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By Flintstone
After skipping last year the robins are back in one of the nesting boxes in my garden.

I'm used to them getting close in winter, especially if I'm digging, but I've not seen one as cheeky as this. She was hopping around the garden gathering moss and even landed on a friend's arm. I sat in front of the nesting box to watch and she really didn't mind how close I got.

Both videos were taken on my phone with no zoom, at times she was within a foot of me and a couple of times when flying in and out brushed my head. I'm looking forward to following this clutch, I think I'll set my trail camera up in front of the box. I doubt the occupants will mind.

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By Rob P
Better than Springwatch!

We couldn't persuade you to shoot video in landscape could we Flint?

Rob P
By chevvron
Got my own 'personal' Robin this year.
Back in March, as I walked from the garden towards my back door, it 'fluttered' down to land in front of me about 3 feet away and looked up at me; if I took a step forward, it would retreat a foot or so but always remaining the same distance from me.
I put out some scraps of cheese where it had landed, went indoors, and sure enough half an hour later, the cheese had gone. Thereafter it became a daily ritual with me supplementing the cheese with mealworms or seed. One day I went out to put down the food and the Robin came down and perched on the edge of a pot about 3 feet way. I asked what it wanted and realised it was making chirping noises in its throat without opening its beak; had it done so the noise would have been incredible.
If I neglect to put some food out, then the next time I go out of the back door, the Robin zooms across in front of me.
It's not so frantic now; I expect its babies have fledged; maybe another brood on the way?
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By Flintstone
Rob P wrote:Better than Springwatch!

We couldn't persuade you to shoot video in landscape could we Flint?

Rob P

Yes, sorry about that. I was balancing the camera in one hand and holding out potential nesting material with the other.

According to t’interweb robins are more likely to abandon a nest during building or before hatching so I’ll keep clear for a bit. I’ll try to rig up the trail camera once it’s dark (“It’s to film robins officer, honest. Why in the dark? Ummm........”).

Chevron. I believe three or even four clutches a year are possible.

RobP. Springwatch indeed. Yesterday evening while roaming the fields I had close encounters with a vixen and her cub (got to within 50 feet), a roe hind spronking through the wheat (passed about 60 feet from me) and a badger that I almost tripped over before he coughed and grumbled off. I need more cameras.
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Is the love of fauna and wildlife in general a “getting old” thing?

I’ve always been in the “live and let live” camp (except mosquitoes- not the de Havilland ones..., grey squirrels and recently Asian wasps, and since last year those bad-start box thingy moths that have stripped my buxus).

My father on the other hand was noted for his hatred of cats especially. His mother used to tell me stories that would get him locked up nowadays.

He refused point blank to have a dog at home when we were kids, even though he’d been a snowdrop in the RAF and had his own German Shepherd on more than one occasion.

My mother ended up doing a sneaky on him and adopted a pup from her friend’s bitch litter(oooh auto-donk bait that one).

Due to night shift commitments etc he didn’t notice for several days we had a 10 week old pup.

When he finally noticed, he declared royally he’d have nothing to do with the beast.

...until we caught him pushing the pup up and down the long bungalow hallway on a skateboard.

The cats came later, due to a wee feral female planting her litter under the garden shed. Problem one of the rats under shed disappeared. Problem two was foxtrot oscar’d when they were just a bit too young to look after themselves. So my father ended up leaving food and water out for them - in the desperate hope they’d leave.

The male did (boys -eh?), the female stuck around for the next 14 years. My father was the only one who could touch her with his hand. She trusted me enough to give a “head hug”; I put my head down and she’d cuddle into me.

One of her daughters stayed in the family for again about 12 or 13 years. She was a bit more accepting of humans, but my father was the only one she truly trusted.

He ended up with a motorcycle gauntlet from my brother, where she battled nightly with him in front of the fireplace. Fur, spit and claws everywhere, ears well tucked in, but both of them lived for it. After, she would jump on his lap and tread/suckle - to the point between certain evening hours he only wore his “cat” jumper, that was totally destroyed where the cat stuck her head and paws.

After that it was the pigeons and robins, sparrows etc. Even though he only had about 25m2 at the back of the house, after several years of the same routine- he had literally dozens of birds on the 12ft high wall dividing us and the neighbour at the same time every morning.

When he died, I have to say it hit me hard the fact the birds would turn up every day, and stay for hours - waiting for him to turn up.

All from a man who hated animals.
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By Flintstone
OCB wrote:Is the love of fauna and wildlife in general a “getting old” thing?

I've always had an interest in wildlife and often think that if I had my time again I'd go into some form of outdoor/country/forestry/animal husbandry job. I suppose I could still achieve the last one by working for Ryanair. :D Somewhat paradoxically I've been reminded of that interest since taking up shooting (pests) where I spend more time sitting in the scenery doing nothing than actually shooting. It's not a long wait before the wildlife forgets I'm there and gets back to doing whatever it is wildlife does.

OCB wrote:(...stripped my buxus).

A mod will be along soon to deal with you for writing that. :wink:
By Bill McCarthy
I hope the cats don’t snack on the Robins, otherwise you might be tempted to take a pop at them!
By chevvron
We live a few miles from Woking in an area with little used country lanes where we walk.
We've encountered many types of wildlife; the day a badger came out of the hedge and ran towards us was quite memorable; it did a 180 when it saw us of course. Then there's an area which once formed the approaches to a large country house; we often see deer in there. Wish we knew what to feed the deer so they could get extra sustenance during winter.
Now I have a confession.
We feed foxes!
I'm not ashamed; they're not 'urban' foxes so dustbin raids are rare and around here no-one (surprisingly) has chickens or anything else they might take a liking to; it's delightful to see the cubs in spring and one 'old faithful' is always waiting for me at one feeding point even if I've been away for a week.
The word must have got round mind you, as there's one this year which comes into our front garden for food.
The next door neighbours have a bat colony in their roof. We don't think they know and we're not going to tell them; they seem to be city types who just cut the lawn once or twice a year, never do anything else in the garden and wouldn't be aware bats are 'protected' and might even try to drive them out, having paid half a million for the house a couple of years ago.
Last edited by chevvron on Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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By Flintstone
Bill McCarthy wrote:I hope the cats don’t snack on the Robins, otherwise you might be tempted to take a pop at them!

Chicken wire around the nesting box will keep the cats away.
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By jerry_atrick
Flintstone wrote:I'm used to them getting close in winter, especially if I'm digging, but I've not seen one as cheeky as this.

Definitely a cheeky little pecker you've got there, Flinty :eye:
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I had a cheeky Robin at the bottom of the garden last winter. I was finally digging up a patch of ground the previous owners had fenced off for some bizarre reason, but ended up as a dump.

I found 3 ft diameter plant pots, quite literally underground, chopped a couple of trees, found use for about 3 cubic meters of compost (actually mostly grass cuttings, but after a few months of turning and adding various other bits and bobs etc I had something useful.), and for months the cheeky little Robin was always there when I was turning ground.

He became my little gardening buddy.

I was always aware the cats were eyeing him up, and chased them off when they ventured too close.

You can imagine my horror when one of the cats came to me one day with a robin in its gob, all proud of itself and planking it in the living room.

I thought my wee gardening mate was no more, pushing up the daisies etc (think there is a Python sketch in there).

You can probably imagine my relief when he popped up that weekend. It wasn’t him that got chomped.

All our cats have collars with a bell. They don’t like it, but mostly it works to warn prey they’re gonna get munched.

On the few occasions the cats bag a kill, the dog bullies it off of them and comes trotting up the garden all proud of herself.

Except for the one time a few months back when the cat that’s now sick, came home with what was left of someone’s Sunday roast chicken.

Still not sure if he raided a bin, or actually took it from a kitchen. Either way it was pretty impressive to see him guard his find against the other cats, and especially the dog. She just looked preemptively guilty,as dogs do.
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By Bill Haddow
Flintstone wrote:
a roe hind spronking through the wheat (passed about 60 feet from me)

Roe doe, F, not hind. At this time of year the does which have given birth don't stray too far from where they've parked the kid so this one was probably spooked by you and was high-tailing it back to protect the offspring.

Bill H
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By Bill Haddow
chevvron wrote:
Then there's an area which once formed the approaches to a large country house; we often see deer in there. Wish we knew what to feed the deer so they could get extra sustenance during winter.

Apples - don't need to be posho Pink Lady, stuff from the market's Compost Corner would do.

Bill H
By Bill McCarthy
I am happy to report that the local Buzzard (beautiful creature that it was) is no more. It had caused so much devastation over the years to the ground nesting birds that everything is getting back to normal, neighbours had lost tens of hens to it, so much so that they gave up keeping them. The Buzzard had his eye one another neighbours ducks - he keeps Call Duck and other types for showing. I wonder? It was infuriating to see it take Lapwing and Curlew chicks as I had given them all the protection I could by not cutting hay in the fields that they were in or putting stock in them until they could protect themselves. I do hope the Corncrake return too. The Snipe were up and about this morning too when I took the dogs out for an early morning stroll. Some wild duck were having a field day on the tadpoles in a ditch that I leave partially undrained. It’s a lovely fresh morning after after heavy overnight rain and about three weeks of drought.
My first batch of Housemartins and Swallows have fledged and some are still building.
I always have a “willy wagtail” accompany me when ploughing or using the mini excavator.
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By Miscellaneous
Since moving home I'm a little surprised at how my interest in wildlife seems to have grown. Whether age, environment, or there just simply being more, I know not.

From sitting in the garden having lunch with White Tailed Sea Eagles flying overhead to watching porpoise on a local walk and a siting (we watched them play for about 10mins before the midges drove us away) of 3 otters within 200m of the house (have also had brief glimpse from lounge window) that would have had the Springwatch presenters waxing lyrica, to marvelling at how the gannets seem unaffected by the wind when putting the bin out this morning, it's been a pleasant surprise. :D

Sadly I have little by way of photographs to share.

I believe it may have been a Golden Eagle that delighted me with its flying skills when it was being harried by a crow…it was simply jaw dropping (taken on my phone through lounge window)!

The many smaller birds delight with their plumage and song, but are very much more difficult to photograph…unless, of course, they have yet to fly.

Now fledged Blackbirds discovered between the sheds, nesting on the rounds awaiting chopping for next winter's firewood.