Frogs have started mobilising, gathering for what is one of the first wildlife spectacles of the year here. Below is a trail camera photo from last year when frog numbers reached their peak in early March:
There are nothing like those numbers yet but the increased activity that there is has not gone unnoticed:
Grey Heron fish mainly at dawn and dusk and indeed this is when we have been seeing this bird for the past few days. Yesterday morning we saw it flying off with a frog in its beak. This morning it was back again and we were able to watch it from afar through our scope catching two frogs for breakfast:
No frog spawn here yet. Freshwater Habitats Trust run a spawn survey each year and the sightings they report always start in the warmer west of the country and sweep east over several weeks. Here is the most recent map that they have posted to Facebook:
Another happening early in the year is Badger mating immediately after the birth of their cubs. This is not the first year that they have been kind enough to do this in front of our camera but I was certainly most surprised to see a third badger involved.
The mating couple are the two mature Badgers but the badger backed up against them is the 2017 cub. I read that female Badgers start to ovulate in the Spring of their second year and this is exactly how old she now is and so I suppose that she is hoping for cubs next year. The male, aka Scarface, is not her father.
Here is Scarface on a wet night when he has been transformed into a very stripey Badger.
And a beautiful, healthy wet Fox:
There are a lot of Linnets on the strip at the moment eating the millet and oil seed rape seed that we are putting down through the winter:
The bird ringer came today to try to catch them but he caught very few. He thinks that his net is too high and they can see it silhouetted against the sky. He is going to borrow a half-height net and try again next week.
I like this photo of communally bathing Woodpigeons:
In my last post, I suggested that this animal below might be a baby badger that had come out of the sett while its mother was out feeding:
When I finally got round to looking at my backlog of videos that were taken by another camera close by, I saw that it had captured an animal that I now think is a feral Ferret lolloping along the cliff path. This is the same animal and is not an early sighting of a baby Badger.
The bird ringer went to the wood for the first time yesterday. He was hoping to catch Blue Tits for a survey he is doing for the BTO. Well, he caught 27 of them so that pleased him. He also caught this Marsh Tit, which is a rare bird for Kent. It’s confusing because it does live in woods not marshes.
He also caught a young male Sparrowhawk:
He took this photo while holding the bird by the legs with the other. However, it did then peck him and, not surprisingly given its beak, drew blood.
We have been noticing a wonderful crescendo of bird song building up these days as spring approaches. Particularly beautiful is this Robin who is often to be found singing his little heart out on the top of this tree: