Cheshire Wildlife Group

  "For those who enjoy the nature around us"

Waterlily Alba Flower Swans with Sygnets Badger by sett- by Sam Goff


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My Blog

An interesting monthly update about local wildlife and issues affecting it, from the perspective of the Website Author. Relevant photography will normally be included too.


...23/4/2011, by Alex

Have you noticed the new look of my blog? Nothing much has changed to be honest! I now have a newer version of Microsoft Frontpage so I should improve the slightly old-school design of the site over time...

Well, I hope you've donned the walking boots and got out in the glorious weather we've had for a while. It's not going to be here for much longer, hopefully we'll have a dry, warm and long summer because I'll be off school for 10 weeks so I'll be able to get my camera full of pictures and I will have plenty of time to do lots of things I've not had the time to do like stalking badger setts and go on late-night walks to spot and hopefully photograph badgers, foxes and owls etc. But for now, I've been out on plenty of runs, walks and bike rides. Last month, at 7pm, I was on a run near Frodsham (training for the Sandstone Run 10K trail run which I did on the 10/4 and came a reasonable 78 out of 224 along a section of Cheshire's Sandstone Trail). I saw a private but overgrown mixed-species woodland going up a hill side. I noticed some big rocks at the top of the hill, and as a keen rock climber, I ran through the brambles and nettles (ouch!) and reached the top to find the rocks were mossy and not good for climbing. Suddenly, I heard footsteps and rustling. It was like a horror movie- all alone in a dark forest! A large orange tail stuck up from the brambles. A large fox, probably male, stopped about 5 metres away and stared at me. I froze still- no camera on me. It then ran off up the hill, stopping every few metres to look at me and then carrying on. With a smile on my face as it was my first close encounter with a fox- I carried on running. This is what I want to do in Summer, with my camera on standby.

Orange Tip Butterfly, by Alex StaniforthPurple Spring Flower, by Alex StaniforthForget Me Nots, by Alex Staniforth

What else have I been doing? Well I've been doing quite a bit of photography, and this has been hampered by a broken lens which shall be fixed eventually. I've also been hugely involved with the Save Our Forests Campaign. The 17th of February (a date I shall always remember) was a BRILLIANT day because it was announced that our forests would 'basically', be saved from being sold off! This is what we (the huge public opposition against the sell-off' were aiming for. We well and truly WON! David Cameron and his tory-chums were well and truly outnumbered, and the plans were so ridiculous that some of his own party rebelled. I've just published a large report about it- with an update on what happened, why we won, what I did to help and what's happening next with pics etc. There's also an article which I wrote about what my local Forestry Commission forest which was endangered, meant to me, along with information about the Save Delamere Forest group which I was involved campaigning with. Anyway, I remember cycling up to the top of the Old Pale hill monument, the highest point for many miles round which looks over the beautiful horizon of Delamere and it's many sparkling meres and mosses. With broken, sunny skies around me, and all alone as the sun setted- I punched the air and said 'Yes'. Months of anguish (I'm an environmentalist so the plans really got me in a twist, I probably did at least 40-50 hours of campaigning work- which is listed in more detail in the article.


Some slightly more exciting news! I've got a couple of Blue Tit's who've moved into the property for lease in my dense garden Laurel Hedge! After 3 years of having my box, and it's 50 mini nestbox camera inside on a tree with no birds using it, I decided to clean it out and put it in the hedge in January, where I thought the denser, more shaded and more camouflaged surroundings would increase it's price at the estate agents. After wiring my camera up to the TV in my bedroom, I checked it 2 weeks ago. There's a nest! I didn't see the removal vans! It's been really interesting, the nest has been progressing every day. I have seen a couple of Blue Tits in my garden (well, there's loads of them!) and I've seen two going in there or hanging around it for a while. I do occasionally see one nip in with a twig or piece of moss in it's beak. The birds have been bringing more and more leaves, hair, dead moss etc. A few feathers have accumulated. Earlier on today, after checking no birds were watching TV inside, I superglued the box to the branch, as sadly my road is heavily populated with young children, and my old birdbox last year ended up appearing on next door's fence. I don't really want my Blue Tit's coming back to find their home gone. It was slightly annoying how the tube of glue split all over my hands but anyway: Job done. I've checked the camera about twice a day and watched it slowly build up. The female, who looks rather plump, has been roosting in the box overnight for a couple of days which is a good sign. I've done an awful lot to protect the box so hopefully the couple will safely raise lots of healthy chicks to adulthood. When I first saw a bird go in the box- I ran downstairs saying 'We have a mouse in the birdbox!'. I got a lot of confused looks. It was in fact just the Blue Tit roosting- they do look very large on the mini-cam!

So- check out this page and you can see the pictures, videos and factual updates about the stages in the Blue Tit's pregnancy, and hopefully, you will soon be able to see the eggs, the hatching and the chicks literally 'flying the nest'! I WILL keep you all updated! Visit the How To Help page for info on how to help newborn chicks and nesting birds. Please, please, please don't trim your hedges now- it's illegal!

 Bye for now....


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All my content is available for personal or educational purposes but all content, photography and media belongs to Cheshire Wildlife Group or has been attained with permission. To reproduce or publish any of my photographic or video content please contact me first. 

Established by Alex Staniforth February 2009