Saturday, 11 May 2019

Around the Patch

A few weeks back I unexpectedly came across a Barn Owl on my travels, it stayed around the same field most of the day. I think due to the previous two/three days of almost solid rain, it must have been glad to be out for food. Since then my husband has seen two in the same place. To say I was chuffed to find it was a bit of an understatement considering my luck with them over the years!

Back on the patch and spring has definitely sprung with birdsong galore and already in the past week fledgling birds appearing - Magpie, Blackbird, Robin, Woodpigeon and House Sparrow.


House Sparrow


Just recently a female Mallard with ducklings has appeared by the bird hide in Churwell Woods, possibly from a pond in a park at the top of the woods. This is a rare patch tick (surprisingly) so I made a couple of trips in the rain and managed to spot 4 ducklings under the branches. 

Earlier in the year we spotted a Nuthatch in the woods with an extremely long beak, it's obviously managing to eat fine with it and we've seen it on several occasions. There's quite a few Nuthatch around the woods now and they do seem to be nesting.

We also keep seeing a couple of Blackbirds with white speckled amongst their feathers but they are usually skulking about in the darkest part of the wood, I've only managed to get one decent photo so far.

One morning we watched a pair of female Great-spotted Woodpeckers chase each other around the woods, one ended up taking a breather by hiding behind a trunk!

Just a pair of Woodpigeons out for a stroll

I've been taking a photo of this spot each week just to see the difference in the foliage as the weather gets warmer (or tries to). 

Elsewhere flowers are blooming and everything is looking very green, we've had a lot of rain recently, much needed after a fairly dry April. 

A few Chiffchaff and Blackcap have been singing regularly, along with the usual Robin, Wren, Blackbird etc
Birds in hiding - Chiffchaff


Nuthatch, although it did keep sticking it's head out and showering bark down from the tree

At home the garden is also looking very green and lush, my Peony Tulips flowered briefly, they never last long enough! Bluebells, Japonica and the Quince in the hedge is all in flower, Cornflowers are starting to bud too, the Japonica is slowly winding it's way up through the Buddleia by the window. 

Next doors Flowering Cherry has flowered and faded 

I've been on the look out for Swallows and House Martins, finally over a week late Swallows are back on the farm near work. A couple of days later a House Martin flew over the garden and finally today 6 Swifts were circling the sky over the house!

The garden has been full of birds......Starlings, Sparrows, Woodpigeons, Collared Doves, Blackbirds, Robin, Dunnock, Blue and Great Tits, Goldfinch, a pair of pushy Magpies who try and scare everything in the garden but have been known to jump a mile when a Squirrel pops up! Also we've had a few visit from a pair of Greenfinch and on occasion a pair of Bullfinch. Hedgehogs are visiting nightly, we've had two together over the past week, there has been a fair bit of courtship going on, which is a good sign. 

House Sparrows


Collared Dove

Blue Tit



Great Tit




One morning I spotted a Sparrowhawk hiding in the Laburnum and on the sunny Easter weekend I saw Peregrine, Buzzard and another Sparrowhawk over the house. 

That same weekend I also watch bees investigate holes in the wall of the house - Mason Bees I think - one seemed quite settled and pushed another one out that tried to move in. A few Butterflies have been around the garden - mostly Holly Blue and Orange-tip with a few Speckled Wood too. 

This turned out to be a bit of a longer post than planned but it's been a while since I last did a patch update! 


  1. Any encounter with a Barn Owl is memorable, so I can well imagine your elation. I hope that they stick around so that you can have repeat experiences. When the owl sighting is combined with the successes in your garden it is not hard to conclude that you are having a fine spring.

    1. Hopefully they will! Yes i'd say so, I do love this time of year!

  2. Wonderful to see the barn owls and I'm glad the nuthatch with the long beak seems to be coping. For a few years we had a blackbird in our garden with white feathers around his neck, he used to sing beautifully at this time of year but I haven't seen him this year:( You have a lovely selection of birds visiting your garden:)

    1. Thanks Rosie :) They do seem to work out how to cope/adapt don't they!

  3. OHHH so many goodies in this post! We have the wood bees, they drill into everything then we track the sawdust into the house..ugh. Love the barn owl sighting I HAVE yet to manage so jealous. All the new arrivals look wonderfully healthy and I really like your time lapse of the foliage growing...grand idea! The beak on the nuthatch seems almost to be that of a creeper! Happy Mothers Day don't know if UK Has it on the same day or not!

    1. I've just discovered they have filled in one of the holes in the wall so it looks like we have eggs, that's a first for me! They are not so bad we have sawdust! The Barn Owl has always been a bit of a bogie bird for me!! I love that little spot in the woods especially when the sun shines on it so it just seemed perfect to photograph :) You're right about the beak!!

      Funnily enough I think we're the only country in the world that doesn't have Mothers Day in June, ours is in March, very confusing!

  4. It's always a treat to spot a barn owl :)
    A nice range of garden birds too.

    1. It is, they're definitely a favourite :)

  5. You're so lucky to see the Barn owl, & am not surprised you were excited! I'd give anything to see one!

    Your photos are lovely - you have a huge variety of different birds visiting your feeders (am jealous about the bullfinch!)

    We get lots of swallows & housemartins around us (we live next to old farm buildings), however we're yet to see swifts!

    1. Thanks Sharon. The Bullfinch are rare garden visitors so it's always a thrill to see one :) The Swifts are on their way i'm sure you'll have them soon!

  6. A lovely post Pam with so much of interest to see around your patch and garden. It is brilliant news about the Barn Owls - no wonder you are thrilled as they are such special birds. I remember how excited I got when we finally saw one locally :) You seem to be getting similar garden butterflies to me :)

    1. Thanks :) You wouldn't believe how excited I was to see the Owl!! :0