media that Green woodpeckers will eat fruit when there are less insects around.

Posted in Animals, Autumn, birds, Books, garden, Get Your Boots On, hedgerows, Local patch, nature, Oxfordshire, Uncategorized, Wildlife photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Autumn Colours at Wytham Woods

Wytham Woods near Oxford is well know for its studies in to Badgers and Blue tits.

It is the home to the University of Oxford’s The Laboratory with Leaves

Anyone can visit as long as you apply for one of Wytham woods free permits.

Recently, I was very kindly invited to take an autumn walk through the wood with people from the Zoology Dept.

The idea was to photograph the changing colours of the season but unfortunately as the weather had been warm and with no morning frosts in this area yet, the leaves were still mostly green.

That didn’t matter, we had a great walk around the wood, it was brilliant to meet a new group of people with loads of enthusiasm for nature, and there were plenty of amazing fungi to take photos of.

 

Posted in Autumn, Badgers, Books, Environment, Fungi, Get Your Boots On, Local patch, nature, outdoors, Oxfordshire, photography, Stay Wild, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Wildlife photography, Woodland, Wytham woods | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Crazy few days

Sunday saw the first hedgehog day in Witney Oxfordshire, organised by Hugh Warwick. A day where people came together to celebrate all things hedgehog and spread the word on how you can make the place you live hedgehog friendly.

It was a great chance for me to meet up again with Kyra and Sophie from Hedgehog Friendly Town

They had brought along their Biodiversity Tumble tower which shows quite clearly that our whole ecosystem can come crashing down at anytime if we carry on taking important pieces away.

Please take a moment to check out the fantastic work Kyra and Sophie do.

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Straight after the Hedgehog day finished, we dashed over to Abingdon to the Wilderland Festival.

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The festival is the UK’s first touring wildlife film festival. Tour dates

The evening comprised of a series of short films put together and hosted by zoologist filmmakers Dan O’Neill and Isaac Rice. Most of the films highlighted the struggles that our wildlife faces and were quite hard hitting at times.

The films included A place for Penguins, Person of the Forest, Flamboyant, Blood Island, Big Booom, Keeper of the Call, A Voice above Nature, Living with Snow Leopards and Spirit of the Mountains.

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Monday morning was an exciting and early start for me.

I had been invited to spend the day with the crew on set, while they filmed some of Ben Garrod’s new series.

I’m at the beginning of a Media and editing course, and the day gave me a great insight in to the job roles of each person involved and how filming is put together.

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Finally, back home, last night I visited a local Cub Scout group and gave them a talk about discovering their local patch.

They are participating in the Scout’s  ‘A Million Hands’ programme, working towards achieving their Community Impact Staged Activity Badge.

As they are concentrating on ‘Protecting our environment’ theme we plants some conkers and acorns, while talking about the problems with plastics and peat.

I was really impressed by how much they already knew and how hard they have been working.

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Posted in Animals, Blogging, Environment, Hedgehogs, Local patch, nature, Oxfordshire, plastic waste, Uk nature, Uncategorized, Wildlife Rescue | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Fallow deer behaviour

As Autumn arrives the activity of the Fallow deer increases and the gathering in of the harvest makes them more visible.

After noticing a few signs and seeing a couple of glimpses of a herd of female fallow deer, I did a bit of detective work, following trails, prints, droppings and the trees the male had marked.

After a few days of moving trail cameras around in different areas, I came across a regular meeting place for both the male and female Fallows, known this time of year as a rutting stand.

Male Fallow deer

The adult male Fallow deer has marked certain trees by fraying the bark and scent marking with his sub-orbital scent glands, he also urinates on parts of the ground and scrapes the mud away with his hooves. This is done as the rutting season commences. Two particular young trees have been thrashed, which you can see in the photos above.

You can clearly see his ‘Adam’s Apple’ in this clip.

 

Not long after the adult male deer scent marked the ground and nearby trees, this young male comes to carefully check things out.

 

A few hours later another young male Fallow deer does the same.

 

As dawn breaks the adult male returns

 

Finally the herd of around 8 to 10 females with their young pass by. Generally the dominant doe will be leading the herd. The does will have been attracted by the activity and signs the male creates.

 

 

The rutting season peaks in October and last around 7 to 10 days

GYBO - deer

Get Your Boots On is now available from the publisher (The fastest way to get it) by clicking this link Dived Up

Or you can ask for it in your local book shop or order online from Amazon UK

Posted in Animals, Blogging, Books, Bushnell, Environment, Get Your Boots On, Local patch, mammals, nature, outdoors, photography, Stay Wild, trail camera, Uk nature, Uncategorized, Wildlife photography, Woodland | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Red Rebels In Oxford

Dressed from head to toe in blood red clothing and veils, the slow moving, mime artists with emotionless faces, often seen around the Extinction Rebellion demonstrations are now commonly known as The Red Rebels.

They are accompanied by supporters handing out leaflets and newspapers explaining the message behind the art, to draw attention to issues of ecological and climate emergency.

It was explained to passers-by that one of the messages was the figures wear red to symbolise the blood of all the animals which have been affected by climate change in the past and will be in the future.

As the group worked their way through ancient buildings of learning and past modern buildings selling fast fashion they were greeted by mixed reactions.

There were nods and smiles of support, but also mumbles of annoyance.

Some people stopped and asked for explanations, while others plainly didn’t want to be educated.

 

Posted in Blogging, Climate, Climate strike, Environment, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments