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willoyd

Wild World

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I started my own member's thread on my wildlife (mostly birding) experiences a while ago.  My contributions have stuttered a bit recently, but it's had some interesting posts from others.  Madeleine suggested, perhaps only half-seriously (?) that maybe a more general thread could be started, rather than people 'hijacking' mine.  The latter hasn't bothered me one jot, but to try and encourage wider contributions, I thought it might be a good idea to try one out.  So here it is! 

 

The main aim of this thread is to provide space for people to contribute any sightings or experiences they have, to ask questions, to discuss anything to do with wildlife (not pets, domestic animals etc!).  And that's it.

 

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To get the thread off the ground, a bit of a red letter day for me yesterday, as I saw my first ever Cuckoo!  Obviously I've heard loads (far fewer nowadays than when I was a child), but seeing one had become quite a problem - definitely my bogey bird!  The number of times I walked into a hide or met fellow birders, to be told "You've just missed....."  Anyway, I finally saw one, and a brilliant sighting it was too, singing away like mad on telegraph wires on the moors above Bolton Abbey; watched it for about 20 minutes as it moved backwards and forwards along the line.  I heard two others in the area as well! 

 

Then, today, visiting Middleton Woods in Ilkley for the bluebells, I spotted only my second Tawny Owl of the year, roosting very quietly in the canopy.  Pure chance, as I had been following the sound of some Long-Tailed Tits to see if I could spot them.

 

(And as I write, our first bat of the summer has literally just flown past my window.  Now that's a good weekend!).

 

Edited by willoyd

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Good idea Will, thanks for starting this thread!  Well done on the cuckoo, they're pretty rare aren't they?

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We were on holiday in Dorset last week, with a cottage in the middle of the countryside. We were woken up by birdsong at 5:15 every morning (which doesn’t bother us as we’re both early birds ourselves), with far too many birds to mention, except for my sightings of a greater spotted woodpecker and a nuthatch.  We also had foxes, rabbits and squirrels in the back garden and fields beyond, plus every evening at the same time as we were sitting down to dinner, a roe deer would come and graze in the field opposite the cottage.

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oh that's lovely about the deer.  We get foxes and squirrels in the garden.  I love birdsong but not that early!

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2 hours ago, Madeleine said:

 I love birdsong but not that early!

 

A source of constant debate in our household. OH can't abide being woken early in the morning at this time of year, so wants the window closed (and the curtains closed as the light wakes her). I want the window open to be woken by the birdsong, and the curtains open as I love the early light (I'm happy dozing then!).  We even land up sleeping in separate bedrooms at times, just so both are happy!

 

Sounds an idyllic week Claire.  A good week weatherwise too.

 

Birds can be like buses it seems.  Saw only my second tawny of the year yesterday, saw my third today!  Walking along the Wharfe near Otley, and there was one sat in a tree overhanging the river.  It flew off as soon as it saw me, but as I approached the point opposite where it had been, I could see it sat clearly in a nearby tree.  Also saw Great Spotted Woodpecker, Blackcaps, and a male Mandarin asleep on the weir in Otley itself.

 

 

Edited by willoyd

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Our bedroom is also in the front of the house and at this time of year I find myself waking up around 4am as soon as it starts to get light. I try and get back to sleep but often don't succeed until just before the alarm clock goes off at 6.10am! Its alright for Coran as she works from home and can set her own hours, but I am quite frequently knackered by lunchtime because of this. We should really get proper blackout curtains but just haven't got around to it.

 

Because of where we live (the village of Box Hill in Surrey) we get a lot of wildlife. Foxes and badgers are frequent sightings - hedgehogs less so. There are about 200 deer (not sure which type) living around the hill which we occasionally also see. I was driving down the Zigzag one morning on my way to work when we first moved here and saw one standing on the bank right near the bottom of the road - a beautiful sight. It's scary mind you driving home in the dark at night if one walks out in front of you and quite eerie seeing all those eyes glowing in the dark. :o 

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Deer are lovely but very hazardous on the road, we don't get them where I live but a little further out towards Epping there are lots of them, I've been in the car (luckily going slowly) and 3 of them suddenly emerged and walked across the road, as you say a lovely sight.  We used to get hedgehogs in the garden but haven't seen any for years.

 

I agree about  the lighter mornings, on one hand it's nice but when you wake up early it's not so good, I've thought of getting blackout curtains as well.

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I've always been potty about wildlife, especially foxes and rabbits but I'm fairly new to birding. We have a very small paved, suburban garden and last year I hung over twenty feeders and I love love love sitting in the kitchen watching all the birds. I had to add a bird section to my blog so my mother can see them!


I try to encourage more people to appreciate wildlife, both flora and fauna, telling them "Once you open your eyes you see so much."

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We would get bear and deer in the back yard of our house in Virginia. some of you may remember when I was always posting photos of the bears at our bird feeder. We had them almost every day. Also would get many deer and other wildlife.

We also used to see the pileated woodpecker in the woods from our back porch when we lived in Virginia. It is a large woodpecker and has a unique "call". You can hear them a long ways off.

Woodpeckers | Who's Your Granny?

Edited by muggle not

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That woodpecker is spectacular!

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1 hour ago, Madeleine said:

That woodpecker is spectacular!

I copied the attachments from youtube but that is exactly how they sound when "pecking" and when making their "call". When sitting on my back porch some days I could hear them from way off in the woods.

 

https://youtu.be/-1NybDGvjoA

https://youtu.be/WM7k5Fw-kaM

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Now, bear really is a spectacular spot in the garden!

 

Saw my first linnets of the year yesterday, two pairs, on one of my walks from home with the two males, singing for all they were worth (that's how I came to see them).  I'm concentrating on birding my local 'patch' this year, and that makes the 89th species in it so far, far more than I anticipated at the start.  Getting greedy now, and dreaming of topping 100, but will need a few more rarities I think to make it, although there are still one or two that others have spotted that I haven't.

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A photo of momma bear and another photo of a bear cub. There were actually two bear cubs but I can't find the photo of the two of them together. They are in the woods in our back yard .

7-27-05MommaBear10.JPG

7-27-05 BearCub.JPG

7-27-05BearCub7.JPG

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I found my folder that has most of my bear photos. I named the bears as they came to our birdfeeder thru the years. I would name them "Trouble" (for a good reason), evening bear, eating bear, lazy bear, bad bear, etc. This is the photo of the two cubs together with momma bear. The photo was taken a couple weeks earlier than the previously posted photo as you can see the cubs are a little smaller.

 

BearCubs.JPG

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Great pictures! I would love to see a bear with her cubs!

 

I can never take a good picture of the birds in my garden. I only have my phone and it just doesn't focus quickly enough. We have had some lovely birds in the last few days though. My favourites are the robins, blue tits and goldfinches :)

 

 I have a little mystery that it might be worth mentioning here, in case anybody has an idea. A couple of weeks ago I went to the Cotswolds with my boyfriend and a friend of ours. The wildlife there was amazing, we saw a whole herd of deer and a little muntjac deer, I'm not knowledgeable enough to identify all the birds we saw but there were a lot! But we were walking in a forest when my friend stopped and motioned for us to look up a tree. I just saw something dart up the other side of it as I looked but, although we stood watching for quite a while, nothing appeared again. So I asked my friend what we were looking for and he said it looked like a squirrel, but it was black and white! Specifically, he's absolutely sure it had a white section on its tail. He thought it might be some kind of escaped exotic pet, but there was an obvious squirrel nest further up that tree (which is where I assume it disappeared to) so I do think it was a squirrel. I googled black and white squirrel, on the off chance that whatever the thing was might show up and, weirdly, found a story on the mail online about a woman who had seen both a very rare white squirrel and a black squirrel in the same tree, in the Cotswolds! It could be unrelated, but it seemed an odd coincidence. I also wondered if it could be a varied stage of albino. I know this can happen in birds because I remembered seeing a display of blackbirds with varying levels of albinism in the natural history museum on a school trip, some only had patches of white feathers but were otherwise black. So, does anybody have any suggestions on what the 'black and white squirrel' was?   

 

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On ‎21‎/‎05‎/‎2018 at 1:38 PM, muggle not said:

I found my folder that has most of my bear photos. I named the bears as they came to our birdfeeder thru the years. I would name them "Trouble" (for a good reason), evening bear, eating bear, lazy bear, bad bear, etc. This is the photo of the two cubs together with momma bear. The photo was taken a couple weeks earlier than the previously posted photo as you can see the cubs are a little smaller.

 

 

 

I bet they all miss you, Muggles :blush: Did you have a photo one time of the bear in your porch??

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14 hours ago, Hayley said:

Great pictures! I would love to see a bear with her cubs!

 

I can never take a good picture of the birds in my garden. I only have my phone and it just doesn't focus quickly enough. We have had some lovely birds in the last few days though. My favourites are the robins, blue tits and goldfinches :)

 

 I have a little mystery that it might be worth mentioning here, in case anybody has an idea. A couple of weeks ago I went to the Cotswolds with my boyfriend and a friend of ours. The wildlife there was amazing, we saw a whole herd of deer and a little muntjac deer, I'm not knowledgeable enough to identify all the birds we saw but there were a lot! But we were walking in a forest when my friend stopped and motioned for us to look up a tree. I just saw something dart up the other side of it as I looked but, although we stood watching for quite a while, nothing appeared again. So I asked my friend what we were looking for and he said it looked like a squirrel, but it was black and white! Specifically, he's absolutely sure it had a white section on its tail. He thought it might be some kind of escaped exotic pet, but there was an obvious squirrel nest further up that tree (which is where I assume it disappeared to) so I do think it was a squirrel. I googled black and white squirrel, on the off chance that whatever the thing was might show up and, weirdly, found a story on the mail online about a woman who had seen both a very rare white squirrel and a black squirrel in the same tree, in the Cotswolds! It could be unrelated, but it seemed an odd coincidence. I also wondered if it could be a varied stage of albino. I know this can happen in birds because I remembered seeing a display of blackbirds with varying levels of albinism in the natural history museum on a school trip, some only had patches of white feathers but were otherwise black. So, does anybody have any suggestions on what the 'black and white squirrel' was?   

 

 

A piebald squirrel! Not unheard of but not very common. How lovely to see one. Apparently they are more common in urban areas.

Edited by RebeccaM
Pre-caffeine typo!

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Yes you can have albinoism in squirrels too, so I suspect yours had a few patches giving it that lovely piebald effect.  We had a female blackbird several years ago who had some white patches, I think it's more common in birds as you mentioned.

 

Maybe the black squirrel and white squirrel got together and you saw their offspring!  Sounds lovely.

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It sounds like a unique experience, Hayley! How lovely you got to see such a special squirrel :).

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I have never seen a piebald squirrel although the white ones seem to be quite common around where I live. 

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