Grass snake attack – update

As of yesterday 26th May the snake was still in the pond. This week the temperature has been in the mid-twenties and we have noticed that sighting times have always started PM and yesterday lasted until about 1800 (3 hours) when the sun went off the pond. So clearly taking advantage of the best basking times.

Interestingly, also yesterday I saw a second snake much darker in colour and I suspect hiding under one of the slabs. Might it be a breeding pair? I have a picture that might interest you but only of the middle part of the body. I wasn’t quick enough with the camera.

The first snake is at least two feet long – a female?

We have a lot of cats around – not good!


Grass snake attack!

I have said before what a very big difference even a small water feature can make in our gardens. Our pond has a considerable variety of wildlife from the gold fish which breed copiously, to frogs, newts, and at this time of the year, tadpoles.  We’ve even had one young Kingfisher!

The photo was taken at 15.00 Wednesday 17th May.  The snake has the frog by the rear legs and took about 45 minutes to ingest completely.  The snake remained in the pond and was seen again the following morning.  It was indeed nature in the raw! Snakes have visited before, how often we don’t of course know. Some years ago we used to see hedgehogs – but not for a long time now.


Grass snake with frog Brok May2017

Oak Beauty moth

March 23rd – Have just found this moth on the floor in the house. Is it a Peppered Moth? Can you identify for me please?


It’s a beauty! Actually an Oak Beauty, which is closely related to the similarly shaped Peppered Moth. You can see from the wiki photo below that Peppered lacks any brown coloration. It also emerges a few weeks later from May/June, whereas the Oak Beauty only flies from February to April.
Peppered moth wiki

Bullfinches, and spring Chiffchaff

Saturday 11th March  I went for a walk on the 1066 Path in the late afternoon – Sprays Bridge towards the A21. I saw four Bullfinches feeding in a Silver Birch tree. There were two males & two females.

When I returned I decided to wait on the footbridge near the start of the walk. Almost immediately the Bullfinches reappeared in the undergrowth. I got the most superb view of of these handsome birds. I then realised that I could hear a Chiffchaff calling behind me. There in an oak tree I saw & heard my first Chiffchaff of 2017.

Sunday 12th March  My husband & I are having breakfast. A female Blackbird is making regular trips to the Honeysuckle with her bill full of leaves. Our first evidence of nest building this year.


Fieldfares, and Redwings

Saturday 4th March – My husband & I have just been putting up nest boxes in the garden when we noticed a large flock of birds land in nearby Oak trees. The birds were Fieldfares. There must have been at least 70 birds.


Apologies to Libby for not posting sooner as I missed the email whilst I was away. We would encourage all sightings to be sent to both Dave and myself in case one of us is away.

These winter thrushes start their return journeys north in March, as do Redwings which I heard moving north in good numbers over Westfield during the evening of 12th March. This turned out to be part of a much wider Redwing movement also heard in Southsea and Rye, that was detected across all of eastern England according to this BTO report ‘Redwings at night!


Great Crested Newt

1/2/2017 – Look what I found on my (muddy) back doorstep tonight! The colony, wherever they are located are still around.



2 Little Egrets

27/12/16  I disturbed a pair of small egrets fishing the stream that runs along the 1066 walk at the back of Newcut. They flew up into an oak tree, not at all bothered by my presence.


Thanks Chris, unlike some species it seems Little Egrets are still on the up in our area!

Ralph — Dave

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone, and a big thank you for all your contributors throughout the year!  We wish you a joyful and Waxwing filled New Year!


Photo courtesy of Steve Ashton, taken at Grove Ferry, Kent on 30th December 2008.

Ralph — Dave

PS It’s worth remembering when feeding the birds over the Christmas holidays – cooked turkey fat can be extremely dangerous to birds so should not be put outside. This is because it doesn’t set and can cling to birds’ feathers. Click here for more details – “Don’t kill birds with kindness”



I saw this male Sparrowhawk on Thursday 20th Oct in New Cut. I was cutting a hedge and it perched upon a hedge next to me. It stayed put for about 10 minutes enough time for me to get lots of pictures. Unfortunately I only had my phone camera on me.

Richard summers
(Summers garden services)

I wonder if it could be the same bird that took a Goldfinch in our garden in Church Lane the other day?


Sorry for poor quality photo taken through kitchen window.


Starling stuck!

A starling stuck head first in a fat ball feeder! I managed to get it out o/k and it flew off making a churring noise.

Ron in Greenacres

We’ve never seen that happen before, presumably because the lid’s missing /broken it managed to get in through the top. A warning to others maybe!  Happy ending is nice 🙂

Ralph — Dave

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