Wildlife at my fingertips

Yesterday morning, as we sat down to breakfast, a baby Blue Tit flew into the french window and wobbled, stunned on the patio step.DSCN9872c(web)

Needing to rescue it from our dog or the local moggies, I dashed outside and picked it up. Graham grabbed the camera, and here is the result. I was able to pop it on the bird table, it’s mother returned, and eventually it flew off.

It was lovely to be able to use the incident immediately to open and close the morning Iona Communion Service that I was leading at St. Peter’s.

Only on looking at the pictures later did we realise it had a deformed left foot (see close up) and wasn’t using it properly. Over the winter we’ve been aware of a chaffinch with similar sort of growths on it’s foot, but we’ve no idea what may cause them.DSCN9875c(web)

We’re enjoying a little relaxation time at present, since it is the start of half-term, the boy is on Scout Camp in E Sussex, and I’ve finally finished my placement report. Saturday afternoon we returned through Ashdown Forest from the Scout Camp stopping for a picnic near some bluebells and at Weir Wood Nature Reserve where we a bit disappointed to find it felt a bit neglected. However the noise from the heronry was extraordinary, and we found two Fallow Deer nearby just showing antler growth in velvet.

Yesterday evening we went to our local patch at Castle Bottom at dusk. We saw a Roe Deer en route in the adjacent Silver Fox Farm fields, and a hunting fox right near the stream-bed in Castle Bottom itself. What we went for were Nightjars, and although we heard distant churring, we saw nothing… but midges. (Must try again, possibly later… although we didn’t leave till 9.30pm.) The smell of Bog Myrtle was intoxicating however. The new blog header was a photo Graham took whilst we were out, just before we returned home across the back of Blackbushe Airport, where we saw a black rabbit (among many other bunnies) and bats… some largish ones out on the edge of the heath, and what we think were Pipistrelle bats in the lane coming home.

Today we’ve been to Ashe… via needing to hand in that placement report in North Waltham… which boasts the source of the River Test (famous for it’s trout). The spring rises in a small pond, favoured by ducks and fed over by Swallows, which then forms a stream that stretches out across a beautiful meadow (full of sheep) through which there is a footpath to Overton. If you fancy a wander we thoroughly recommend it… park by the church and walk through the (very tidy) farmyard to the waymark signs.

Reminded me, I really must try and go trout fishing with my father this summer!

Holy Trinity and St. Andrew's Church, Ashe
Holy Trinity and St. Andrew's Church, Ashe


  1. Feedback from Hants Ornithological Society (HOS) members who responded to my HOSlist query:

    According to Chris Packham on Spring Watch it is a form of viral infection called Papiloma. However when this subject was raised a few years back the talk was of infections caused by “Mites”
    It used to be blamed on us feeding birds in the garden and I guess any area where birds gather in large numbers could be high risk. However the infected Chaffinchs in my garden all arrived with problem quite well advanced. Whatever it is it can be infectious and the best thing we can do is keep our feeding stations clean in the hope it is not passed on.

    You’re right that there are two different things going on here. Papilloma and Knemidocoptic mange (Scaly Face Mites). The former is viral and causes warty ‘fronds’ to grow on legs and the latter is caused by mites, which lift the skin cells on the legs.

    Mark Grantham


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s