Posts Tagged ‘Falcon Cottage


Through the square window

The end of the tax year saw me sitting at the laptop first thing this morning.

It was the song of a Blackcap that drew me to the window. Not my first for the year but always good to hear. Under the feeders was a Stock Dove. The iridescence around the neck  was absolutely glowing in the morning sunshine. I had to get my camera. As soon as I moved he flew up and away. I thought I’d set up the camera anyway just in case he came back; or maybe something else would put in an appearance.

I’d no sooner set up the tripod when an absolute carpet of Blackbirds landed in the garden. A spring movement north. Much to the consternation of the local birds that didn’t like interlopers on their patch. As I finished adjusting the camera I noticed something piebald land at the pond.

For the fourth year running Ring Ouzels have visited the pond here. Stunning birds these thrushes. I had a chance to fire off a few shots before the whole flock took off west.


Awaiting conclusion.

A knock on the window of Falcon Cottage the other day was an unexpected visit from neighbours Tom and Sam. They brought with them a sad little visitor. Sam took a female kestrel from under her coat and laid it out on the worktop. She had found it in the middle of a field, semi-moribund. As I tried to explore the breastbone for fat deposits a set of very sharp talons immediately clenched my hand. Not that moribund then! It was severely undernourished. Given it was late in the day I asked Sam to put it in a dark box in a warm place overnight. If it was still alive in the morning it needed fluids and food and should be taken for rehabilitation. We await a conclusion.

UPDATE: Sadly the young lady died overnight. Perhaps a little too weak to make it.




There’s always something to watch. Even if you’re ‘laid-up’ post op. and the only window on the world you have is literal. This Brambling was on the feeders here at Falcon Cottage at the weekend.

2015 11 12 Brambling Northrepps Norfolk9Z8Z0966



Just so lucky

It’s awful isn’t it? That feeling of missing out can sometimes leave you immensely deflated.

Having seen Andy’s tweet saying he’d had a Ring Ouzel in the garden down the road I thought I’d better get out and see what else was planning to spend the rest of Wednesday evening here on the hill. As I walked from the door the clatter of a Ring Ouzel disappearing over the hedge and heading high to the west was enough to convince me I’d made the right decision.

Out onto the lane and a further three came from the trees and headed north. We had a fall of Rousels! They’re always so timid these thrushes. It’s hard to get close and the few shots I got of these birds were of their rear ends disappearing into the distance.

I walked for another half hour or so and was watching a cluster of Wheatear on the ploughed field when a text burst onto my phone. It was from Sharon. It read; ‘Female Ring Ouzel bathing in the pond’; Bugger!

My speed hastened and I got back soon after but it had gone. Photography opportunity missed. Despite a vigil looking out over the pond until dark just a Blackbird came into bathe. We’ve had Ring Ouzels in the garden before but never bathing in the pond and you could wait a lifetime for that to happen again. A moment not to be topped and it had passed me by. Not to worry, Sharon had seen it and she was happy.

It was only the following morning as I glanced out over the garden that I saw a corking male had come into bathe! … and… a female too! Apparently lightening does strike twice!

Ring Ousel


Barnie’s Back

With one thing and another I seem to have been constantly on the phone of late. Bookings for hotels, bookings for tours etc … etc

It’s strange isn’t it, when I’m on the mobile I tend to stand up and I have a habit of walking around for no apparent reason. Maybe it helps me think. Anyways, I was ambling from foot to foot in the dining room here at Falcon Cottage the other day deep in a conversation when something moved at the top of the garden. It was dusk so light wasn’t good. I tried to ignore it for the sake of fluency but I couldn’t. The call ended and I was able to grab my camera to get a shot of this little beauty sat on the back fence. A bit grainy given the low winter evening light but still nice to see.

Six species of owl have graced the garden since Sharon and I have been here. We only need Snowy to complete the list … The sixth? Oh! That’s Teet Owl … plenty of those in the kitchen. ;0)

Barn  Owl


Is Falcon Cottage Haunted?

The weather forecast said little chance of rain over the weekend so I set the moth trap. Amid the dew of the following morning I sorted through the contents and found a rather endearing chap. A male Ghost Moth. Not uncommon but something I haven’t come across here at Falcon Cottage before.

Ghost Moth


More on ‘that’ Sparrow

It’s now almost three months since the Sparrow showing features of Italian Sparrow was first seen on the 16th August at Falcon Cottage. Obviously with such a bird the only way of determining its true identity would be DNA analysis; although I am aware a description and photographs have already been submitted to the BBRC by someone who came to see the bird. To all those people who came to see the bird hoping for an ‘armchair tick’ I must offer my apologies. A DNA sample was never obtained although we did try.

After the young had fledged our first port of call was the nest. Have you ever seen a Sparrows nest? Enormous. I ‘supervised’ from the ground as Andy ’the monkey’ Benson retrieved a large carrier bag full of nesting material. Once we sorted through the several thousand feathers in the bag we ended up with a couple of likely candidates from ‘the’ sparrow – but to be fair nothing we could rely upon.

Our best chance of a DNA sample was to catch the bird and hope it shed a feather in the process of being ringed. We sought a ringer and found one. He came once and ringed several birds but despite teetering in the direction of the mist nets our target never succumbed. The ringer was called away to foreign climes so never had the opportunity to return. By the time we found a replacement ringer that had the time and/or the motivation to finish the job the sparrow had promptly disappeared. The last time I saw him was on Friday 27th September when he was sat on the hedge at the back of the house preening. Frustratingly a feather he removed caught the wing and flew over my shoulder at warp speed into the field never to be seen again.

So it remains to be seen if he returns through the winter or maybe next spring when we will try again to catch him. Rest assured I’ll keep an eye open should he avail himself to the rich pickings at the bird table.

In the meantime one or perhaps two young male sparrows have started to develop quite white cheeks and brown/grey crowns … hybrid sons of sparrow?

2013 09 20 Sparrow sp Northrepps Norfolk_Z5A1298

A final picture of the old boy after he’d completed his moult one week before he disappeared.



While looking over the wildflower test patch I put in at Falcon Cottage I got buzzed by a Dragonfly. It was a female Emperor, or should it be Empress? She immediately began egg laying in the pond.
Sitting on the vegetation she lowered her abdomen into the water and deposited her small white cargo; individually sticking the eggs to the stalks of the plants. Even before she had finished another female came and joined her.
Emperor Dragonfly
Emperor Dragonfly


On Golden Pond

It seems an age ago but the picture window at Falcon Cottage was only put in during March. In April we dug the pond in front of it. Almost immediately, the same day it was filled in fact, it was found by Pond Skaters – how does a small insect like that know the pond is there?
At the beginning of July we had our first Dragonfly; a Broad Bodied Chaser. All fresh and new and golden; a beautiful female. She disappeared and was replaced by a male two days later who held territory. Last week he was in company with Black tailed Skimmers and Azure Damselflies all egg laying amid the new water plants and not to be outdone his mate returned and they coupled in the air and she too started to egg lay.
This is just one small pond amid a desert of cereal fields – how do they find such an isolated habitat? How does something as seemingly insignificant and crude as an insect find its habitat? The light reflected from water is polarised maybe the insects can see polarised light from a distance in a different way? I guess we’ll never know for sure … it’s just another of Mother Nature’s wonders.

Falcon Cottage way back in April

Falcon Cottage April

Falcon Cottage in July

Falcon Cottage July

The Picture window and developing pond

Falcon Cottage July 2

The first tenants – Pond Skaters

Pond Skater

The female Broad bodied Chaser – but how did she find the pond?

Broad Bodied Chaser newly emerged

… and the male two days later

Broad Bodied Chaser 2 days later

… and when he found his mate

Broad Bodied Chasers


Scratchy Residents

A Whitethroat and his intended have taken up residence aside a pair of Lesser Whitethroats at Falcon Cottage this spring. Each male takes it in turn to scratch out a tune from the top of the hawthorns.



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Jun 2023


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