The flood meadows have had standing water all year, but not a single duck. By sheer coincidence there is an extremely loud bird scarer in the woods at the back. These devices consist of a big canister of compressed air and a long tube, they produce loud bangs that mimic gunshots and are designed to frightened off birds, especially Woodpigeon. Except the one in this wood is a monster and sounds more like open cast blast mining is being carried out. Every 10 minutes there are three enormous explosions. I wonder if this is the reason for the lack of wildfowl here?
Unfortunately the local Woodpigeons just move a short distance away. This morning I counted a huge flock of over 800, so despite the frequent noise pollution the bird scarer is having little effect:
There has been more depressing habitat loss in the last few weeks. This stump below is all that remains of the tree in which I found Oxfordshire's first ever winter record of Whitethroat last January (details here). There are virtually no hedgerows or low cover left to the north of the village now. I hope that the 2 or 3 pairs of Corn Bunting that breed here will manage to hang on.
2 Roe Deer in typical flight mode:
However, this set of tracks by the river got me excited. The 5 toes ruled out cat or dog and having just got this post from friend Richard, the wild possibility of these being Otter tracks crossed my mind. But perhaps they are a little big and the central pad looks too large. Badger tracks?
I took this picture of the local Little Owl through the tree branch I was hiding behind! Modern camera equipment never ceases to amaze me, but through the view finder I could only see tree. Somehow the camera has managed to bend light and pull out a record shot:
Back home you can tell it is February: there are Siskins on the feeders.
These small, brightly coloured finches are only regular in the garden in February, presumably as natural resources of seeds are running low. A reminder to keep the supplies of bird feed topped up. 62 species for the year.