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    Birds

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    chris c
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    Re: Birds

    Post by chris c on Wed Nov 08 2017, 00:17

    Walked on one of the heaths in the tail end of yesterday's sunshine, not that much to see except for a couple of Woodlarks and dozens of Meadow Pipits, and eventually I heard but didn't see a Dartford Warbler. Something flew over, heading back towards Minsmere, which I'm pretty sure was a very late Hobby - too small for a Peregrine, too large for a Merlin and didn't look right for a Kestrel. They are staying later probably because there are still dragonflies on the wing.

    There was also a small flock of Starlings, flying away from Minsmere. Triangulating them with the flock I saw over the farmland, I thought they might be collecting at Hen Reedbeds which sometimes collects a massive murmuration, so after today's shopping trip I went there and sat on the seat until dusk. A few dozen showed up in small flocks, wheeled around and then went on elsewhere, each lot going in different directions, so I'm no more enlightened. A couple of people showed up after a visit to Minsmere but apart from another high flying Bittern they hadn't seen anything out of the ordinary. We had the all too common conversation, discussing changes since they were young - they were from Oxfordshire which is now absolutely inundated with Red Kites which seem to be displacing the Buzzards, and also lacking in the once common Willow Warblers. They'd seen Redstarts in the New Forest but no resurgence in Cuckoos such as we had this year, or Turtle Doves.

    A combination of the cold and the rump steak and vegetables in the car caused me to head for home. Yum yum!
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    Re: Birds

    Post by chris c on Sat Nov 11 2017, 02:01

    I called in the farm shop where I hadn't been for a fortnight and they wanted to know why.

    "Well, some idiot sold me far too many sausages!" which they found hilarious.

    After that I walked the nearby common. Sat on the seat by the pond with the sign saying "Danger! Deep water!" It was empty except for a small puddle about six inches deep in the middle. Mostly I watched a bunch of Blackbirds flying around and in the hawthorn bushes eating berries. Quite a lot were black-billed, presumably newly arrived migrants.

    Finally I saw a Redwing and heard a Fieldfare, they've been late arriving so far this year. A lot of Hawfinches have been reported migrating in, but no sign of any, or any Yellow Browed Warblers, just mostly assorted tits, Robins, various finches and a load of Dunnocks tweeting as dusk fell. I spotted another smallish flock of Starlings heading purposefully east.

    I needed to empty my bladder so looked carefully up and down the track before stepping aside and peeing into the gorse bushes. In mid stream a horse rider trotted up. Why does that always happen??? Fortunately it was cold enough that she couldn't have seen anything even if she'd wanted to. Anecdotally I read about a diabetic who was taken short and peed in the bushes - and was arrested and put on the sex offenders' register for allegedly flashing at some children. I doubt that would happen here but nowadays it pays to be careful.

    When I got home the pheasant went into the oven, wrapped in bacon, and a load of sprouts and chestnuts went into the saucepan. While it was cooking there was a knock at the door - one of my neighbours who had been out shooting with a brace of fresh pheasants newly plucked, which promptly migrated into my freezer. My favourite kind of birdwatching!
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    Jan1
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    Re: Birds

    Post by Jan1 on Sat Nov 11 2017, 11:10

    "When I got home the pheasant went into the oven, wrapped in bacon, and a load of sprouts and chestnuts went into the saucepan. While it was cooking there was a knock at the door - one of my neighbours who had been out shooting with a brace of fresh pheasants newly plucked, which promptly migrated into my freezer. My favourite kind of birdwatching!"

    ...nice way to end your day Chris.

    Saw some of these birds recently



    Yes, the robin - "The UK's favourite bird - with its bright red breast it is familiar throughout the year and especially at Christmas! Males and females look identical, and young birds have no red breast and are spotted with golden brown. Robins sing nearly all year round and despite their cute appearance, they are aggressively territorial and are quick to drive away intruders. They will sing at night next to street lights."

    Illustration and words for here
    https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/bird-and-wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/r/robin/

    They were pictures on a set of 'Christmas style' table mats ... they looked nice.

    All the best Jan
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    Re: Birds

    Post by chris c on Fri Nov 17 2017, 22:58

    Robins split up and the males and females hold separate territories over winter, they both sing although not as tunefully as in spring when the males' hormones kick in. There may also be migrants coming in from the Continent adding to their numbers. Dunnocks too, I've seen and especially heard more than the average number of both so far this year - the Dunnocks mostly calling rather than singing as the sun goes down.

    Since it was a beautiful sunny day, albeit cold, after my weekly visit to the farm shop I drove to Dunwich and walked up the beach more than half way to Walberswick.

    At first there wasn't a lot, a few Meadow Pipits and Pied Wagtails, and assorted gulls. I saw a Great White Egret fly into its usual hunting ground of one of the channels behind the shore pools - they are about 50% bigger than the common Little Egrets, flap a lot slower in flight, stand a lot more upright and have yellow bills. Someone I met walking down from Walberswick told me the other one was further north but I didn't get that far. He'd also seen a Bittern, which I didn't - several Grey Herons though - and a couple of Spotted Redshanks along with the Common ones and Dunlins and Black Tailed Godwits.

    I walked along the top of the shingle ridge which was hard going but worth it as I was suddenly surrounded by utter cuteness - Snow Buntings, more than a dozen, maybe 15 or more but they were hard to count as they look like moving shingle among all the stationary shingle

    https://vimeo.com/145506446

    They flew off to the north and continued slightly faster than I could walk to catch them up again.

    No matter as I also met up with the usual winter flock of Twites



    about 50 - 60 of them, although they didn't come as close as the buntings, or as they had done in previous years.

    I met up with some birdwatchers from Sussex, who'd never seen Twites before and were quite enthralled by the swooping formation flying.

    Eventually the setting sun and corresponding loss of light, plus the sausages in the car and the PSB in the fridge, got the better of me and I started the walk back. The tide had gone out and I was able to go much faster on the sandy beach than the shingle ridge.

    The Snow Buntings had somehow bypassed us and returned to the place where I had first seen them, so the Sussex folks got a good view of them too.

    Three of the sausages made it down my neck along with a bunch of broccoli, two thickly buttered oatcakes, two glasses of Carmenere, a square of 85% chocolate and a cup of coffee, about eight hours after my breakfast, after which I went and lay down for a bit.

      Current date/time is Sun Nov 19 2017, 04:54