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    Birds

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    Derek
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    Birds

    Post by Derek on Fri Oct 07 2016, 16:37

    Hi,
    Been watching the garden carefully the last few days and was rewarded by a Sibe this am....a Yellow-browed Warbler...a sprite that has come all the way from Siberia.

    We had one in 2015 prior to that one in 2009...we have been here 50 years.
    They appear to be getting more common.

    regards
    Derek
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    chris c
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    Re: Birds

    Post by chris c on Fri Oct 07 2016, 19:49

    Oh bless! Yes the last few years there have been a few dozen spotted along the east coast each autumn. I saw none of them. But I DID sneak up on a Stone Curlew earlier in the year. A track over the heath goes up to the field behind the stone curlew field at Minsmere, and there they were just a few metres away. Never seen them from the "official" viewpoint but I have heard them in the distance.

    Bugger all Willow Warblers and not many Nightingales this year, but several Great White Egrets and Spoonbills. At one time there were three Ospreys on the estuary which I missed, but I saw last year's one twice.
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    Jan1
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    Re: Birds

    Post by Jan1 on Sun Oct 09 2016, 13:21

    Unfortunately, I don't think we have any Yellow Brown Warblers near us ... but we do have a few noisy magpies!

    Fellow blogger Phil Slade has a great article about these birds and others he saw ...

    Have a look here
    http://anotherbirdblog.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/ybw-and-linnets.html

    All the best Jan
    flower
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    chris c
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    Re: Birds

    Post by chris c on Sun Oct 09 2016, 20:39

    Seems to be a combination of an increasing population and a change in migration routes bringing them here.
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    graham64
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    Re: Birds

    Post by graham64 on Sun Oct 09 2016, 22:01

    I had two suicidal birds attempting to fly through my windows  Shocked I now have a large imprint of a woodpigeon on one window and a thrush on another, they both survived though I didn't see the woodpigeon but the thrush was sat on the patio and flew off when I opened the door to check it out  Very Happy


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    Re: Birds

    Post by Jan1 on Mon Oct 10 2016, 23:42

    It's very nasty when birds do that ... glad they survived.

    One of our neighbours has cut down a lot of his trees, I'm hoping that not too many birds used them because their branch perches have dis-appeared!

    I'm keeping my eyes open for our friendly robin that seems to visit from time to time, although I have heard that they're not always too friendly to other birds ?

    All the best Jan
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    Re: Birds

    Post by Jan1 on Tue Oct 11 2016, 11:20

    Talking about birds - you may like this

    Gold Finches & House Finches in the Bird Bath


    All the best Jan
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    chris c
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    Re: Birds

    Post by chris c on Tue Oct 11 2016, 21:31

    Once I was in the shower and there was a huge bang from the kitchen. Thinking the gas boiler had exploded I ran in dripping wet and found a sodding pigeon had come into the house and tried to fly out through the window, knocking down a bunch of pots and pans. I hear bangs and thumps on the outside of the window from time to time, probably the Sparrowhawk scaring things into a panic. Usually they seem to recover, or get eaten, only occasionally do I find a corpse or a stunned bird.

    It's all gone very quiet now, seldom see the remaining robin or blackbird. I saw my first flock of Golden Plovers, about 50 or 60 over the farmland, circling as they do before plunging to ground, but I was on a narrow road and couldn't stop.

    I'm surrounded by Yellow Browed Warblers but still haven't seen one.
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    Re: Birds

    Post by graham64 on Tue Oct 11 2016, 22:03

    When those big fat woodpigeons hit the window you certainly know about, some do survive like the last one but I too have had a few dead ones to dispose of


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    Re: Birds

    Post by graham64 on Tue Oct 11 2016, 22:14

    @Jan1 wrote:It's very nasty when birds do that ... glad they survived.

    One of our neighbours has cut down a lot of his trees, I'm hoping that not too many birds used them because their branch perches have dis-appeared!

    I'm keeping my eyes open for our friendly robin that seems to visit from time to time, although I have heard that they're not always too friendly to other birds ?

    All the best Jan

    I've had a Robin around for the last few days I saw a pair earlier this year they were nesting in the hedgerow across the road never saw the chicks though.


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    Derek
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    Re: Birds

    Post by Derek on Wed Oct 12 2016, 10:16

    @Jan1 wrote:
    Talking about birds - you may like this

    Gold Finches & House Finches in the Bird Bath


    All the best Jan

    Hi Jan,
    We have loads of Goldfinches coming to the sunflower heart feeders as well as two Nuthatches etc. Goldfinches in numbers are thoroughly disagreeable birds. Smile
    regards
    Derek
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    chris c
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    Re: Birds

    Post by chris c on Thu Oct 13 2016, 20:55

    I bought a feeder and niger seed for the Goldfinches but they weren't interested, much preferred the sunflower hearts. I leave the teasel seed heads with no luck but have seen them on lemon balm, we get them in spring and summer but they usually desert me for the farmland, and a friend's garden the other end of the road.

    I had to stop putting out seed last year because of the rats, but I do throw out mealworms for the robin and blackbird, and sultanas for the latter. Currently I'm down to one of each, the blackbird's head has finally gone black along with the rest of him. Maybe the sparrowhawks got the rest of them, we had a good breeding season with lots of young earlier.

    A slight build-up of starlings so I should wander out at dusk and see if I can spot any murmurations, there are a few reedbeds where they tend to collect but they move around a lot from one year to the next, and during the winter.
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    chris c
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    Re: Birds

    Post by chris c on Sat Oct 15 2016, 22:51

    Yesterday I walked up the lane across the fields but there was little sign of autumn colours, except for a maple in a garden, all the trees and hedges are resolutely green though there were some scarlet rose hips and some bryony berries.

    Friends have a seat at the top of their garden, looking out at the view, and told my mother and me we could use it. I sat there for a while but didn't see much, a few herring and black headed gulls and pigeons, a couple of distant buzzards, a small flock of starlings and about 30 redwings.

    Then I heard what I hoped was a YBW, flit through their garden and into a copse the other side of the road, and vanished. Never saw it. Actually I'm pretty sure it was a coal tit with a speech impediment, I saw and heard them in the garden later. Oh well.

    They told me the redwings had turned up just over a week ago. Also they'd had goldcrests in the garden earlier in the year. They have some fine conifers and a bank of ivy so good habitat, but a way from anywhere I usually find them so probably they had a good breeding season last year and the mild winter led them to spread.

    On the way back up the lane I sat on the seat again and this time the redwings were accompanied by about the same number of fieldfares. Also there were two windblown swallows.

    Today I went for a drive around and a couple of short walks. Only a few trees changing colour and a few wintery flocks of pied wagtails and finches.
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    Derek
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    Re: Birds

    Post by Derek on Sun Oct 16 2016, 14:07

    Hi Chris,
    On my walk this am there was a Dipper singing from the 'river' near our house and a Raven flew over calling. Still a few Goldcrests about but the feeders are very active atm. Lot of Cole Tits this year. 2 Nuthatches coming to feeders plus lot of Goldfinches and Tree Sparrows plus usual suspects.
    Pink footed Goose have been passing overhead through the last month but not many now they all must be in Graham's area. All the Swallows appear to gone.
    Derek
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    chris c
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    Re: Birds

    Post by chris c on Wed Oct 19 2016, 21:11

    Oh yes I remember Dippers from Up North, and there was one in the stream behind the house in Somerset. Not found this far east - but Ravens were spotted last spring and I'm pretty sure I saw one fly over the back field, but it was quick and the bins were in my car.

    Monday I went to a village in Norfolk called Saham Toney to meet my cousin. We had a pub lunch (me a bowl of carrot and coriander soup and a slice of crusty bread with lashings of butter, which made my guts grumble and I blew off a bit but no worse) then walked round the village looking for a hidden mere.

    Couldn't see it anywhere, then when we got back we discovered it was actually just behind the pub (very well hidden). Looked a likely spot for Mandarin if you could see in.

    On the way there I saw a huge flock of rooks wheeling as if going to roost but in the middle of the day near Great Buckenham. I remembered about a huge rook roost but that turned out to be at Buckenham quite a few miles away. So I guess their GPS wasn't working properly.

    Bean Geese and White Fronts are arriving now, and there was a Great Grey Shrike (poor name, should be a Shining Silver Shrike) and a Red Backed Shrike at the same location, but I missed them both.

    Naff all in the garden, but the good news is no rats, and no mole.
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    Derek
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    Re: Birds

    Post by Derek on Fri Oct 21 2016, 19:23

    Had poor view of an adult moulted American Golden Plover a few days ago but I could not get a full suite of characters to convince a records panel. It was in a big flock of Goldies. Tried on two more days but with the tides dropping the Goldie flock were not roosting in the same place!
    The Svalbard race of Barnacle Geese are on the Solway in numbers now, but they should not get shot since they are not on the quarry list like other  geese.

    A Green Sandpiper flew south down the river valley through our hamlet this pm calling. First one through this year.  They were common birds at Lincs sewage farms and Bardney beet ponds in my youth c.60 years ago. It was not exceptional to get counts of 20 birds.
    D.


    Last edited by Derek on Mon Oct 24 2016, 11:37; edited 1 time in total
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    chris c
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    Re: Birds

    Post by chris c on Fri Oct 21 2016, 21:58

    Did you see your warbler again? Here they only seem to stay for a day or two at most, or maybe hours or even minutes, before moving on. Not sure if they go back over the North Sea or head south over the Channel.

    We have Green Sandpipers pass through in fair quantities most years, I used to see them in Sussex too. Also Wood Sandpipers in smaller quantities but they seem to have moved on now.

    My rarest ever bird was a Marsh Sandpiper that turned up in Kent for a few years back in the eighties. Much like the Yellow Browed Warblers they are supposed to fly north-south through Eastern Europe and Western Russia but this one ended up going up and down the North Sea for a few years before presumably dying. This year there was one in Lincolnshire, last year Norfolk.

    There's a Dipper further inland! Not usual this far east, have they had a good breeding season? It's been reported as a Black Bellied Dipper.

    Today there were dozens of Curlews on a field just inland from the estuary (the tide was high), maybe 50 or 60, I was in traffic and couldn't stop to count them. I walked on the beach and saw a few Turnstones on the pier rather than under it, their usual haunt when the tide is down. A few Meadow Pipits and a bunch of Starlings which are building up a roost in Minsmere this year. There could have been Caspian and Yellow Legged Gulls among the others but I couldn't spot any. I was going on to see if the Shrikes were still around but it bucketed down just after I got back to the car, and I had some liver and bacon and mushrooms and purple sprouting broccoli demanding my attention so turned for home.
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    Derek
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    Re: Birds

    Post by Derek on Mon Oct 24 2016, 11:51

    Hi Chris, the YBW and chiffchaffs were only one day birds and I waited in vain for hours looking through the patio window the next day.

    I've not seen Marsh Sandpiper in the UK but seen them abroad and actually found one on the North Island of N.Z. where it is a rarity, but that was 25 years ago. The rarest bird I've found in Cumbria was a Black-winged Pratincole, some years ago now, they are very odd waders.

    We saw a very late Hobby yesterday whilst birding on the Solway yesterday, so late I found it difficult to believe it, but it is not unprecidented.

    I used to be very active years ago but less so of late due to health issues, it is great to be out even if there are no scarce or rare birds.
    We enjoy our garden birds more than ever we have.
    regards
    D.

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    Re: Birds

    Post by chris c on Mon Oct 24 2016, 21:40

    Overwintering Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps are quite regular now this far south. Once I saw a late House Martin on November 5th - but when it flew on I realised it was an extremely late Swift! In recent years there have been overwintering Swallows and Whitethroats down in Devon, so your Hobby is plausible. Still loads of late dragonflies.

    Today I went on a Shrike hunt. People told me the Great Grey moved on yesterday, I suspect they were right as the sun came out from under the clouds as I returned to the car, looking at every tree, and it would have been gleaming if it was still there. May have moved on to another common, they overwinter from time to time. A couple of years back there was one on a similar but different common for most of the winter.

    A couple of guys with a scope thought they might have seen the Red-Backed Shrike in the far distance but I couldn't see it. I remember when they used to breed in Surrey and the New Forest, and I saw one of the last here back around 1984. They pass through on migration in small numbers.

    I was told there were still a couple of Stone Curlews around which is pretty late but I didn't see them either. A few Stonechats and plenty of Dartford Warblers which were eluding me in spring.

    I think of quantity rather than quality this time of year, perhaps tomorrow I'll walk one of the estuaries. A couple of years back there were engineers working at Minsmere and hordes of stuff got displaced onto the estuaries to the north and south, but even without that there are hundreds of Black-Tailed Godwit, Avocets, Redshanks, Curlews, Dunlin etc. and smaller numbers of other stuff. I love when they fly up and flash silver and dark in the sun.
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    Re: Birds

    Post by chris c on Wed Oct 26 2016, 21:12

    Well I walked part of the estuary.

    "Have you seen any Avocets? " a couple asked - they hadn't either, quite surprising. No Marsh Harriers and only one Little Egret, joined later by a second one. No Oystercatchers either, or Bearded Tits. I heard but didn't see a Cetti's Warbler and a Water Rail, par for the course.

    On the other hand, Redshanks were on special offer along with loads of Curlews and about a hundred Lapwing on the mud, plus plenty more on fields at the back, along with about four Brent Geese. Quite a few Teal but not many Wigeon, Shelduck were the commonest and four went past in convoy like little vacuum cleaners making a delightful slavering noise. Not as many Black Tailed Godwit as expected either.

    A paltry flock of about six Avocets finally made an appearance, and as I walked back to the car a few dozen had appeared, probably from elsewhere (the estuary is HUGE) but nothing like the hundred(s) there might have been. Not many Dunlin either but again they may have been further downstream, the tide was out.

    Hordes of Black-Headed, Herring, Lesser Black Backed Gulls and some Great Blackbacks.

    All in all disappointing, especially compared with a couple of years back when they had engineers working at Minsmere which displaced loads of stuff onto the estuaries to the north and south. I suspect the mild weather may have something to do with it, the wintering flocks haven't built up yet.

    There was a small deer which may have been a Muntjac (very common here) but I think it was a Chinese Water Deer, much rarer.
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    Re: Birds

    Post by chris c on Fri Oct 28 2016, 22:48

    I stopped in the hide to some marshes/watermeadows which are usually flooded in winter for the ducks and geese, but due to the lack of rain they were still mostly dry. There were a load of Greylags, our commonest goose, but feral, and a few Canadas, ditto. Allegedly there were Whitefronts but too far off to see properly and I couldn't be arsed to walk round, the wind was dire. A bunch of Teal but again very few Wigeon, and a few Gadwall in the distance. A couple of Snipe surprisingly stationary among a flock of parked Lapwings, I'm pretty sure a Green Sandpiper flew down and immediately vanished behind a bank, very black and white.

    Just as I was thinking of leaving for a walk on the beach, there was a magnificent trumpeting and honking, and a flock of about 150 Barnacle Geese came down from the north, circled around, flew back north, and then returned to land right in front of the hide, a superb spectacle. There are feral ones around these parts but I was convinced this sort of quantity must be wild.

    Not so according to someone I met on the beach today, there are as many as 200 feral ones now. I'd gone looking for a Lapland Bunting. He hadn't seen it but had seen a couple of Shorelarks, and the Twite flock has built up to 50 - 60. I saw none of them, maybe I didn't walk far enough, but the light was spectacular and I sat on the shingle bank looking out to sea for a while. Some other people had failed to see anything except some Skylarks, Meadow Pipits and Teal, which was pretty much my lot also.

    HOWEVER yesterday I also saw a Hobby from the back window. I saw a few over the reedbeds in spring and one over a common in summer. They are well spread out in small numbers over the farmland but I'd missed them all, and most years I see one or a pair, or a family party, from the house - until then none this year. Probably the dragonflies are keeping them fed.

    Where we used to live they were likewise distributed in small numbers over the farmland. A game keeper told me they had bred in an old crow's nest in a tree next to the path I walked from time to time and I completely missed them. In my defence I was usually looking in the opposite direction for the Buzzards which had just moved in, but they can be elusive, I often spot them when Swallows and House Martins are panicking high up. Sometimes it's a Sparrowhawk but often a Hobby.

    Some setaside fields where we used to live would erupt with Summer Chafers around the end of June, and the Hobbies would arrive spot on nine pm and fly around until dusk catching the chafers and eating them on the wing. There were as many as eight Hobbies and five Kestrels. Not sure I don't prefer watching them to Peregrines!
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    Re: Birds

    Post by Jan1 on Fri Oct 28 2016, 23:48

    Hi Chris ...I've been enjoying reading the conversations you and Derek have about birds.
    Your latest one I didn't have a clue what a hobby was - thank goodness for the RSPB and Wikipedia


    About the size of a kestrel with long pointed wings, reminiscent of a giant swift. It has a dashing flight and will chase large insects and small birds like swallows and martins. Prey is often caught in its talons and transferred to its beak in flight. Can accelerate rapidly in flight and is capable of high-speed aerial manoeuvres.

    http://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/bird-and-wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/h/hobby/

    All the best Jan
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    Re: Birds

    Post by chris c on Sun Oct 30 2016, 19:34

    That be the one! You might see them in the New Forest in spring or summer, when I was young that and some of the western Surrey commons were the only places I spotted them. They're much commoner and more widespread now, even as far north as Derek.

    Another unimpressive day walking on the beach at Sizewell. There are Peregrines on one of the nuclear power stations but I've never seen them. They are also on Bungay church and I've probably seen that one over the farmland and once from my back window. I've seen them before as winter visitors to the estuaries, then they bred on Norwich cathedral and the Orwell Bridge at Ipswich and are now gradually spreading. Plenty of village church towers for them.

    Plenty of Cormorants out to sea with all the gulls. About half a dozen Pied Wagtails on the beach but it was dull and misty and too draughty to walk on to the bit not plagued by dog walkers where rarities might have been hiding.
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    Re: Birds

    Post by chris c on Tue Nov 01 2016, 22:09

    Now yesterday was a brilliant day!

    Previously I went to the Blyth Estuary at Blythburgh and walked down to the hide.

    This time I went to the Alde Estuary which starts at Snape and runs almost to Aldeburgh, then instead of running out to sea the river turns south behind a huge shingle spit - Orford Ness - and finally makes it into the sea at Shingle Street. I walked the bit from Iken Cliff.

    The water was mirror smooth and the tide just going out. There were hundreds of Redshank and Curlew and the sound of their calls was very evocative. A Marsh Harrier put up a flock of about 120 Avocets which wheeled around. There were several smaller flocks too. A Greenshank was fluting and this time I saw four or five of them. A Great White Egret was more than knee deep in the water, and there were several of the common Little Egrets and Herons.

    As the tide fell further a couple of hundred Dunlin mixed with some Knots spread out across the mud. They were too intent on feeding to do much of the low level aerobatics they are famous for.

    Plenty of Teal, more Wigeons, some Shelduck and not many Oystercatchers. Quite a few Black Tailed Godwit and Lapwings but there could have been more.

    I sat on some rocks for ages just watching and listening to the spectacle for hours, until the light faded and it started to get cold, then turned for home and some sausages and brussels sprouts followed by strawberries and cream with ground flaxseed and brandy.
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    Re: Birds

    Post by Eddie on Thu Nov 03 2016, 18:02

    Just come back from a park in North London, out with a couple of our grandchildren, and what did we see? A small flock around half a dozen green parrots. At first I thought they must be green woodpeckers, but no definitely parrots. Seriously, hard to believe, rofl  but I was stone cold sober. affraid


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