I love my home, moving to Dumfries has been one of the best decisions I've made. In addition to being able to work in a fantastic location, I am surrounded by amazing wildlife. So amazing that I spend much less time at my keyboard and much more time outside.
So while there are fewer blog posts now, I hope that I have much more to show. So, let me catch you up on what has been going on in the 200 meters around my home as I describe the view from the hill.
We are living in a converted barn adjacent to a few outbuilding and a stand of coniferous and deciduous trees where I have placed my feeders. Daily visitors include a horde of chaffs, goldfinch, greenfinch, dunnock, robin, blackbird, tree sparrow, house sparrow, longtailed, blue, coal and great tit, as well as pheasant, carrion crow and feral pigeon. Less frequently we have siskin, bullfinch, pied wagtail and great spotted woodpecker as well as the passing red kite, buzzard, and tawny owls.
Over the summer I put out two nest box cams, one in the wood which was left as a robin box, one just outside the house with a "blue-tit" hole. The woodland box was left empty (I'd had hopes for redstarts which I know breed on the opposite hill), but the house box was quickly occupied by a bluetit who delighted us by rearing a little brood, but not after the drama of discarded eggs and interloping tree sparrows (who nested in one of the boxes on the barn which unfortunately had no camera, as well as in a gap in the porch).
As the birds sleep we have been treated by the local pipistrelles, who have been roosting above the patio, leaving "presents" on the windows and dropping from the eaves each evening to chase up and down the lane. In the last week, I purchased my first bat detector, a Magenta 5, and have been sitting outside listening to their clicks, whistles and "farts" in the falling light. *thrruup*
Obviously, the moth trap has been deployed when morning commitments and weather coincide (so not regularly), and I'm starting to improve my identification skills. Highlights over the summer have been elephant hawkmoths, gold spot, and, let's face it, any new species!
|Elephant Hawk Moth|
Further afield the ponds and plantation continue to hold my attention. The second trip out with the bat detector revealed two noctule bats over the big pond, looking huge in the evening light, repeatedly stooping for prey. The local roe doe has done well, with and adorable set of twins on her heels in the evenings and the tawnys appear to have nested in the plantation and can routinely he heard hooting in the evening (and can be called in on a clear night with a convincing "Kirriik!", something that plays merry hell with my throat and is only attempted occasionally).
Whilst the number of spraints I find continues to be high, I have torn myself away from trying to capture the local otters to focus on another furry resident, the local badgers. After a comparatively haphazard approach to placing the camera trap, I have taken to placing out a handful of peanuts twice a week on a well run track. After a little patience, I have attracted a regular visitor who seems to enjoy the occasional handout.
I hope to pick up a second trail cam in the coming months so I can focus on both the badgers and the otters, however, I am more than happy to watch my pied friends for a while. Plus, I have the bonus of the fantastic antics of the mice along the wall, which seem keen to avoid the passing badgers to avoid bing a protein-filled snack (keep an eye on the top left in the video above). In the meantime, there are the plants and fungi to begin to get my head around, and thoughts of an owl box for the coming spring.