Mar 042017
Mandarin brings some colour to the pond

Eighteen months after the last new bird visitor to the grounds of Bracken House, a mandarin made an appearance on the large pond bringing some much-needed colour. The bird, a male, was the 44th different bird species noted since recording started in February 2010. The mandarin arrived during the afternoon and seemed to enjoy swimming around with the pair of mallards who visit the pond almost every day. The resident moorhens weren’t too impressed with the new arrival and kept their distance. Mandarins were introduced to the UK from China and have become established following escapes from captivity. The main [Read more]

Jan 052016
2015 - a stay at home year

Despite having over a dozen overseas places on my ‘must visit’ list, 2015 was a year in which I stayed on these shores, unless you count the Channel Islands as abroad. Although outside of the United Kingdom, I don’t regard our annual holiday in Herm as a trip overseas. Holidays Apart from a day trip to Llandudno in April, my first holiday was a repeat trip to the Outer Hebrides, this time on an organised rail and coach trip. The last time I was in the Hebrides, Sandra and I flew there and drove the length of the Isles from Barra to Stornaway. [Read more]

Dec 262014
Black-Headed Gull becomes 41st bird species seen at Bracken House

Gulls are very often seen flying over Bracken House, but none have ever landed in the fields or gardens until today. Never has a bird come close enough to be identified, but a Black-Headed Gull was seen feeding in the fields for most of today. Not really a black-headed bird, more chocolate-brown – in fact, for much of the year, it has a white head, as was noted today. It is most definitely not a ‘seagull‘ and is found commonly almost anywhere inland. Black-headed gulls are sociable, quarrelsome, noisy birds, usually seen in small groups or flocks, often gathering into [Read more]

Nov 032014
Jay becomes the 40th bird species to visit Bracken House

On November 3rd 2014, a Jay was seen at Bracken House. This was the fortieth different bird species recorded here since 2010. The bird was seen sitting on the fire pit, only a few feet from the kitchen, before flying into the large field. The Jay stayed here for a few minutes pecking at the ground before flying off. The Jay is a very colourful, though secretive member of the crow family. Found throughout the country they live in woodland, though they sometimes visit gardens. They feed on acorns, nuts, seeds and insects, but also eats nestlings of other birds and small [Read more]

Apr 302014
The robin - a gardener's companion

Whenever I am working in the garden, I almost always have a robin as my companion. They are very tame birds and are always the first to visit when I fill the bird feeders each day. Recently, one of the main tasks I had to do was weeding and hoeing the flower borders. Within a few minutes of starting, a robin joined me, often only a couple of feet away. He occasionally had a look in the wheelbarrow to see if I had thrown in a grub or earthworm. At this time of year, the robin can often be seen with a mouthful of [Read more]

Feb 082013
Siskin sighting bird highlight of the week

It’s been an interesting week of bird sightings at Bracken House, the highlight being a first ever recorded appearance of a siskin. This sole small finch was seen at the bird feeders on Friday 8th February. A common bird in Wales and Scotland, these birds are less common in England, but are more frequent in winter. They occasionally visit bird feeders searching for peanuts, though they do feed on seeds, especially of conifers, alders and birch. Also noted at Bracken House on the same day was a pair of mallards, who spent most of the day alternating between the two ponds. [Read more]

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