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Tuesday 29 March 2011

Newts' feeding frenzy in a Sussex pond

Some days ago, in this small pond in my garden, a lump of bread was deposited.  My guess was that it was a crow that dunked it there -- just as some humans dunk their biscuits in their tea.  Crows are crafty things.  They wade in my pond and eat tadpoles when there are any to be had.
This afternoon the newts were going crazy for this, by now decomposing bread.  You must excuse the flare from my camera flash.  Without a Polaroid filter this was the only way to get a picture.
Such voracious eaters may also have played a part in the disappearance of the tadpoles that were recently added to this pond.  There is no sign of them at all now.  Where have they gone?  What ate them?  Did they die of disease?  I don't know.

Chiffchaff on the Downs above Seaford today.

By contrast, a Chaffinch.
The Seven Sisters were somewhat obscured by mist today.

Monday 28 March 2011

Greylag Geese and Tufted ducks in the Loder valley yesterday.

Greylag geese.
This is how far the geese were from the above pictures.  Click on this or any picture to expand it.
There were some Tufted ducks, perhaps a dozen or more.
The male Tufted ducks have the larger tuft and white flanks.  The females have brown sides to their bodies.  In this shot are Cormerants and Mallards too.  There were also Coots, Moorhens, and Great Crested Grebes.
Kingfishers are nesting but I didn't see them.
This Toothwort was in flower by the public footpath east of the bridge over the reservoir.
This seemed to be earlier flowering than in previous years.  See

Saturday 26 March 2011

Frogs at last...

Frogs at last have appeared overnight in this pond in Surrey.
There is great excitement in the pond and from me!
There must be a female frog in there somewhere.
This happy frog seems to have scored.
It is great to see them back.
Sadly there are no frogs yet in my ponds in Sussex and the tadpoles which were added have disappeared.

Wednesday 23 March 2011

Wood anemones in New England Wood today

Wood anemones.


Celandines and Golden-saxifrage.
Click on any picture to expand.

Tuesday 22 March 2011

Replenishing missing frogs

Frogs have disappeared from my garden for some years years now.  Formerly there were scores of them in this pond at this time of year.  Bob Bayliss, above, has found a pond where tadpoles are thriving again and collected some spawn, which he has grown on in his own tadpole tank.  He has kindly donated some of his tadpoles to my ponds and he postulates that these may be immune to the disease which has reeked havoc to my garden frogs -- causing their disappearance.
Let's hope so.  It would be great to have frogs back again.
The little tadpoles seemed well adapted to their new home.  Thanks a million Bob.
Newts seem to be immune from disease as they continue to thrive and are very active now.

Snake's head Fritillary

It's lovely to see the Snake's head Fritillary in bloom again, albeit in my garden rather than in the wild.  This is an uncommon double one.

Monday 14 March 2011

Badger activity and Spring flowers in New England wood, Cuckfield.

Great to see Wood-sorrel, Oxalis acetosella blooming again.
Also the Wood Anemones, below are just coming into flower.

This badger set is clearly active.

And finally, the volunteers in the wood repairing the steps on this path.  Well Debbie is!  The men look like they are chatting.

Saturday 12 March 2011

Cuckfield Church in 1872 and now

"Afterglow" by George Ruff, 1872.  Click to expand.  See the original in Cuckfield Museum.
March 2011.

Bird nest building activity in full swing

Birds are busy singing, blackbirds are fighting for territory and the blue tits investigating nesting sites.  It is great to hear the green finches again too.

This wren was singing so beautifully that I had to take its picture from my bedroom window.

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