Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Wow, Scrag is looking spectacular at the moment; the bluebells are beginning to form that mist of blue across the woodland floor. These drifts blend into the rich green of dog's mercury and all interspersed with primroses, wood sorrel and golden saxifrage. The hornbeam is in leaf, an almost acid green along with hazel and hawthorn. The main bird hide was shrouded in blackthorn blossom for about a week. This blossom has now turned yellow-brown to be replaced by the leaves.
On sunny days the rides and paths are the fly-ways of orange tip butterflies. There seem to be a lot more this year and this could bode well for all the other butterfly species yet to emerge. Pray for a settled spring.
The badger watches are producing between 5 to 7 adults on each watch. No cubs yet, but I feel they are imminent, maybe tonight! The adults, however, are enough entertainment for the evening; as well as feeding they scratch, play-fight, dig, scent and just generally look in great condition.
This afternoon I am trying to photograph the orange tips followed by a badger watch for Sussex Wildlife Trust.

Friday, April 10, 2009

I think it is fairly typical April weather at the moment; bit of rain, bit of sun, pleasant temperatures. With this in mind there seemed to be more birds at the feeders yesterday after a worrying drop off during the warm sunny weather last week. I only say worrying as there are more 'woodland birds' events to go over the next 10 days or so and I like to get the birds for the customers! However, breeding season is well under way with nest material being stuffed into the tit boxes; sometimes they are a little over-ambitious with the wad of moss they try to get through the 28mm hole!
I watched a pair of great spotted woodpeckers mating at around 6pm; excellent, please make more woodpeckers but please excavate your nest hole at head height and in good light, so I can set up a hide on it, thank you.
Did a badger watch with my parents yesterday. After a slow start, we happily watched up to 5 badgers out around the sett. They came out a little later than on Tuesday, so I had to use the red light on them. This doesn't disturb them and allows easy viewing as I don't have to hold it. Terry Goble gave me this light for my birthday last year, thanks Terry, it's great! I think he gave it to me because I borrowed his previous light for the whole year, sorry.
So, in the end it was a lovely watch and we left as the full-moon was rising.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

After a day teaching woodland bird photography at Scrag Copse, I met Dave and Penny Green for a badger watch. This was, surprisingly, my first watch of the year so I was excited to say the least. We only had to wait 30 minutes before the first badger, the dominant sow, emerged and dragged a big pile of bedding underground. She soon reappeared and mooched around the sett mound, quickly joined by two other males. We watched for about 50 minutes, testing the reaction to using laser dots (no reaction at all), red lights (surprisingly wary) and we even used a thermal imaging camera which was a great way to count the badger numbers.
Overall it was a fantastic start to the season and I'm looking forward to the next one on Thursday. If you are interested in a private badger watch for a group of up to 6 people, please contact me via the website www.davidplummerimages.co.uk
Alternatively, contact Sussex Wildlife Trust on 01273 497561 to book onto an organised watch. i suggest booking soon as all the events and available nights are filling up quickly.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

I know, I know, but I have been so overly busy I have not had a slightest chance of updating the blog recently. I have been dashing into Scrag to get jobs done but my main task at the moment is finishing the woodpecker hole survey at Chidingfold Forest before the leaves obscure vision too much. Combine this with teaching many photography workshops and I have not had a day off since January!
However, I'm sorry for the lack of updates so here's a synopsis of events at Scrag:
  • 5 slow worms and a grass snake yesterday
  • blackthorn is just flowering nicely
  • chiff chaff singing repeatedly around the hide
  • goldfinches are now joined by 6+ siskins, this is super!
  • lesser celandine, wood sorrel, golden saxifrage flowering
  • wren carrying nest material
  • woodland floor is now green with dogs mercury and bluebells (not yet flowering)
  • hawthorn and hornbeam just coming into leaf creating a light green blush
In short Scrag Copse is entering the advanced stages of spring and things are getting very, very exciting. I am badger watching this Tuesday and I hope very soon to be able to update you about how many badger cubs there are this year. Thanks for sticking with the blog.