Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Scrag is now looking particularly beautiful; the autumn is rapidly approaching the peak of colour and fortunately we haven't had a blow so the golden leaves are still firmly on the trees. Field maple is probably the first to go really yellow, followed by hornbeam and then oak. I have been out capturing the colour on camera and will attach some images in the next day or so.
I have also been busy trying to coax a robin to a regular perch; I have done this before very easily in gardens where the birds are habituated to people, but in Scrag it has been taking some time. Eventually, however, the resident robin around the storage shed has started taking the bait, mealworms in this case. So, I intend to keep this up and re-build the unsuccessful robin hide nearer this location; this will provide another shooting hide for photographers.
The birds in the general baiting area are now in good numbers after a slow start at the beginning of the month. I think the chilly nights, sometimes down to freezing a couple of times have triggered this. The cold nights will be killing off some of the invertebrates so the feeders are becoming more attractive to them. All groups on the woodland birds workshops are getting plenty of great spotted woodpecker opportunities. The nuthatches, however, are proving less reliable; they are very much present in Scrag generally but are visiting the feeders less often than they have in the past, possibly it is just a question of time.
The group of photographers I had last Thursday were lucky to witness a sparrowhawk kill right in front of the hide. After a scream of alarm calls and frantic commotion in the edge of a hornbeam, the male sparrowhawk then swerved across the front of us showing his cinnamon barred underparts and prey gripped in his talons. He took his meal to the back of the hide area to consume before gliding, 10 minutes later, down to the pond for a post meal drink. Dramatic stuff!
As far as work goes, the badger platform now has a set of safer steps running up to it instead of the step ladder; I always had my heart in my mouth as members of public negotiated the step ladder in the dark! I have also stapled chicken wire to the bridge where the public footpath crosses the stream; another dangerous spot, especially in the wet! I want to get all these jobs done well before the winter takes hold.

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