December Rains

Over the last couple of weeks things have been quite quiet here, other than the weather that has frequently been a raging beast. But all this recent rain, together with the removal of lots of reed, has certainly had a wonderful impact on the wild pond.

Here it is on 1st September:

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And today from the same angle:

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Another view of it on 1st September:

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And today:

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Just over the fence from this wild pond, the same Fox has turned up with another fish – his third in recent weeks.

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But this fish still has fishing tackle hanging from its mouth which gives a bit of an insight into what might be going on down there on the beach. In fact, I’ve found a Dungeness fishing website that had several references to opportunistic foxes. Here is an extract from one of the entries:

The Fox was an absolute menace last night and took a whiting as I reeled in, it ran off down the beach with my fish, rig and leader line while another one was sneaking around my shelter looking for bait.

I’m sure that this is the sort of thing that is going on here as well.

There is such an atmosphere of wild animal about the Fox going over the gate in this photo:

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This is the gate that is also a frequent perch for the female Sparrowhawk. Here she is:

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And here she is again three hours later going back the other way:

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Mice also use the top of the gate as a bridge during the night:

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And by day a whole variety of different bird species perch on it. There are lots of Blackbirds around at the moment and here is one with a Hawthorn berry:

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There are always lots of Magpies around – in fact here are ten of them on the strip:

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As our years here have gone on, we have grown to like Magpies less and less as we have observed their bullying behaviour. Magpie numbers have increased greatly in the UK over the last 30 years and there is a legitimate argument to cull them to protect songbirds, many of whom are struggling. I understand that this is legal so long as it is humane and in fact there is an estate near here where numbers of magpies and other corvids are controlled and that has had a really positive impact on the breeding success of smaller birds – including Spotted Flycatchers.

But, alluring though the thought of breeding Spotted Flycatchers is, the killing of Magpies is not something that we have the stomach for. We will continue to try to deter them wherever we can in more gentle ways such as expanding our growth of dense prickly bush to protect songbird nests, using anti-corvid feeders and so on.

As well as a whole load of Magpies on the strip, we also have a flock of Chaffinch:

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This is the first time that we have a winter flock of Chaffinches here like this – they are feeding on the red millet and oil seed rape that we are putting down once a week to support farmland birds.

I mentioned the Blackbirds that are here at the moment. This one at the hide pond seems to have recently survived a close call. Here he is from the back:

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And here he is from the side:

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It’s amazing how much of them is actually just feather rather than body.

All this recent rain has meant that metal detecting is so much easier in the soft ground. Today we dug up this coin:

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It’s ever so corroded but, if we make the assumption that it is a British coin, then its diameter tells us that it is a farthing dating back to some time between 1821 and 1860.

I finish today with a fungus. We put this slice of Oak beside the hide pond a couple of years ago – it came from a massive Oak in Berkshire that had blown over in a winter gale and we retrieved this bit from the tree surgeons who had cleared the road. It has become covered by Turkeytail (Trametes versicolor), a common fungus that mostly grows on Oak or Beech.

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It is a very beautiful fungus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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