Flora and fauna – the tree creeper
Jan14

Flora and fauna – the tree creeper

Tree creepers are not rare but you don’t see them very often. That’s partly because they’re usually silent but more due to their secretive creeping up the rough bark of trees in search of spiders and larvae of insects hidden in the fissures of the bark. A treecreepers beak is perfectly designed for this: a fine curved pair of tweezers. I saw one in the garden the other day climbing a larch tree so I was on the lookout when I saw this...

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Flora and fauna – Barn Owls
Sep25

Flora and fauna – Barn Owls

One thing leads to another. I don’t know whether you saw it, but last winter I posted an entry about the large number of field voles there were in rough pastureland around town (increases like this are called ‘explosions’ and a similar thing occurs with lemmings – close relations – in Northern Europe). Well it might just be a coincidence, I doubt it, but this summer for the first time for at least thirty years we’ve had a...

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Flora and fauna : Jaywalking
Aug07

Flora and fauna : Jaywalking

Flora and fauna : Jaywalking We were visited by a pair of these beauties the other day, collecting peanuts (they can hold up to a dozen in their gullet at one time) to store in hidey holes. You’re most likely to see them in the autumn when they’re busy collecting their favourite food, acorns, and burying them for winter use…Jays are responsible for many of our oak trees because they miss collecting the odd one or...

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Flora and fauna – four for a penny
Jun20

Flora and fauna – four for a penny

Familiar to everyone the wren is still a favourite of mine…(does anyone else remember them on farthings?) We’re lucky enough to have a pair nesting in a quiet corner of the garden again this year; they’ve spruced up a nest which was built two years ago, but was left unused last year. Normally the male wren builds six or seven nests, then the female checks them all out, chooses one and prepares it for her eggs. They lay half a dozen or...

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Flora and fauna
Mar31

Flora and fauna

Webs of intrigue? I was reading recently about spiders webs and in particular the silk that they’re made from.   Most of us know of its strength, stronger than the equivalent steel thread (so they say) but what I certainly didn’t know was how it actually soaked up heat. I assume this speeds up the death of trapped insects…taking away their body heat. It isn’t the whole web that has these properties though, just the central loop...

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