A Month in Nature…….kind of!

A Long Tailed Tit on my feeders

Well, January was a funny month! With lockdown, plus three separate spells of isolation due to Covid in the household, it meant that for periods my walks were extremely local i.e., my garden! But nevertheless, I have made progress with my plans πŸ™‚ !

I’ve added new bird feeders, on the ground, raised up and hung, to suit all tastes πŸ™‚ ! I’ve set up my ‘dip pond’ – it is actually a large plastic trug which I have sunk into the ground to create a mini-pond with no fish, and into that I have introduced some frogspawn from a big puddle in the local park. I’ve done this because any frogspawn I get in my main pond just gets eaten. The problem is, it is only a small kidney shaped pond so there is nowhere for them to go to hide. Well now they, and hopefully other wildlife, have their only little pond πŸ™‚ !

The ‘Dip Pond’ under construction πŸ™‚

A couple of days ago, I was making some changes to my bird feeders and I needed a slab or tile so I went searching around the garden for one which I found leaning against the garage wall. When I picked it up though, I discovered a clump of hibernating snails behind it. Now as a gardener, I’m not a fan of snails but I didn’t have the heart to disturb them so I put the tile back and found something else to use πŸ™‚ ! I hope they don’t repay me by eating all my veg!

Hibernating Snails

In another part of the garden, I lifted a different tile and underneath were these tiny white eggs. These, I think, are slug or snail eggs. Again, I left them alone as I’m interested to see them hatch πŸ™‚ ! You might wonder why I have old tiles in my garden – well, I put them there deliberately because bugs like to hide under these and it is interesting to lift them occasionally and see what is under there. I have lots of odd things in my garden, such as piles of rotting wood, broken pots, bits of flotsam and jetsam from along the coast etc – it all adds to the interest……for me and the wildlife πŸ™‚ !

Slug or snail eggs

I had a couple of ideas to help record my nature findings, one was to acquire a wildlife camera to record night time activity in the garden, and the other was to get a longer lens for my DSLR so that I could take pictures of visitors to my little patch, and to take pictures of wildlife while out walking. The night time wildlife camera worked a treat for a week or two, regularly recording a mouse who lives in my garden, as well as early morning birds etc…….but then it packed up! Sadly, the replacement also packed up so I am now researching again to see if there are more reliable ones out there in my price bracket.

A Blue Tit in my garden

The long lens was more successful and I have been using it for a few days now – all the bird pictures here were taken with that and I am really enjoying using it. It’s not easy because birds generally don’t sit around and pose for too long…..apart from the robin that is πŸ™‚ ! And of course hand holding a long lens takes practice, especially with the generally poor winter light. Whilst I have been a photographer for most of my life, I have never really been able to capture birds with the equipment I had.

A Robin – I like how the background reflects his colours πŸ™‚

Actually Woodie the Woodpigeon is not bad at posing either πŸ™‚ ! He’s quite a character.

Woodie the Woodpigeon up close and personal

All my findings and activities are being recorded in my nature journal which is coming along quite nicely. Its not meant to be a pristine document for anyone to read, just a bit of fun to do as I like being creative. It will be really interesting to look back on in years to come, and who knows, maybe it will help me remember the names of some of the less common things πŸ™‚ !

Writing my nature journal

It is great to see nesting already beginning. In and around my small garden there are blue tits, robins, blackbirds, pigeons, great tits, long tailed tits, dunnock, gold finch, nuthatch and more. The last mentioned had their eye on my great tit nestbox, but the great tits were having none of it and saw them off. They must have found somewhere else because they, along with the others mentioned here, are daily visitors to my garden. Nearby also, magpies, thrushes and squirrels are starting to build nests, and we regularly hear the screeching of foxes and badgers at night, and the occasional owl as well. All this whilst living ‘in town’ – it must be amazing to live in the country!

I am really hoping that there will be opportunities to get out and about more but if not, then I still have more to do in my garden. I am still settling on the best position for my bird feeders so that they can be seen from the house as well as my hide (AKA the potting shed :0 )! I am also still developing my ‘Year in Nature’ journal. I am now thinking of moving my main pond as it is currently in full sun which means a lot of algae and green water when the summer sun is on it. Ideally it needs to be in a more shady spot.

And of course, I am still coming up with ideas on how to further re-wild my garden. When I was first married, it was so much easier because the houses all had wire fencing which meant that, as well as being able to chat to your neighbours, wildlife could move freely around. These days, most gardens have 6 feet high wooden fences, probably with concrete gravel boards down to the ground, so it is much harder for little creatures to move around. Plus of course, gardens seem to be much more sanitised than they were when I was younger, probably because they are generally smaller. I am really keen to continue exploring ways to blend the ‘sanitised and neat’ with the ‘wild and rambling’ that our little visitors prefer and this is no easy task in a small plot.

Stay safe, and thanks for stopping by.

Until next time,
Your friend
The Dorset Rambler

If you would like to contact me, my email address is terry.yarrow@gmail.com β€“ comments and feedback are always welcomed.

All words and pictures in this blog are the copyright of The Dorset Rambler and may not be reproduced without permission.

8 Comments

  1. I love your journal and pen! My dad kept nature notes from the 1970’s right up to 1992 and I am so lucky to have these now

    1. Thank you πŸ™‚ I’ve been a fountain pen user all my life and I really enjoy journalling. This year I decided to create a separate journal for my nature findings as they tend to get lost in a general, all-purpose journal. Having your dad’s journal must be really awesome – something to be treasured.

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