Wildlife Camera Sightings

So finally got back from Devon and what’s the first thing I want to do ? You’ve guessed it … look and see what my camera has captured! Well here goes …. Wildcameraa wood pigeon Wildcameraa squirrel Wildcameraa magpie Wildcamerathe usual suspect cat , I wonder what he’s up to ? WildcameraAnd at last- the one I was hoping for… a fox! WildcameraWildcameraWe’ve reset the camera at a different angle in the hope of getting more close-ups and clearer pictures of these lovely animals…watch this space!

Greenway and Dittisham 

An amazing and ridiculously dog friendly place to go!

First we started off at “greenway ” – a national trust park which was Agatha Christie’s holiday Home and the location where John Suchard’s Poirot was filmed.

Surrounded by beautiful scenery and dogs are allowed anywhere including formal gardens. The only place they’re not allowed is the house itself .

Hurry up

It is quite hilly but well worth the views you get . The staff are really friendly almost like a family and you are made to feel very welcome . Easily lose a good few hours . But must warn you parking has to be prebooked  in advance . National trust members totally free . 

Next stop ferry to Dartmouth and back just a two minute drive from greenway . You can board a ferry and take a 1 hour ferry to Dartmouth and back . Yet again dogs allowed for free .

I just had to get in shot !

This is the life !!

A very nice leisurely cruise . You can see agatha christies house plus the royal naval college where prince Philip first met the queen and a viaduct built for the steam trains ( still in use and also dog friendly ) by Isambard  kingdom Brunel .

Not another boat !

And when you finally get off the ferry . Why not get straight on another boat to dittisham . Yep you guessed it dog friendly . Two minutes across the river . A really small village with lots of trails to discover . Or if you have older dogs just visit the local pub “FBI ” fishing boat inn. It’s very small but the staff are incredibly friendly again .

It’s not a posh place , in fact it was like going back in time but well worth a visit to get a real Devon experience .

Tomorrow is the pirate festival at Brixton . Watch this space to see what we get up to!

Frogs and Toads- What is the Difference ?

Frogs and Toads are a huge part of our wildlife here in Britain, but do you know the differences between these to creatures?

FROGS

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  • Have long legs so are able to jump good distances . They have a mucus on they’re skin which makes them feel slimy
  • Their body is quite narrow and they have many predators .
  • They also lay their spawn in clusters . And they need to stay near water .

TOADS

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  • shorter legs and are more likely to walk- although they can jump a little bit.
  • Their skin is much rougher and thicker .
  • They lay their spawn in strands but don’t need to stay near water other than when they spawn . They have fewer prey as they can secrete a horrible taste and smell.

I have both in my garden. What have you got? 

Mysterious Holes! 

Have you ever been in your garden and wondered how holes are appearing in the leaves of you shrubs ?

Image result for leaf cutter beeThe culprit is a ” Leaf Cutter Bee”

This species of bee isn’t very big but they’re very industrious . The female cuts semicircular discs from your leaves to use in their nests . They usually nest in small crevices in rotten wood .Image result for leaf cutter bee

Next time your in your garden if you notice holes in your leaves . Keep an eye out as they will be back and it’s pretty awesome to watch!

Wildlife Night Camera 

So I’ve taken the plunge… I’ve decided to get a Wildlife Camera.

I’m up at 3.30 every morning and I always hear noises outside, and I’m hoping I will be able to capture the culprits . 

I’m suspecting they are foxes as they are digging up holes near my compost bin .

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Image result for foxSo I’m hoping to capture these lovely animals on camera. Maybe even some cubs if I’m lucky. If I do, I will be sure to update you all!

I think it’s a shame that our native mammal is classed as vermin … what do you think?

Devil’s Coachman

Ever seen one of these in your garden ?

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This a a Devil’s Coachman.

These are very good natural pesticide . They eat slugs , spiders,  fly larvae and other invertebrates .

It’s rare you’ll see them in the day as they’re nocturnal and like to hide in damp crevices or rotting wood .

If you go to touch one it will rear its hind quarters like a scorpion and opens its jaw and it can give a nasty bite if it’s really threatened . Image result for devils coachman

However they are a real gardeners friend so be glad you’ve got them in your garden.

“The Violet Ground Beetle ” Image result for violet ground beetle

This less aggressive beetle has similar tastes  to the devils coachman and will also feed on carrion (dead animals) – which is great for us because it gets rids of waste.

Females lay their eggs in soil and the larvae emerge as active feeders themselves.

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Violet Ground Beetle Larvae

I never said all nature was beautiful . But there is a balance where everything has its role to play. So remember that if you see these creatures in your garden, don’t hurt them, they are there to help!

Save our Bees

IMG_3045.JPGWhy isn’t more being done to save our bees ? Neonicotinoids are believed to result in a decline of the queen bees’ life span in colonies. This causes stress on worker bees to almost constantly raise a queen bee, leading them to try and forage while too young and to often die from this dangerous task.
The truth is that without the bee to pollinate our flowers , trees and crops we will starve .

What makes things worse is it’s all our fault Pesticides!

So the only thing we can do is ,

do our bit . Planting bee friendly plants as in my previous blog . But also reduce or stop the use of chemicals .

If you have got a medium sized garden try to loosen up on the weeding as these are a vital natural food source . Or maybe dedicate one small section of your garden to allow those ugly weeds that the bees need to feed well . 

Oh and please leave some water out even just a small dishful can make all the difference!

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Cats in the Garden

IMG_3147IMG_3148I love cats I really do . But I wish people would put bells on them . They’re a really good predator and it’s a scary time for the birds as they’re rushing around building nests , roosting or even rearing chicks .IMG_3002

I’ve been sat I the garden today and I’ve seen lots of species of bird . Long tailed tits , blue tits . Wrens which are nesting in my garden . The mischievous starlings are back and they always seem up to no good and I always fill the bird bath up as they love a good bath . Sparrows are always in but all the birds are wary of the hooligan magpies . And my latest cheeky friend is a robin who seems to have been watching Tony blackbird feeding on mealworms from the table.IMG_3150

I have a large amount of feeders all over the garden offering all sorts of tasty treats to encourage as many birds as possible . Mixed seed . Fat blocks . Peanuts and Niger seeds .

Why don’t you try and find time over the weekend to see how many different birds you can see . I was only out for five minutes and I saw all of these including the usual collared doves and woodpigeons practicing karate on each other in their fight for territory !!! 

He’s such a poser

Having a good wash

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Pigeon Alert 

Now this photo may look a little strange but I got the inspiration for this from something I’ve seen .

 

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Im a huge lover of wildlife but I’m afraid the common pigeon is a pest . So this is an experiment to see if I can stop them making a nuisance of themselves .

IMG_3005 The odd one I don’t mind but if you let one in your soon over run . I’m just hoping the wood pigeons and collared doves figure it out . 

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I’m also hoping this will stop my feeders from clogging up with rain water. And if all else fails, it gives the neighbours something to talk about!

Took a few hours but he finally cracked it !!! No pigeons no far so fingers crossed

A View from my Pond 

Take a closer look at this photo . Believe it or not , this isn’t compost it’s a small section of my pond . So many tadpoles it’s hard to separate them . I’ve never had so many!

I like to encourage frogs into the garden as they reduce the need for insecticides especially slug pellets which I like to avoid using as I have two dogs: One springer “Archie ” and a sprocker “Millie “.

So well this year I’m definitely going to have to supplement the tadpoles diet . But not just yet as they’re still feeding on their egg sacks . I will give you updates as the next few weeks go on.