A family walk this morning. Took a trip out to the Somerset Levels, now that we are allowed to travel a bit more.

Lots of birds – but no cuckoos. Swifts, sedge warblers, curlews, reed buntings, skylarks, egrets and swans.

Meadows looking lovely. Lots of flowers including orchids (Southern Marsh?).

 

Drama in the garden when we returned. Birds giving alarm calls – turned out a great spotted woodpecker was having a crack at the box where the great tits are nesting.

It hammered a hole in the underside and get at the young chicks – grisly. Think it got one and killed a second.

Managed to effect a temporary repair using a flattened baked bean tin and wire. Hopefully it will hold out enough to keep the woodpecker off. Later saw one of the adult great tits hauling the remains of a dead chick out. Am hoping the remaining two will survive.

International Dawn Chorus Day

Got out into the garden this morning to listen to the dawn chorus, and made these two recordings. Stereo recording, best listened to with headphones for full immersion.

First one at 5:15am, mainly blackbirds and robins. It started to rain as I recorded so you can hear that too.

Second recording, made at 6:00am and the sound profile has changed – many more species.

The blue tits that are using the nest box in our garden are getting much busier. Nest building is very much underway as can be seen in the picture below. I built and installed the box last year, and what they don’t know is that it has a hinged roof, so I can take a peek inside. This is not just from idle curiosity but so that I can record the nest activity for the BTO Nest Record Scheme. They are such bossy birds and are great fun to watch.

 

There was a moment of alarm last weekend when I realised the box was leaning at an odd angle. Part of the fixings I had used to attach it to the tree had come loose. Fortunately I was able to do a quick repair job without disturbing the birds – hence the string now tied around the box. Disaster averted!

 

 

 

Some positives from the last week or so…

For the second time in a week I have seen a peregrine falcon. This one was circling about a hundred metres above me – the heavier build was a give away, distinguishing it from our other falcons and hawks. The white on its face catching the sun as it wheeled, it climbed higher and higher without so much as a flap of the wings. Eventually it bent its wings back slightly and went into a glide, accelerating into the haze until I could no longer see it.


Of the few interactions I have with people at the moment, I have noticed that they smile more readily or give a greeting. While filling up with fuel recently another person pulled up at the adjacent pump and said ‘Good morning’ to me. That never usually happens. Normally, everyone is so preoccupied with their day that we are all go about our business in a vacuum.

More smiles can only be a good thing. I hope it continues into our post-pandemic world.


A week or so ago I emailed our MP to flag up our concern with what were, at the time, a distinct lack of measures to help self-employed people financially such as ourselves. Given that the southwest of England has one of the highest proportions of self-employed people in the country I imagine he was inundated with similar emails.

It took a few days, but I did get a response, and a good one at that, even if it was somewhat cut and paste. By that time the government had announced the new measures anyway so we were happy with that, but nonetheless I was pleased he did respond.


Not being able to buy flour from the supermarket has meant we have had to search elsewhere. My wife came across Burcott Mill and we have duly acquired a 12kg bag of their organic wholemeal flour. It makes the most delicious bread in our bread maker, and I really mean that. I think we will be converting to using their flour as standard from now on.

Heard my first Blackcaps of the year singing over the last couple of days. Still no swallows – with any luck they’ll turn up over the weekend. Bluetits still busy in the birdbox – don’t think they are building yet, a bit early. The robins seem to have been ousted from their nest box by a wren. They built their nest but a few days ago I realised that a wren was coming and going. Looks like he has just built the necessary on top of the robins nest.