The Badgers have finally returned and have been seen late at night searching for food around the gardens, they haven't been seen for nearly a year and I was worried that something had happened to them. We had 6 visiting the garden on a regular basis during the winter of 2005 and I managed to film them through the living room window, it was truly an incredible experience to be able to watch them so close, sadly most sightings these days are of dead Badgers on the roadside.
A few deer have passed through with very young fawns, stopping to feed on the grass in the paddock outside our house, a common sighting throughout the year sometimes in numbers of 40+ but seldom seen with their young.
On the feeders have been Nuthatch, regular visits from 2 Marsh Tits, Long-tailed Tits have been passing through in family groups, no sign of the usual Goldcrest's that are often in the conifers. Both male and female Bullfinches have been seen regularly along the hedgerows nearby although not it the garden. Red-legged Partridge can often be seen and heard crossing the gardens and out in to the surrounding fields, no sign of any young or family parties.
Great-spotted Woodpeckers have raised 2 young and are occasionally on the feeders and bird bath during the day, the Green Woodpeckers on the other hand have raised 3 young and are regularly feeding on Ants on the lawns and paddocks around the cottage, they seem to favour the freshly cut lawns to feed on. A single juvenile Green Woodpecker is often found in our garden searching for food on our lawn which gave me the opportunity to film it while it fed.
Juvenile Green Woodpecker
One of the highlights of the month is certainly the regular sightings of both Little and Tawny Owls, the resident Little Owls have raised 2 young and can often been seen together in their favored perching places.They have often been sat out sunning themselves when the weathers been good, I watched all 4 or them sat in the orchard in the afternoon sun,the young were perched quietly whilst the adults searched for worms and beetles to feed them. They seem to be in and around the garden most nights often sat on the bird bath calling to each other.
Tawny Owls have been heard and seen over the last month on a regularly basis with calling birds being heard most nights in the area, one seems to favour the top of our cottage and is often "hooting" in the early hours. Mid-August brought a great view of a Tawny Owl hunting outside our cottage window late one evening, my girlfriend and I both watched as an adult Tawny perched quietly on the paddock fence searching for prey, it made 5 attempts to catch food from the long grass beneath it and was successful at least 3 times, the prey swallowed whole in one go leads me to believe they were probably voles rather than mice although both seem to be present in good numbers. It flew to each post in turn and remained transfixed searching the ground below, I continued watching it for at least 10 minutes with the aid of the outside light before it disappeared into the darkness. An hour later it could be heard calling from the trees nearby. Views like that are truly priceless and I was extremely lucky to film it from the front door without disturbing it.
A small Bat keeps doing flybys over the garden, At the beginning of August it was often flying while it was still light, I tried to film it but it's much too quick for me.
A Stoat was seen "dancing" around one of the gardens in mid-August but remains very elusive, I had a very brief view as one darted across the garden in October 2005 but didn't hold out much hope of seeing it again. That soon changed when I walked out to my car on Friday 24th and came face to face with a Stoat, it took both of us by surprise and we both froze checking each other out, it soon turned and headed off towards the orchard and I watched as he headed off into the long grass. My closest view previously being at Hambleden Lock when one ran out of the undergrowth next to the backwater and continued towards me, it stopped 10ft away sniffed the air then disappeared in to the undergrowth.