Garden Wildlife – Part 11 Wildflowers

The garden today is starting to come alive with wildflowers. In the grass, the flower borders, the gravel and between the cracks in the patio. I was quite surprised by just how many I found in the space of a few minutes

Many may call these weeds but they are an important source of food for insects.

Cowslip - Primula veris

Cowslip

Hairy bitter-cress

Hairy Bitter Cress

Lords and ladies

Lords and ladies

Dandelion

Dandelion

Germander Speedwell

Germander Speedwell

Red dead nettle

Red dead nettle

Common Groundsel - Senecio vulgaris

Groundsel

Common nettle

Common nettle

Common Daisy

Common Daisy

Lesser celandine

Lesser celandine

I have no id for these two, so I would be happy if anyone could help – Thank you

Now have a name for one, thanks to Eliza – ivy-leaved speedwell

 

 

Posted in Environment, garden, Get Your Boots On, insects, Local patch, nature, outdoors, Oxfordshire, Uncategorized, Wildflowers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Garden Wildlife – Part 10 Badger faces and tails

I quite often get asked how I individually identify my local badgers. It isn’t the easiest thing especially this time of year as I haven’t seen them as much over the winter and new wounds and marks appear.

I’ve had some time to go over footage from the last time I had my trail cameras out at my local sett.

Firstly I look at their faces.

These are three different badgers. It is easy to tell the one with the damaged ear in the bottom two photos but not so easy to see that the top two are different badgers again.

Once I’ve looked at the faces I then look at the tails. Some have fluffy tails, some straight and thin.

Badgers often hang out with certain other badgers in the clan. This is an archive piece of footage

 

Some badgers are tolerant of other wildlife, while some are not.

This is another archive piece of footage

 

I use a similar method with visiting foxes but also using the length of their black socks.

If you don’t have visiting badgers or foxes to your garden, you could try identifying individual birds such as wood pigeons, blue tits or blackbirds.

I find it easier to take photos then compare the photos side by side.

 

 

Posted in Animals, Badgers, fox, Local patch, mammals, outdoors, Oxfordshire, Stay Wild, trail camera, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Wildlife photography | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Garden Wildlife – Part 9 Bluebells

In my garden, we have a mixture of Spanish bluebells that were there when my parents bought the house and native bluebells, neither of which have flowered yet, but out on my walk today I spotted the first flowering Bluebells close to my house.

Bluebells 31st March

Bluebells

There are a few differences between the native Bluebells and Spanish Bluebells

  • English bluebells have a scent, Spanish don’t
  • English Bluebells have a drooping stem, Spanish ones have a straight stem
  • English Bluebells have narrow leaves (under 1.5cm wide), Spanish ones have wider leaves.
  • English Bluebells have deep blue, violet flowers which curl back at the ends, Spanish ones are paler and straighter
  • English Bluebells have cream coloured anthers, Spanish ones mainly have blue anthers.

Also spent some time today watching the visitors, like this blue tit, to the garden.

Blue tit

Lots of well known contributors added their thoughts, ideas, and advice to Get Your Boots On to help encourage more people to enjoy the wildlife on their doorstep.

From ecologists, scientists, underwater photographers, campaigners, vets, wildlife camera operators, YouTubers, trail camera experts, writers, museum curators, podcasters and wildlife enthusiasts.

Get Your Boots On - Cover

Posted in Animals, birds, Blogging, Books, Environment, garden, Get Your Boots On, Local patch, nature, outdoors, Oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, Wildflowers, wildlife books, Wildlife photography | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Garden Wildlife – Part 8 Angle shades pupa

I came across this pupa in the garden, after doing a bit of research I think it is a pupa for an Angle shades moth.

IMG_9062

I’m hoping to be able to film it hatching using timelapse.

This is a photo of a caterpillar from December

caterpillar

This is the moth it will become. I took this photo in the house last year.

Angle shades moth

 

 

Posted in Blogging, garden, Get Your Boots On, Local patch, nature, outdoors, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Wildlife photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Garden Wildlife – Part 7 View from the windows

I realise that I’m very lucky to have such amazing views from our windows.

We live in a bungalow but we do have Velux windows that show the landscape for miles around.

We live at the end of a village surrounded by woodland and farmland.

I’ve often wondered how far I could actually see, so I’ve taken some photos and using an Ordnance Survey map worked out landmarks, then an online distance calculator to work out the distance ‘as the crow flies’.

In the photo below, through the gap where the two telegraph poles are, I can see 10 miles to the South West

IMG_4952

This is the view West, again the horizon is roughly 10 miles.

IMG_4957

To the North, North West took a little more time to work out as there are no real distinctive landmarks. The pylon in the photo is 1 km away and the first ridge of tree is Tar wood which is 4.5 miles away then beyond that on the horizon is the town of Witney, 7 miles away. I know that because in September we can just about work out the lights from the annual Witney Feast Fair.

IMG_4955

Lastly the view to the North East is of a wood on a hill 2.5 miles away.

IMG_4950

From the front of our house, I can watch the sun set. In the winter it sets to the left but as the spring moves through to summer the sun sets further and further to the right.

IMG_4953

One thing I love watching out of the window is the rooks as they come in to roost for the evening as well as the geese and gulls heading in and out of Farmoor reservoir (2 miles away).

IMG_9101

geese

 

Posted in birds, Blogging, Environment, garden, Local patch, Oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Woodland | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Garden wildlife – Part 6 Foxes

Living in the countryside our local foxes run the gauntlet of fast traffic down country lanes and the gamekeepers gun, I’m glad to offer a safe place in our garden.

My local vixen hasn’t visited for a week or more, so last night I put some food out for her and not only did she visit, but you can see on the photo she must have cubs somewhere.

Trail cameras are a great way to find out what visits your garden while you are asleep.

Female fox

 

SCREENSHOT 2020-03-27 AT 20.31.22

Over the past few years, I’ve managed to get a number of photos of the foxes.

Posted in Animals, Blogging, fox, garden, trail camera, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Wildlife photography | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Garden Wildlife- Part 5 Ladybirds

Very short blog today as I’ve been really busy with college work, but did manage to get out in the garden to take a couple of photos of ladybirds.

  • There are 46 different Ladybird species in the UK. 27 of those actually look like what most people think a ladybird looks like.
  • Ladybirds are small to medium sized beetles (Coccinellidae).
  • They are usually round or oval, they are brightly coloured and patterned.
  • The most common is the 7 spot ladybird.
  • Ladybirds always have the same number of spots, they don’t grow more spots.
  • They are brightly coloured as a warning to predators.
  • The horrible yellow liquid you find on your hands sometimes after holding a ladybird is called reflex blood, it smells and contains toxins that may put off a predator.

IMG_8823

IMG_8800

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Posted in Animals, Blogging, Books, Environment, garden, Get Your Boots On, Nature Books, Oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Wildlife photography | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments