Petersfield Heath Lake


Earlier this week I spent a joyous afternoon with my granddaughter, Bella. At six years of age, she really is a pleasure to spend time with. Although, I am surprised that my ears weren’t bleeding by the end of the day. She just talks and talks and talks.

Primarily, Bella just wants to go somewhere with a play park. Slides, swings and roundabouts. With all those things she is happy.

A favourite haunt is Petersfield Lake. There is a sizeable play park, a cafe and lovely walks around the lake. So, most items were checked on her must have list.

Arriving shortly after one o’clock I was surprised at how misty it was. I couldn’t see the bank at the far side of the lake. Although the sun was just starting to break through.

A Misty Petersfield Lake

When in the direct sunlight it was nice and warm but as soon as you moved into the shadows of the trees you could really feel the underlying chill.

Illuminated Boardwalk – Petersfield Lake
Petersfield Lake

After an hour, or so. And the obligatory ice-cream, and coffee for me, we set out to walk around the perimeter of the lake. By now the mist was gone, presenting us with a lovely sunny afternoon.

The lake plays host to many aquatic birds. Swans, geese, ducks, moorhens, coots and gulls. Lots and lots of gulls. Of course Grandad got his coots and moorhens mixed up. Thank god for smartphones and Google. I was able to sort things out. Don’t want to be misleading the kids.

Nesting Coot – Petersfield Lake

As we traversed the boardwalk we were able to see many of the birds making their homes around the lake.

Also we were able to view the results of the hard work being carried out to create submerged islands, planted with shrubby plants. Hopefully these will mature into safe habitats for the birds to nest in.

Brent Goose (Pale Bellied) – Petersfield Lake

I was surprised at how few of these there were. South of Petersfield, there are several playing fields, in and around Portsmouth, that are taken over every year by huge flocks of Brent Geese.

Egyptian Goose – Petersfield Lake

Not sure why an Egyptian Goose would be overwintering here in the UK. You’d think they would stay where it was warm.

Mallard Ducks – Petersfield Lake

Just a couple of snaps across the lake. What a fabulous view the owners of those houses have from their windows.

During our stroll we spotted many other birds, including robins and various tits and finches. They were making good use of the coconut shells, filled with suet and seeds, variously hung around the bushes and trees.

Another nice touch was this fairy garden, set in a tree stump. Bella really enjoyed investigating the various pieces here.

Fairy Garden – Petersfield Lake

And so the circumnavigation was completed. One more go on the slides, well several really, and it was time to head out for a bite to eat.

Basic error on my part was that I asked Bella what she would like to eat. In my mind I was certain we were headed for McDonalds. Surprise, surprise, Bella wasn’t interested in Macca’s, or KFC, or pizza. After perusing several menus outside of pubs and cafes we ended up in a Cafe Nero. Where Bella settled for a toasted cheese and ham roll, a Belgian chocolate chough pastry donut all washed down with a fruit smoothie.

A fitting end to a lovely day.

View From The Conservatory


Well actually it’s more like “Noises Off” as that is what alerted me to the nocturnal shenanigans going on on my garden this evening.

It is amazing just how much noise these little critters make whilst courting.

It’s likely these are the squatters, residing under my shed.

View From The Conservatory


For Christmas our granddaughter, knowing our love of wildlife in the garden, gave us a set of rustic residences to place in our garden.

First up is the Bug Hotel. Although the sign on the outside says Insects & Bees, I don’t think we will be that exclusive.

Bug Hotel

Next is the Squirrel Feeder. It’ll be nice to have something specific to them. Although I am sure the birds will make free with the food, just as the squirrels do with the bird feeders.

Squirrel Feeder

All that is left is the bird nesting box. Given the number of cats around our neighbourhood, we’ll have to be careful with where we site it. That’s a job for tomorrow.

View From The Conservatory


squirrels_cropped

These are just two of the four squirrels that were tearing around in our garden.

Sadly, the one on the left has lost most of the skin and fur from the top of his head. It was looking very sore from the nose up to between the ears. Possibly had an encounter with next doors cats.

Apologies for the poor quality of the photo, I did try to clean it up a bit. This was taken on my phone, from about fifteen feet away and through the double glazing, hence the reflections.

Nesting


Bird
Laughing Dove

The Laughing Dove, or Senegal Turtledove, is not a native of Australia. It is, in fact, native to Africa and India.

Apparently, back inĀ 1898, Perth Zoo released a number of pairs into the wild. Given the natural catastrophes, caused by the introduction of other non-indiginous species into the Australian continent, one has to ask …. “What were you thinking ?”

Now, for some, these pretty birds are referred to as “flying rats”. And, in the same way as the ground based version, viewed as vermin.

Just like the Rock Dove back in the UK, they nest on any flat surface, their excrement gathers wherever they nest and smears the outsides of buildings and monuments.

Thanks to Perth Zoo, these birds are to be found over most of Western Australia.

BBC News: Should cats be culled to stop extinctions?


BBC News – Should cats be culled to stop extinctions?
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-47721807

Yes, yes, yes !!!

An unequivocal YES !!!

Then come round to my home area and cull the pet cat population too.

Perhaps then, some of the local wildlife will recover their numbers.

Nut Jobs


Given the current cold spell I don’t begrudge these little fellows a few peanuts. Midday and -1 outside even though the sun is shining. A few snow sprinkles falling too, although too few to bother anyone.

Squirrel_Feb2
Grey Squirrel

Although I put the peanuts out for the birds, the squirrels (and Wood Pigeons) eat the bulk of them. They are always cute and entertaining, so small price to pay for their company.

Since filling the feeders this weekend we are being visited by tits of the Blue, Great and Long-tailed varieties.

Longtailed_tits
Long-tailed Tits

This morning, there was also a Nuthatch getting his fill of sunflower hearts.

As always, the Robins are policing the garden. In the summer they typically, aggressively, chase off any other visitors to the feeders. Perhaps, due to the cold, they are being a little more magnanimous and just observing from a distance.

The Wood Pigeons sit like vultures in the trees. Observing the comings and goings of all the other birds. Since they can no longer land on the feeders, they are relegated to hoovering up the scatterings of their smaller brethren.

 

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