Sunday, 25 August 2013

Rutland Bird Fair Project 1 - The Wildlife Pond

I was really inspired by some of the people and projects I saw at this years Rutland Bird Fair and now have a list of projects I want to complete at home and at the Secret Wood feeding station.

Yesterday me, my brother and my dad decided to create a wildlife pond due to us seeing quite a few frogs in the garden recently; I really want to attract beetles, more frogs and maybe Newts to the garden. We started off by going to B & Q for the equipment and then discussed the depth, location and shape of the pond.

These are the tools we used, nothing too fancy. 

We had to put a big wooden beam against the fence to stop soil and water leaking into the neighbours garden, as I don't think they want a pond just yet! 

After we finished the banks we fitted the plastic which was rather fun. 

We had to use logs to secure the plastic in place which hopefully frogs will like; I think it was good to use all natural materials (apart from the plastic liner), as bugs and wildlife will like the new habitat around the pond as well. 

After that we started to fill the pond using the hose pipe and then my dad put put a special powder in that neutralises chlorine.  It would of course been better if we had collected rain water to fill it up with. 

It took about ten minutes to fill up.
After the pond was filled, me and my mum went out to get some water plants whilst my dad and brother Harley put a few stones in.
It was under the tree so there was plenty of shade (it is also next to my log pile where the frogs like to hide in the day). 

It is not just frogs newts and beetles I want to come I would also like birds to drink in it. And our project was being closely watched by our garden visitors. 

In the end I think it was a job well done and the only things we had to buy were the liner and the plants. 

So are you going to build one in your garden?

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Rutland Bird Fair 2013 - People (not bird) Watching!

The Friday and Saturday just gone was my second time visiting Rutland Bird Fair. It was a great experience and this year it was more about the people I met and what they are doing. In fact, the only birds I saw at the fair we're 2 Little Egrets through one of the test scopes.

I am going to introduce you to all the people I met.

The amazing BTO Team

Andy Clements - The head of the BTO, not just a really intelligent good birder, but a really nice man to meet, so thank you Andy for all you kind words
Kelvin Jones - Another really kind and intelligent member of the BTO. Hopefully he will take me out to ring a Chough or two next year.
Ieuan Evans - He once again a very nice member of the BTO, he is the one that gave me the BTO shirt in the picture below, but don't tell anyone!
Carl Barrimore - The last but certainly not least nice member of the BTO that I spent time with does a lot of nest recording, so we are going to keep in touch so we can find someone for me to do a bit of nest recording with in Cheshire.

I did speak to other members of the BTO team who were all brilliant and really happy to spend time with me, which was great.

Mark Avery - The man of humour, intelligence and well he sure is quite something! We met several times at bird fair, but we had an official talk at two o'clock on Saturday which went really well. He then had to go off and do some filming.

Moth Man Mike Shurmer - It was great to meet Mike Shurmer because he was really nice and gave me loads of tips for moth trapping. We also swapped stories on the recent moths we have been catching.

It was brilliant to meet up with lots of people I have got to know through blogging, including Keith, Trevor, Andrew, Sharon, Gary and Phil. It was also great to finally get to meet Richard Peglar and talk to him about his owls.

Hugh Brazier - Apparently my biggest fan, and he used to go to school with Mark Avery, he was lovely to meet and had lots of good information to share. 

Gadget Man Jason Alexander - Jason was really nice to meet because he gave me loads of tips and when I say loads I mean loads of tips for filming wildlife so a big thank you. He might be one of the people who helps me get Live From the Hide up and running. Jason is on the left behind me. The other person it Keith.

Lucy McRoberts from A Focus On Nature. Again it was really nice to meet she was really jolly and a bit jealous when she saw me with a BTO top on. She was very busy at the show and knew everyone.

Stephen Moss - Lucy introduced me to Stephen. A great person to meet because I finally found out who wrote one of my favorite nature books - The Bumper Book of Nature.

Julian (RSPB Conwy Manager) - Julian was great to meet at the fair, but I have met him lots of times at RSPB Conwy too. We also found out that his dog was called Jura and was the same breed as our dog - a Hungarian Vizsla. He must drink whisky.

Kane Brides - It was great to meet him again, he even gave me one of the WWT shirts (maybe because I was wearing my BTO one by then). Kane gets to travel all over the place with WWT and has been involved in some amazing projects like tagging the rare Red Breasted Geese.

Kate MacRae - Kate does loads of wildlife filming from home and has been on Springwatch a few times. She gave me loads of great ideas for the garden including building a wildlife pond using and old tyre. Dad is going to get an old used tyre from the garage, but I am hoping our farmer has an old tractor tyre we can use.

Tristan Reid - His talk on Turkey (the country not the bird) at the bird fair was so interesting to watch and he was also great to meet in person. I hope his walk raises lots of awareness about what is happening in Turkey with the water companies ruining the habitats.

Ken & Kathy from Nature Bites on Angelsey - They were great to meet because they always have news to share. I bumped into them earlier this year at Cemlyn Bay in Wales. Ken  knows everything there is to know about birding on Anglesey.

Alan & Ruth (the Biggest Twitch) - Again great to meet because they do a lot of bird watching in Wales just like me. They told a really funny birdwatching story about a penguin someone had seen on a beach in North Wales. The man reported seeing the penguin on the beach to the RSPB. He then rang them back to say they were too late as it had flown away! I told Mark Avery this story.

Simon King - I gave him one of my blog addresses, so I hope he has had a look.

Nick Baker - He remembered me from Springwatch Unsprung which was great.

Me and Harley even managed to get filmed for a promotion video that was being made. The camera man was the same dude that was at Springwatch Unsprung. We had to write one word about what the bird fair meant to us.

A big well done to the bird fair for letting us kids get in for FREE

It wasn't just the bird fair where I met some very interesting people. When we got to our hotel I got talking to Dr Nigel Clark who is the Science Business Lead for the BTO. He does a lot of ringing on The Wash and he said I can join him for a session which will be amazing as I haven't really worked with waders yet.

Dr Rob Sheldon from the RSPB (Head of International Species Recovery Team) was also at the hotel and had lots of great information to share and interested in my blog and ringing.

Overall Bird fair has been BRILLIANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hopefully we can do all 3 days next year.

If you have never been to the bird fair, but are interested in birds, bugs and all things to so with conservation, you really should try and go next year.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Sea Monsters

I am now ready to share with you day two of my holiday in Cornwall and I have two say it was great. The place I am going to be talking about is one of my favorite beaches.... Porthcurno; it is quite a walk down to the beach itself, however there is splendid scenery and wildlife to watch on the way down, for example, the same pair of Buzzards were back nesting in a Pine Tree about 50 meters away from the path (they have been there for the last two years) and there are also plenty of butterflies. 

Walking to the beach doesn't deliver all the wildlife though; once the sand has reached about 20 meters out it suddenly drops rather steeply. Where the sea meets the sand, it continues to drop until the sea is rather deep which is where I I was able to enjoy lots of sea life. On this visit I was lucky enough to see one or maybe two Basking Sharks which were joined by the Gannets and Arctic Terns.

 We think there were two sharks due to distinguishing the fin shapes. These species of shark is quite common at Porthcurno however I have never seen one before so it was really exciting watching these gentle giants.

We think this one is the biggest however we do not know for sure. This species of shark is a filter feeder so it was feeding on plankton, however the reason Gannets and Terns were there was because a massive shoal of sea bass was being dragged in by the tide.

After that day I thought what a perfect first full day of my holiday.  It was amazing watching the adult and juvenile Gannets diving into the water again and again.

Mum let me use her pictures as I hadn't taken my camera down to the beach. I definitely won't leave it behind next time though

By the way I am really looking forward to bird fair tomorrow.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Cornwall 2013 Part 1 - Green Woodpeckers

I have just got back from my holiday at Cornwall, so I would like to share with you all some of the birds and wildlife I have seen; in this post I will be telling you about seeing a juvenile and an adult Green Woodpecker. When I first arrived I was so excited to explore the house and garden and then on the second day of my holiday I saw the Green Woodpecker in the garden where we were actually staying; it was the first time in two years I had seen one of these beautiful birds.

The adult bird is the one to the left. You can see on the back view of the adult that the feathers were much more plain green than the speckled juvenile.

I will have lots of news to share with you in my next post - including an enormous sea monster!