GRANDADS WILDLIFE CORNER

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Grandad
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GRANDADS WILDLIFE CORNER

Post by Grandad »

Sitting in the very welcome sunshine,in the 'back yard' this afternoon, everything was looking green and new, at last, and I was reminded of Frank Loesser's song, Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year. We have talked about the lateness of spring this year in LLL's thread, What's Blooming? Rather than continue to clutter your thread, LLL, with my garden wildlife ramblings I decided to start a new one about my little wildlife corner.

Just to remind you this is my little corner that has become a magnet for all manner of local wildlife. It is a bit rough and rustic and I put the two stakes in to hold on to when climbing the bank to fill the bird feeders.
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I have mentioned the albino squirrels. Well it seems they have just one kit which is already more than half the size of the adults. I have made cages around my bird feeders to keep the squirrels at bay. The holes have to be large enough for all the tits and finches. Unfortunately a baby squirrel can also squeeze in and it took him (or her) some time to find a way out.
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My little cock robin friend would seem to be a bigamist. :) He has two families and I have seen him with two hens all getting along fine together. One clutch has fledged and would appear to be two chicks. He was feeding this one and the other was on a lower branch.
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I saw a very small fox cub yesterday and, although we do not normally put out food scraps, I did buy a very cheap large tin of dog chunks and put some out near the bird feeder. In no time at all mum was down taking the food for her cubs concealed somewhere along the embankment.
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Then while I was sitting quietly with camera in hand this little fellow walked along the bank and went to find the dog food. A little later there were two cubs along on my neighbours embankment but i did not move to photograph them because I am sure they would have run away. I believe there are three cubs in the litter but one is distinctly smaller, probably a runt who may not survive.
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The bluetits took up residence in the nest box on 14 April and judging by the frequency of the feeding trips by both parents (3 a minute) they must be ready to fledge. I am keeping a close eye and would like to see them leave the box.

There are badgers in the area and the dog meat may well entice them to pay us a visit.

More later. :)


:gg:

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Re: GRANDADS WILDLIFE CORNER

Post by LovelyLadyLux »

You really DO have a veritable wild kingdom in your back yard! Am envious as I'm still sitting in a gravel pit - BUT - Soon I'll have some greenery started and hopefully will be attracting birds and some wildlife.

I'm the 4th house in a row of 6. On either side of the 6 houses is greenbelt and same to the front. Behind me it is built up but I'm hoping I'm close to enough to the green to keep birds coming with a high enough fence to keep the deer out until my garden gets established.

Your albino squirrel sure is a husky healthy guy and the young fox looks pretty skookum too. Mama is looking a tad worse for wear but if she is an active mom I guess she just doesn't have time for all that makeup.

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Re: GRANDADS WILDLIFE CORNER

Post by Grandad »

Both parents look a bit run down when they have brought up a litter LLL. I think in all honesty the cubs come first and the parents do lose weight and sacrifice a lot. She looks pretty scruffy but I am sure much of that is mud and dirt collected in the earth. They always seem to lose their tail fur but that should grow again. I don't think she has mange but some that have had it in the past become very sad creatures and eventually go blind and die. :(

Nature in action I'm afraid......... :(

PS: I mentioned the little runt. My neighbours have seen the vixen carrying it by the scruff of its neck so it is obviously way behind the other two and its outlook is not good.... :(

A lot of sadness in the life of urban foxes and they are lucky to live more than two or three years.
:gg:

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Re: GRANDADS WILDLIFE CORNER

Post by Kiya »

Grandad ......lovely photos & story of your wildlife corner :)

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Re: GRANDADS WILDLIFE CORNER

Post by LovelyLadyLux »

You are very lucky to actually see your foxes. They are here but rarely seen. Hard to say if the little guy make it or not. I'd think 3 survivors is a pretty big litter for an urban wild fox family. That is lots of running to feed those mouths particularly as they get larger. Also interesting just to think about if an urban fox actually is getting and finding more food than his rural cousin?

How do neighbourhood cats act towards your bird feeders? Are they watching and waiting their chance or are they basically ignoring the birds?

The neighbours cat here is often on my back steps lazing in the sun. I'm hoping once I get plants and feeders and other stuff in the backyard he won't deter anybody from coming around.

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Re: GRANDADS WILDLIFE CORNER

Post by Grandad »

LLL, urban foxes are prolific in the UK and are to be found across the country. They seem to survive very well with a mixture of their natural food of small mammals, worms etc, and this is supplemented with scraps etc that they can forage from waste bins and the like. They are very smart and will find a way if they know food is concealed in some refuse container.

Their life expectancy is short and only from 18 to 30 months. Many dying on the roads, and it is quite common to see a carcass along the road.

We have very few cats in my locality and I can't remember when I last saw one in my garden. A high percentage of the local houses are occupied by students and they don't keep cats. :)

Regarding the birds, there is an increasing number of magpies and my neighbour saw one take a small bird, probably a new chick, and fly off with it. One of the cannibals of our feathered friends I'm afraid, but I do like magpies and think they are striking in their black and white plumage.

Only seen one of the fox cubs today so he had a good feed, the magpies also like the dog food that I am putting out. :lol:
:gg:

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Re: GRANDADS WILDLIFE CORNER

Post by Ruby Slippers »

Absolutely wonderful, Grandad! Hasn't it been fantastic weather in our little corner of the world today? :up I desperately hope it's a sign of things to come!

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Re: GRANDADS WILDLIFE CORNER

Post by LovelyLadyLux »

If you actually fox carcass on the roads then they're way more prolific there than here. Don't think I've ever seen one on the road here. Most common here are deer and racoon.

Here most students on signing up for University or College also adopt a cat but preferably a BIG dog. Pitbulls seem to be the preferred pet. I think this is almost a prerequisite for them starting school THEN finding it really difficult to find a rental that will accept them. Cat ownership seems to follow dog ownership.

I like your cages to keep the bird feeders for the birds and am sure your foxes are appreciating the extra suppliment.

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Re: GRANDADS WILDLIFE CORNER

Post by Grandad »

Saw all three cubs together on the bank last evening. Not enough light for a picture but the little fella is full of life annoying the other two. Hopefully if mum is still suckling him his outlook may be more promising.
:gg:

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Re: GRANDADS WILDLIFE CORNER

Post by LovelyLadyLux »

Good for the runt. Nothing like having a smaller bro or sis who is a real pain in the patoot when you're growing up. :) :)

Do foxes there have any predators? (other than humans?) What keeps their numbers under control? Not that I'd think foxes are super prolific but can see their numbers growing if there isn't much to keep them down.

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Re: GRANDADS WILDLIFE CORNER

Post by Grandad »

Update: My neighbour saw 4 cubs together on the bank last evening. It is not unusual to have not seen them all together until now but, hopefully, I will get a picture of them. We did have one litter of five in the past so 4 is not exceptional. :)
:gg:

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Re: GRANDADS WILDLIFE CORNER

Post by LovelyLadyLux »

That is a good sized litter. You'll have to suppliment up the feedings for poor old Mum and continue leaving the occasional dog food can food out there for her! If she has four am sure she appreciates it.

You'll have to get one of those Australian safari types hats for when you're out in the wilds of your backyard. Am thinking some good hiking boots and heavy canvas shirts would complete the 'look' of the backyard safari trekker ;) ;) ;)

Have you tamed down the robin yet?

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Re: GRANDADS WILDLIFE CORNER

Post by Grandad »

LovelyLadyLux wrote: You'll have to get one of those Australian safari types hats for when you're out in the wilds of your backyard. Am thinking some good hiking boots and heavy canvas shirts would complete the 'look' of the backyard safari trekker ;) ;) ;)

Have you tamed down the robin yet?
There you go LLL, got the hat with the corks but no big itchy shirt I'm afraid. :lol:
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Not yet tamed the robin, he still thinks he is a humming bird and will only hover over my hand to take a worm. Did see the dog fox last evening and managed to grab a pic through the window.
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I also walked the old railway embankment yesterday at the top of our bank. It is very overgrown but looking lovely and springlike.
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Along the bank I found this Kids camp. Not very clear in the picture but they had constructed it from sticks and covered it with cow parsely. Our National Trust has a scheme at the moment to encourage children to get involved with the countryside and they have listed '50 things to do before you are 10 3/4' Build a camp is one of them. :lol:
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:gg:

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Re: GRANDADS WILDLIFE CORNER

Post by Kiya »

Lovely pics Grandad :) I'm not too sure if I'd get close to a fox :o big scaredy cat I am :)

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Re: GRANDADS WILDLIFE CORNER

Post by LovelyLadyLux »

You're really starting to get that "out of africa" look B'wana Grandad! :) The hat is a pretty good one. Boots and safari pants are a good touch too for when you're 'going into the wilds' so to speak. If you start to report lion sitings I'm going to start getting suspicious :P

Your fox is posing now too! :) Keep taming him down and you'll be able to walk into town with a fox on a lead and a robin on your shoulder. Good photo of the fox though. Shows his coat really well and the tail is a bit scruffy.

I spent my childhood making forts and hauling about tree branches. We all used to vie for spots under a row of old abandonned apple trees as the brances were super low and easy to make into a fort. Wish more places were like that and encouraged the kids out into the wild areas. HERE in Canada (other than in maybe Vancouver City proper and Victoria proper) there are lots of undeveloped areas and going out into the bush or to the beach IS a national passtime. Kids are however kept under pretty close scrutiny. Definitely do not have the freedom I did as a kid to roam MILES on my own.

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Re: GRANDADS WILDLIFE CORNER

Post by LovelyLadyLux »

Just got this photo in an email from the nephew. He was out for a walk and this marmot came up to him. They're relatively rare so he was luck to get this shot.

Just thought I'd add this to the wildlife topic ;)

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Re: GRANDADS WILDLIFE CORNER

Post by Grandad »

LovelyLadyLux wrote: If you start to report lion sightings I'm going to start getting suspicious :P
Don't hold your breath :lol: :lol:

One visitor that I still have to get a new snap of is one of the badgers. Have not seen them for a while though.

I knew the bluetits were about to fledge so I set up the Nikon on a tripod this afternoon and waited. Luck was with me because things started to happen soon after 4pm and although I missed the first exit I DID get the second on a video clip. There is a lot of activity in the box with little faces having a look at the big outside world. I expect the rest will be gone by early morning but I will try to edit my various clips and show them to you.

Good picture of the Marmot LLL. Your nephew was lucky and the animal is even posing. :lol:
:gg:

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Re: GRANDADS WILDLIFE CORNER

Post by Grandad »

Not the best quality but here is a 1 minute 40 second clip of some nest box activity with one of the chicks leaving the box.

This link should find it........I hope :tk


phpBB [video]
:gg:

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Re: GRANDADS WILDLIFE CORNER

Post by LovelyLadyLux »

Awww - super cute. Little hesitant at first - guess it takes a bit to build up courage to finally take the 'leap'!

I could 'like' this video on Utube but couldn't sign in to comment. Guess I need a Utube account (not sure)

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Re: GRANDADS WILDLIFE CORNER

Post by Kiya »

Fab video clip Grandad :)

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