Thursday, 18 May 2023

Photographing Red Squirrels

Today, Rosie and I went across to Peak Wildlife Park to photograph Red Squirrels.  The weather and lighting were good and the sun was shining.

These little beasties do not want to be seen for most of the time, but they will come out for food - which is strictly provided by their keeper (do not feed the squirrels).  A good eye and a good lens can spot a squirrel at distance and not be too disturbing.
With a little quiet and a lot of patience, the rewards are there.  This one was watching us from the edge of its cover to see what we were up to.
A dash across open ground to s different tree required a pause to check out the area.  "Gotcha!"
Safe in a different tree, but still keeping an eye out for danger.  I was pleased with this shot.

The Red Squirrels in the walk through compound are all spare males that are not needed in  the breeding program.  It is the only place locally that we can see these splendid creatures.

The nearest wild colony is at Formby on the Lancashire coast.  Those squirrels are more of a chestnut brown colour.

Wednesday, 3 May 2023

Badger Attack

 About 4am I heard something disturbing the gravel on the garden path, followed by a chomping sound.  Curious to discover what was happening, I got out of bed and went down to the conservatory and switched on the outside lights.  A grey badger was chomping away at our tulip bulbs.  I opened the door and stepped outside.  The culprit was gone in  the bat of an eyelid.

The badger had been sitting on the top step and digging up the tulip bulbs from the pot.

Fortunately, the pot was loaded with 3 varieties of tulips at different depths.  The about 10 plants were damaged and 8 bulbs were consumed.  I would have expected each bulb to produce 2 offshoot but if each bulb produced 2 offshoot bulbs, then that is a potential loss of 24 plants for next year.

Not much to salvage here, but at least there is a happy badger bringing up its new offspring somewhere out there.

The pot will now be moved from the steps and refreshed in the hope that it will be too tall for the badger to scavenge from when it is on flat ground.

Wednesday, 29 March 2023

Beavers at Trentham Lake

The Beaver fences have been installed at Trentham Lake and the Beavers were released yesterday.

The dam end of the lake is covered by a large steel slotted grid set at an angle.

At the access points near to the river Trent there are double gates allowing passage around the dam, but keeping the Beavers inside the lake area.

The jetty on the big island is where the beavers were disembarked from their arrival journey.  Food and shelter were on hand and the staff report that the Beavers have already explored the perimeters of the Lake.

The island is strewn with log piles and there was food left to start them off in their new home.  They should be constructing a lodge in due course.

Of course, going into the gardens and walking around the lake early in the morning, we did not expect to see the new arrivals, and the walk lived up to our expectations.

Most of the locals were in an acute state of rest at this time of day.

Wednesday, 8 March 2023

Garden Birds

The Dunnocks are back in the garden and in  slightly larger numbers than last winter.  I counted 4 today.  These little ground feeders are doing well around the bird feeders.
The Goldfinches always take advantage of the seeds in winter and they come in ever increasing numbers.  With the advent of another run of cold weather they are monopolising the feeders and queueing in the nearby trees and bushes for a place at the feed.
This Goldfinch is is on lookout to spot an empty feeder perch.

The feeders are running down very swiftly at present, mostly by visiting Grey Squirrels.  We are seeing 2 pairs of Bullfinches regularly and occasionally being visited by a Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Friday, 20 January 2023

Walking At Trentham

 After a day of snow and ice, the weather is settling and the snow is melting. A good day to have a walk.

The air was clear and the sky blue.  The fairies in Trentham Italian Gardens were glistening in the sunlight.

There was still snow on the ground, though we did need to be wrapped up in winter coats to avoid the cold air which was around 4 degrees.

 The Winter sun was casting long shadows and the gardens were not at their best at this time of year, though the crew has kept them in pristine condition.

I was surprised that the fountains were running and the water was rippling in the sunlight.  parts of the lake were still frozen enough for birds to walk in the surface.

The River Trent, from which Trentham gets its name, is running clear and fresh this morning.  Bird song is always present in these gardens in some form and today it was the robins and crows that were the most verbal contributors to the singing.

Wednesday, 18 January 2023

Winter cometh

 Today, we woke up with a fresh snowfall and a crisp morning.

The cold weather has meant more birds using the feeders.
Sparrows, Goldfinches,Long tailed tits, Great spotter woodpecker, Grey squirrel!

Saturday, 31 December 2022

X-Plane 12 is now live

 The new X-Plane 12 flight simulator is now open and available for public access.  It is essentially a new simulation which dovetails well with the X-Plane 11 scenery.

The new weather engine is much more realistic and the particle modeling for clouds is amazing.  Also, the new trees are able to sway in the breeze.

The reflection of trees in still water across the landscape is  very convincing.  This scenery is an add-on orthographic landscape that replaced the default scenery that comes with the simulator.

Here, I am flying a Dart Kitten over Old Warden Aerodrome, which is a convincing model of the real thing.

The water modeling is also a significant step forward.  Lake surfaces are no longer flat and the water also has depth when seen from above.

After the issues with the beta testing, it is nice to use the sim which is now free of major issues.  I can now consider adapting all of my scenery to fit in with the X-Plane 12 model, only 200 airport models to adjust - should have that sorted by next Christmas!