Sun 23rd Dec 2012

Well I’ve been very busy since my last blog post. It’s a hectic time in the run up to Christmas with all the festive events. I did Dunster By Candlelight again this year which went well. Thank you to those of you who came over to say hello.

The bit of frustrating news I have for you is that the BBC aren’t showing the film of me in Alaska with the bears as planned. It was supposed to have gone out over Christmas but I had a phone call this week to tell me it has been reschedules for mid February. I’ll let you know the date as soon as they tell me. Sorry to disappoint some of you folks as I know lots of people were looking forward to it.

I’ve just been up to Scotland for a short break with Julie and some friends. We do love it up there and are looking forward to doing the Aigas weekend again in April with sponsors Swarovski Optik, staying as guests of Sir John and Lady Lucy Lister-Kaye. I’ll tell you more nearer the time.

What was so noticeable up in Scotland this time was the lack of garden birds. Over the five days I only saw a single robin. They were plenty of rooks, jackdaws and hawks but not the little birds. It was most strange. Having said that, I’ve had lots of people here at home telling me there have been few garden birds about.

It’s not looking too bad in our back garden. All the greenfinches disappeared over the summer but they are back now and there are plenty of marsh tits, coal tits and siskins about. Birds will move around but it’s good to see them all again.

It’s at this time of year that I start feeding the birds. Some people feed them all year round but I do it when they need it most and there’s not so much natural food around. I make sure I clean out the feeders really well and don’t let old food build up as viruses can spread quickly that way and kill a lot of birds.

Now is the time to clean out your bird boxes as well. This gives the birds a fresh start when they begin nest building. Old nesting material can also harbour diseases and these can be fatal to the chicks.

One bit of news I must tell you is that there’s an owl been roosting in the lean-to at the back of my old badger hide. I’ve seen pellets on the ground but I can’t tell what sort of owl they are from. So, I’m going to set up a night camera to capture the owl on film. I do hope it’s a barn owl although I think it’s more likely to be a tawny owl.

There’s something strange happened to the pond down on our land. The surface has turned all opal coloured. It happened this time last year as well. There used to be two smaller ponds where our large one is now, dug a long time ago I should think, and someone told me they used to line ponds with clay. In fact we found some of this when we were digging. The opal colour is something to do with this clay I believe but I don’t know why this surface colouring  only appears at this time of year.

Things have quietened down up on Exmoor now that the rut is over, although someone did tell me they heard a stag roaring a fortnight ago. There must have been a hind come into late season.

The stags come back together now and recently I saw eighteen stag together in a herd. It was a lovely thing to see.

Well, that another year nearly done. Thank you to all the children and young people who have sent me photos and DVD’s over the year. I’m sorry I haven’t been able to reply to all of you in person but I get sent so much stuff it’s just impossible. I do appreciate everything I receive.

Now I must wish you all a Very Happy Christmas and a Wonderful New Year. God bless and see you in 2013.