Nature Blog Network

predator alert

The coming of the warmer weather this week sees the emergence of the main predators on the lane - Felix domesticus - seen here in prowling and in innocent mode.
cat predator thumbnail cat innocent thumbnail

(Yes, two of them are ours. Sadly, that is how we know the existence of most of the mammals in the area, including the bat and the mole, both deposited alive.)

new species

The presence of 6 (yes, six) jackdaws scared off many of the small birds this morning. The jackdaws organised themselves with four keeping guard, one on the feeder and one on the ground underneath. The watchmen were neatly stationed on separate branches surrounding the action. Meanwhile a blackbird amused itself by exploring a squirrel’s nut store.

It was good to see three fieldfares on the trees after the big birds had left. These are a first for the lane.

Snowdrops still not out.


No, not on the lane, but were there once bitterns in Rossendale? T.H Heyhurst in his study of the volunteer movements of East Lancs includes the following interesting observation:

‘The boggart holes and cloughs by the Irwell side have become the seat of a wealth-producing industry. Where the shrill cry of the bittern was formerly, the whirr of the shuttle and the scream of the engine are heard.’

(T.H Heyhurst, ‘A History and Some Records of the Volunteer Movement in Bury, Heywood, Rossendale and Ramsbottom.’ First published 1886.)

snowdrops and jackdaws

Snowdrops are rarely a January flower here and the first week of Feb is the usual time for the shoots to appear. It usually coincides with daylight in the early evening and with an increase in birdsong, all being welcome signs that spring is coming.

snowdrop shoots thumbnail

Four jackdaws around this morning including one which inched its way towards the feeders, finally resting on the branch above. Leaning over to reach the food, he lost his balance which was restored with much feather-rustling. Composure regained, he shook himself down then had a quick look round as if to check that no other birds had noticed…luckily for him the greenfinch were playing chase in an attempt to delineate territory. Rarities are great (not that we seem to get many) but there is much fun from watching the everyday behaviour from everyday birds as well.

It was good to hear the tawny owl this week, having not heard him for some time.

The velvet shank has gone, but it brightened up the winter.


The British Trust for Ornithology have been requesting observations of blackcaps (Sylvia atricapilla) in gardens in January. Sad to have to report that we didn’t see a measly one! Never mind, next year.