Further Ferrets

Posted by Ian

Saw our small mustelid again early (very early) this morning;bit surprised as I would have thought yesterdays rabbit offering would have kept him in bed.Took a picture on my camera phone and sent it to my cohorts.Went back again armed with a ‘proper’ camera this afternoon to try and post a pic on the blog but he must of seen me coming!.Iam trying to keep this brief now for those bored with ferret tales.

Ferrets– Episode Three

Posted by Ian

I hesitated posting this blog to-day,due to the risk of ‘He’s making this up’; but on we go;nice quiet afternoon, so armed with new bag and string (just in case you understand) off we went along the west side to cover the same route as yesterday.Not a soul about,always find it strange that such a beautiful place does not attract more pilgrims.Anyway–arrived within 100meters of the last ferret sighting,and was rewarded by a male Stonechat sat on a fence post,really nice to see ,they were devastated two winters ago and have gone from being a common sight to being a ‘nice to see’.Then–there he was,I kid you not,doing what ferrets do I suppose when they are hungry.Out came the bag and string–two near misses later (fingers not ferret) and I gave up again (what a wimp).Admitting defeat we (me and Pip) carried on along the fence and guilty as charged, Pip caught a rabbit!. You can guess the rest–off we went with Mrs Bun back to our slender friend and threw him the offering.Our friend pounced on the furry package and dragging it between his legs disappeared down a rabbit hole which I guess has become his residence (where are Phil and Kirsty when you need them).Feeling slightly better , although still on his own our ferret has a warm dry home and a full stomach!. Ps got a really nice view of a female Sparrow Hawk on the way back,perched by the rifle butts.

Feisty Ferrets etc

Posted by Ian

Interesting week— thurs 8th march was a dry day,so set off to walk around the west side of the reserve following the tide line for anything of interest (big tides next few days).Rounding the end of the Island near the two small shore side ponds (101/2) I noticed movement on the tideline—turned out to be a ferret complete with harness (but no lead).The little critter was very tame and ran up to me and climbed up the outside of my leg.After my own version of ‘Riverdance’ the pesky thing climbed down and started to follow me while I pondered how to take it safely back home.Running out of ideas I sadly left it and continued back.

Repeated my walk on Saturday 10th and found a mesh bag on the shoreline ‘just in case’. The thought of coming across the little chap again amongst the acres of dunes seemed very remote,and after a couple of hours I stowed the bag for ‘next time’—,but as I made my way back there he was,wandering along without a care.I pulled out my overtrousers and did my best to capture him , he did’nt seem quite pleased with my attempts and promptly bit through my finger!!.After a version of the ‘Hand Jive’ the sweet little thing finally let go. Sad to say I gave up the task of ‘rescuing’ him and left him there—watch this space.

This morning (Sun 11th) was quite tame in comparison,but after an early start on a nice still morning, I watched a group of magpies,nine in total mobbing a female roe deer—never seen or heard of that before.

No two days are the same on the reserve!

5th MARCH

Posted by Ian

Lovely sunny day,walked northwards along the beach round to scarth,never seen the wreck (Anastasia) so exposed.Cut up through the dunes and found a thrushes anvil with hundreds of banded snail remains,there have been a lot of migrant thrushes this year.

Carried on through the dunes and as I passed through the last locked farm gate I noticed an old chap bent double carrying two white buckets,looked like a paddy field rice worker.I shouted over but my Chinese is not that good so he never replied.You see all sorts on the reserve!!.

Beached Bird Survey 28th Feb

Posted by Ian

Usual suspects—Bri, Ian,Bill and Geof tramped in two teams –Earnse Bay to Scarth and Teasdale Road to scarth.

Met for lunch and compared bird finds, Brian and Ian 4 Bill and Geof 0,which was four more than we found last time.

Don’t think this is a good sign,just think there are more foxes scavenging the tide line.

Not a bad day –no wind just a bit damp, a big improvement from when Bill normally comes down from Broughton.

Good company –good pies—a good day.

PM Mon 27th Feb

More postings by Ian

Wet ‘Orrible’ afternoon but rewarded by the sight of a roebuck with two does by the reed bed (due to fawn April/early May).

Common toads on their way to the ponds—early this year usually second week in March

Sunday/Monday 26th/27th February

Posted by Ian

Sunday–walking along the west side of the reserve came across a freshly killed fox,guessed by the size it was a vixen.

This is the second fox I have come across in the last few weeks.Are they being killed on the reserve or being washed up ?.

Monday—watched a fox cross infront of me this morning by the large apple tree,see one just about every week,they do seem to be plentifull.

Bird Count

Hi, bird count for Monday 20th Feb.– At the long pond it was quiet again with 2 swans and the white mallard and a few other mallards.

At the north feeder 2M-1F bullfinch, 3 great tits, 4 robins, 2M-1F reed buntings, 7 chaffinch, 3M-1F blackbirds, 3 dunnocks and 14 greenfinch.
Quiet here also in numbers but loud with bird song in nearby trees and bushes as the birds start the breeding season.

The count for today Tuesday 21st Feb. At the fishing pond there was a solitary dab diving away searching for food.
The long pond produced 2 swans, 4 canada geese, the white mallard and his associates. 3M-2F tufted ducks and 2 male mergansers.

At the north feeder–2M-2F bullfinches, 2 great tits, 3 blue tits, 1 coal tit, 4 robins, 3M-1F reed buntings, 7 chaffinch, 2 dunnocks,
3M-1F blackbirds, 3 goldfinch and 14 greenfinch. Also heard a thrush singing nearby and a woodpecker flew by.

Posted by Bob

Sunday February 19th

Posted by Ian & Brian

Busy day today—-the triangular owl box on the black pole near the field has been falling into disrepair for a while

and the nice sunny day created a good opportunity to replace it with a nice shiny new one.

Passed through the airfield with the box and equipment at 12-30pm and after four hours the old box was down and the new one up in place.

Sadly inside the box along with lots of owl pellets and vole skeletons were the remains of two owlets (one was found in the box last sept).

The parents had deserted them late into their development as the first one found was sizeable and fully feathered.

Lets hope the new box attracts new tenants and they are more successful.

The other four boxes were checked last September and so far have not attracted owls but two have been used as shelters by Kestrels their pellets

providing the evidence.

The reserve grazier lost another of his sheep to dogs a week ago, and as he approached to remove the carcass in the early evening two badgers ran out from

behind the dead animal—(nothing gets wasted in nature!) he sure was surprised !!.

Poor day today (20th)after yesterdays sunshine, the plan is to meet at 1-30pm and walk the tideline line from Earnse Bay round to Teasdale road on a regular count of bird remains,

or at least those the many foxes leave behind,the weather may well put us off.

Bird Count

Hi, a heron took flight from the fishing pond and settled at the long pond but not for long as it took
flight again as we approached. The white mallard and 12 other mallards and the 2 swans had breakfast with Bri.
At the north end of the pond were 2M-1F tufted ducks which later joined the others…too late missed the breakfast.

At the north feeder :- 1M-1F bullfinch, 2 great tits, 2 blue tits, 1 coal tit, 4 robins, 2M-2F blackbirds, 2M-2F reed buntings,
1 dunnock, 5 chaffinch, 11 greenfinch and 4 goldfinch….still on the quiet side.

Posted by Bob