Since writing last a lot of water has run under the bridge in more senses than one. Although it hasn't rained today (5th Jan) our garden is flooded in places. Our daffodils are not yet in flower in the garden but odd gardens in the village have had flowering daffodils for a couple of weeks or so. On sunnier days over Christmas we had bees in the garden and Lynda's sister in Bedford had a bright yellow Brimstone Butterfly in her garden.

At the moment we have so many birds in the garden that we are having to fill up the feeders every day. We are putting it down to what we now put in the feeders... for the past couple of years we only put out Ivel Valley Super Suet Balls and just recently have been filing feeders with Ivel Valley Apple Bird Pellets. I'm not exaggerating when I say we have Blue and Great Tits lining up waiting to get on the feeders and Coal Tits seen daily where previously only now and then.

I didn't have my camera handy the other day when 7 Long a Tailed Tits were hanging on the one feeder! Also Parrishes 5 a day seed mixture is also a favourite as it also has mealworms mixed in it, good for seed eaters and insect eaters alike, we are on our 3rd tub of pellets in as many weeks, if you are in G & M you should try a tub and see how you get on...and please let me know your results.

Chinese Water Deer

Chinese Water Deer on the Ivel Valley farm

Over the past few weeks while coming home from concerts in the dark Lynda and I have had very close views of Chinese Water Deer at Church End when they have crossed the road in front of us. Ann Adams had two cross in front of her at the bottom of Plummers Lane and Chris Watts saw another one on Hammer Hill, I also saw another near the lake on the farm. It seems that they are spreading out from the Woburn area as Muntjac did years previous. The Chinese Water Deer are slightly bigger with longer legs and are a lighter colour. They have a 'Teddy Bear' like head and face with big ears and no antlers. But the males have large down facing tusks. You definitely wouldn't want to hit when speeding in your car.

There are lots of small birds in flocks seen on the farm at the moment. Mostly Finches that include Linnet, Goldfinches, Chaffinches, Yellow Hammers, Skylark and Meadow Pipits. Good numbers of Lapwing mixed in with the Starlings. On the lake Great Crested Grebes, a Tufted Duck, Coot and we had a Dunlin for a couple of days. I regularly see a Kingfisher on the stream.

Written by Dave Parsons, Wildlife Photographer for Ivel Valley