Monday, 8 February 2016

Tree Following - January and early February 2016

 Welcome to my Tree Following post for January and early February 2016. 

These tree posts form part of a wider project initiated by Lucy Corrander from the Loose and Leafy blog and continued by Pat at The Squirrelbasket. May I express my thanks to you both.

I am based in Suffolk, UK, where I have been keeping an eye on an Acer negundo (aka a Box-leaf Maple). I am also continuing to watch my Silver birch, B. pendula. Those of you who have read my previous posts will know that I love following the Silver Birch; but, for some slightly indefinable reason, I have not found the Acer negundo a very rewarding tree to follow. I may exchange it for a small flowering cherry sapling that we were given four years ago. I will let you know my thoughts on the matter in a month's time! 

You will find the other Tree Follower links by clicking the Mr Linky link here ... so do take the chance to have a look at these new posts!

Once again, the main activity this last month concerns the birds who live around my home patch. Many of them showed up on cue - in, on, around or under the Silver Birch - during the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch. You will find my report here.

Since my last TF post, I have noted the following ...

  • The feisty Robin (and another Robin)
  • Blue tits, a large cluster
  • Great tits, again a good number of these
  • Long-tailed tits, always in a small group
  • Starlings, every so often
  • Blackbird, around the tree, rather than on it
  • Magpies
  • Wood pigeons, the usual suspects 
  • Carrion Crows, three noisy ones!
  • Greater Spotted Woodpecker - a male and a female
  • Bullfinch, male - seen once during its brief spell in our patch
  • Grey Heron, seen overhead twice, going in opposite directions
  • Sparrowhawk, which flew past the Silver Birch and on over the fence
  • Goldfinches, a large charm
  • Collared Doves, a pair 
  • Jay, a few days before the Birdwatch.

There has also been a Grey Squirrel, who is perching precariously at the top of the Silver Birch as I type. A large black and white cat has visited the base of the Silver Birch on occasions, leaping up at a Magpie who was hovering by the coconut feeders.

On the insect front, I have one early moth to report, but it flew off before I was able to identify it or take its photograph. I also watched a queen Buff-tailed Bumblebee fly past the Silver Birch, and I gather from friends on Facebook that there have been other sightings of these bees during the past month.

And now for a few photos for this month ...

Silver Birch - this morning

Slow signs of spring (Silver Birch)

Acer negundo, looking pretty wintry still

Great spotted Woodpecker, male

You can see his back-of-the-nape red band very clearly
The Grey Squirrel managed to knock the lump of fat (with berries) to the ground ...

... ate as much as it could, and managed with some difficulty to carry the remains over the fence.

One of the Dunnocks at the foot of the Silver Birch

Blue tits feeding in peace

One of the Starlings
Above and below: Magpie (before the cat leaped up)


I mentioned in January that I would post my full TF species list once again this month. I shall probably continue to do this every other month or at intervals as it is becoming rather long! Here it is:

(Largely) Silver Birch Sighting Update
The few Acer negundo entries have been marked as such.    

Avian sightings (on, in and around the Silver Birch, seen at any time since I began the Tree Following project over a year ago) are shown in pink.

I have marked the 'wild things' seen during this last month in yellow.

To date, the only birds seen on the Acer negundo are TFb13 Goldfinch and  TFb19  Chaffinch

  • TFb1   Great Spotted Woodpecker (a male and female)
  • TFb2   Great tit (several, often on feeder) 
  • TFb3   Long-tailed Tit (large family, including juveniles)
  • TFb4   Blackbird
  • TFb5   Song Thrush   
  • TFb6   Blue tit (several frequently on feeder)
  • TFb7   Robin (the feisty Robin has put in frequent appearances)
  • TFb8   Magpie
  • TFb9   Wood Pigeon (up to ten perching around the feeder area)
  • TFb10 Dunnock (two occasionally below the feeder)  
  • TFb11 Starling (one or two)
  • TFb12 Carrion Crow 
  • TFb13 Goldfinch 
  • TFb14 Jay
  • TFb15  Green Woodpecker
  • TFb16  Wren 
  • TFb17  Bullfinch (a single visit from a male)
  • TFb18  Sparrowhawk
  • TFb19  Mallard
  • TFb20  House Sparrow
  • TFb21  Chaffinch
New bird species this month ...

  • TFb22 Grey Heron (I have seen these in our home patch before, but apparently not since the start of my Tree Following observations. There is a stream in the local nature reserve at the back of our garden, so we see these birds occasionally). 
  • TFb23 Collared Dove (a pair)

Mammal sightings include ...

  • TFm1 (?Wood) Mouse
  • TFm2 Bat ... first 2015 garden sighting 7 May 2015 [Apr/May 2015]
  • TFm3 Shrew
  • TFm4 Grey Squirrel (high up on the Silver Birch) [Jan/Feb 2016]
  • TFm5 Stoat
  • TFm6 Hedgehog, a single sighting 
 No new mammals this month.

Insect sightings include ...

  • TFi1 Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly [March 2014]
  • TFi2 Buff-tailed Bumblebee [March 2014] [Jan/Feb 2016]
  • TFi3 Brimstone Butterfly [April 2014]
  • TFi4 7-spot Ladybird [April 2014] [October 2014] [Apr/May 2015] [Jul/Aug 2015] [Sept/Oct 2015]
  • TFi5 Skipper Butterfly [July 2014]
  • TFi6 Meadow Brown Butterfly [July 2014] [Jul/Aug 2015]
  • TFi7 Large White Butterfly [July 2014]
  • TFi8 14-spot Yellow Ladybirds [July 2014]
  • TFi9 Small White Butterfly [May 2014] [Apr/May 2015] [Sept/Oct 2015 - caterpillars]
  • TFi10 Orange tip Butterfly [May 2014]
  • TFi11 Harlequin ladybird  [May 2014] [October 2014] [Sept/Oct 2015 - on three on Acer negundo!]
  • TFi12 Garden Chafer (Phyllopertha horticola) [June 2014] 
  • TFi13 Ruby-tail Wasp [June 2014] [May/June 2015]
  • TFi14 Blackfly [June 2014
  • TFi15 Marmalade Hoverfly [July 2014] [Jul/Aug 2015]
  • TFi16 Shield bug [July 2014] [Apr/May 2015]
  • TFi17 Migrant Hawker dragonflies [July 2014]
  • TFi18 Unidentified Damselfly [August 2014]
  • TFi19 Comma butterfly [August 2014]
  • TFi20 Red Admiral butterfly [August 2014] [October 2014] [Jul/Aug 2015]
  • TFi21 Peacock butterfly [August 2014] [Jul/Aug 2015] [Nov/Dec 2015] - flew past window
  • TFi22 Green bottle flies [August 2014] [May/June 2015]
  • TFi23 Ants [August 2014] [Apr/May 2015]  [May/June 2015] [Jul/Aug 2015] [Sept/Oct 2015 Acer negundo]
  • TFi24 Squashbug aka Dock Bug, Coreus marginatus [August 2014]
  • TFi25 Birch Shieldbug (late instar?) [September 2014]
  • TFi26 Lacewing [October 2014] [Sept/Oct 2015]
  • TFi27 Cereal Leaf Beetle [Apr/May 2015]
  • TFi28 Unidentified Moth [Nov/Dec 2014] [Feb/Mar 2015] [Jul/Aug 2015] [Sept/Oct 2015]
    [Jan/Feb 2016]
  • TFi29 Rosemary Beetle [[Sept/Oct 2015]
  • TFi30 Hawthorn Shieldbug [May/June 2015] 
  • TFi31 Forest Shieldbug (Pentatoma rufipes) [Sept/Oct 2015] 
 No new insects this month.  


 No new insects this month. 

And finally ...



Simon Douglas Thompson said...

Great stuff! So envious you have a woody woodpecker visiting!

Kay Weeks said...

I would surely go on a nature hike with YOU, Caroline Gill!

L. D. said...

I just took a couple of shots of a starling. I was surprise how good the photos were. You have birds that never cross our paths. The blue tits are a handsome bird with the great colors.

Hollis said...

Beautiful photos of the birch in silhouette agains the blue-and-white sky!

Anonymous said...

Lots of interest in your garden this month!
It's just as well grey squirrels are cute, or we would have to kill them, wouldn't we?
Won't it be wonderful when we see a bit of green on the trees? Not long now, unless winter takes a change for the colder.
All the best :)

Brian Skeys said...

A very comprehensive list of all the visitors to your garden with some good wildlife pictures.