Saturday, 28 February 2015

Putting Up Bird Boxes

A couple of days ago my dad and I put up bird boxes for all kinds of garden birds: Great tits, blue tits and robins. They were made by our friend, he is really good at making them. He crafted us about 10 beautifully made bird boxes!!  My dad put them up in all kinds of different trees and made sure that they were high in them because the cat could eat the birds!

Here is an video of my dad putting up a bird box!!

We have 3 different types of bird boxes. Each one is designed for a different species - blue tits, great tits,sparrows  and  robins. There are 2 main types of bird boxes, the open fronted bird boxes which are for robins and the hole fronted boxes which  are for the tits. The size of the holes differ - 28mm  for the great tits and the size of the blue tit holes are a little smaller at 25mm.  WHY do we have so many bird boxes???  We want to have lots of birds in our garden so that they can prey upon the caterpillars that eat our plants and vegetables. If you want to learn how to make these bird boxes then click  here.

When we were putting the bird boxes up, our neighbour called us over to look at her new birds that some one gave to her. As soon as I saw them I recognized them to be some kind of partridge and I was right :), they are called grey partridges. They are stunning! Their necks are orange-brown and they have grey feathers on their body. Here is an picture of these breathtaking birds.

Grey partridges - Perdix perdix

Monday, 23 February 2015

Pond life in the winter- terrapins and fish

My Pond Turtle-  Emys orbicularis
What do turtles do in the winter? Turtles will hibernate on land, they will dig into the soil under the frost line, and sometimes will go in very deep leaf litter. They can also hibernate in the water. Turtles breathe with their lungs, at least from spring to late autumn. They need very little oxygen when they are hibernating and if they hibernate in the water they can get it from there.  In winter their metabolism will slow right down to the bare minimum needed for life, their heart will slowly stop beating and they will breathe very slowly.  If you watch them, you will notice that they breathe very quickly in the summer and then very slowly when it's winter. Food is no problem when hibernating  for the turtle, because they will hunt for a couple of days before winter until they can't eat anymore! - here is an video of my pond turtle eating bread!

Common carp- Cyprinus carpio

What do our fish do in the winter?  Common carp hibernate under mud in the ponds .We dug our pond deep in the ground so that the carp could over winter there. Apparently the carp like to go to deeper waters because it's warmer then the shallow waters at winter! Carp can survive very cold winters. We know that for sure because here in Bulgaria there are some very cold winters and they still live. Last year we had carp, perch and roach in our pond but after the winter ended there were only carp left. I could see loads of dead perch and roaches when the ice had melted but not one single carp - they had all lived!

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Pond Life In The Winter- Frogs and Grass snakes

I wanted to know about what happens to all of the nature from our pond in winter. For example where they hibernate, how do they survive and lots more. So i'm going to  make a blog series and share what I learn.

Here is a video of a  frog in my pond croaking

What do frogs do in the winter?- Common frogs will normally hibernate in water for example rivers,streams,springs and ditches. However some will hibernate on land, buried in soil or in small caves and logs. In Finland Common frogs have even been found hibernating in dens of adders!!!! (Vipera berus). Another species of European frog that usually hibernates on land (Rana lessonae), the pool frog, can sometimes move between  hibernation periods in the winter. The marsh frog, (Rana riaibunda) the biggest and most aquatic frog, mainly hibernates under water in ponds but sometimes leaves the ponds that they have been in for years and moves to a river to hibernate. Rarely marsh frog babies  will spend the winter on land. Me and my dad were wondering how do these frogs survive in the cold winter? Antifreeze! Basically frogs have lots of sugars in there organs that prevents them from freezing, they will stop breathing and the heart will not beat until it gets warmer again  

What do Grass snakes do in the winter?-   The grass snakes hibernate from October to April in Composts or holes in the ground. They normally will hibernate alone but sometimes they can hibernate together. They will stay in hibernation until it gets warmer.

Next week I'm going to publish a blog about terrapins and fish in our pond! Stay tuned for my new post and learn some amazing facts!!