The most obvious presence is the Robin. Almost every 10 yards you wander from one robins smallholding to another. Both male and females sing to defend their patch during the winter months, subsequently there is a continuous orchestra of song throughout the gardens.
Unusually this year, the second most obvious, that is noisy presence around the gardens are large groups of chatty Fieldfares. Last year we were lucky to see the odd one, this year they are present in large numbers. These birds are very fickle about where they go, so this does not mean there will be so many next year.
Fieldfares are the largest members of the thrush family and tend to congregate in fairly large social groups Thrushes and Mistle Thrushes less so. They are the colourful members of the thrush family with creamy speckled undersides and auburn red back and shoulders.
At Ness there is an abundance of Rowan trees and groups of them are feeding very noisily on the crops of berries.
Starting in January the project will commence regular surveys of birds seen or heard in the gardens so hopefully we will add to our species list as the months go by.
A Hen Harrier was spotted being mobbed by two crows this week. Crows cannot stand anyone bigger than themselves so make quite a fuss when something wanders into sight. We might never notice the larger birds presence without the agitation of the crows.
'Mammal-cam' mini-blitzOver Christmas we will be setting up our latest bit of kit acquired by the project. Mammals are notoriously difficult to observe and photograph in daylight never mind at dusk and during the night when most of them are active.
For this reason we have obtained an infra-red motion activated camera to set up at different positions around the Wilder-Ness areas to monitor mammal activity over the Christmas period. Throughout the year it will be placed in selected mammal hot spots in the gardens to enable us to create a proper record as to what we have living with us.
With such an interesting variety of habitat within the gardens the recorded variety of mammals may surprise us.