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    Birds

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    Jan1
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    Re: Birds

    Post by Jan1 on Fri Jan 05 2018, 19:51

    A friend of mine has a bird bath in her garden and gets a great selection of birds. She spends quite a deal of time watching them, and they do seem to queue up and patiently wait to have a dip in the bath ... lovely to see. They do not appear to argue about it which always amazes me.

    A blogging friend in the US has a heated bird bath - I keep telling her she spoils her garden birds!

    The pigeon in our tree looked quite fed up yesterday, I rather think the bad weather is getting to him ! LOL!

    All the best Jan
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    Re: Birds

    Post by Jan1 on Thu Jan 11 2018, 19:47

    Apparently even Theresa May goes bird watching ...

    Prime Minister, Theresa May and Environment Secretary, Michael Gove visit the Wetland Centre in London to launch the government's 25-year environment plan.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/video/news/video-1605700/PM-Theresa-goes-birdwatching-launching-Government-plan.html

    All the best Jan
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    chris c
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    Re: Birds

    Post by chris c on Mon Jan 15 2018, 20:19

    "I can see a tit!" said Theresa May.

    "So can I!" said Gove

    Some excellent photos here

    http://carlbovisnaturephotography.blogspot.co.uk/
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    Re: Birds

    Post by Jan1 on Tue Jan 16 2018, 16:07


    Thanks for this link Chris, the pictures are amazing ...  sunny

    All the best Jan
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    Re: Birds

    Post by Jan1 on Sun Jan 21 2018, 20:14

    It's the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 27 - 29 January 2018.

    Around 500,000 people took part in the last bird-watch. That's a LOT of birds counted!

    More here
    https://www.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/activities/birdwatch/

    All the best Jan
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    Re: Birds

    Post by chris c on Sun Jan 28 2018, 23:12

    It was pretty mild today so I walked over one of commons and heard a couple of Dartford Warblers singing in the afternoon sun. Also a couple of Great Tits. No, not May and Gove.

    Then I took myself down to Minsmere to watch the Starling murmuration. First only a few small flocks turned up and circled around a bit, then built up to a couple of thousand in the distance. Half the flock split off and came right over to where we were stood and put on a fairly impressive display for some time before suddenly dropping into the reedbed.

    Meanwhile thousands more arrived and joined in with the distant flock, which was hard to watch as it was low down in front of a cloud bank. Some of them subsequently came over to join the nearer display but the majority stayed over the other side.

    If they were murmurating elsewhere earlier in the winter I didn't hear of it.

    Polished off the remains of the last pheasant as a "sandwich" spread on a thickly buttered oatcake. Then I made a king prawn curry with cashews, oyster mushrooms, multicoloured peppers and chillies and garlic, with an anatomically correct portion of rice to soak up the sauce. Well not many carbs were harmed during the rest of the day, I had breakfast around midday and my meal around six.
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    Re: Birds

    Post by chris c on Wed Jan 31 2018, 23:13

    Walked over the fields again, towards the afternoon sun. Pretty much naff all birds except for some Herring Gulls circling, the usual pigeons and eventually a small flock of about twenty Meadow Pipits. I heard a solitary Lapwing in the distance but still no sign of any of the regular winter flocks of Lapwings and Golden Plovers.

    Then a Skylark flew up singing, followed by a second and then a third, and when I got home there was a Mistle Thrush singing just down the road, something that has not been common for years now.

    It's starting to sound a bit like spring, and look like it too - loads of catkins and snowdrops, and the first few crocuses.

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    Re: Birds

    Post by Long birder on Thu Feb 08 2018, 20:46

    Yellowhammers peaked today with 17 birds coming to garden feeders at 1600 today.
    regards
    Derek
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    Re: Birds

    Post by chris c on Fri Feb 09 2018, 22:57

    Oh that's good! Yes we still get a fair few over the farmland here, but I never had them in the garden. We get Reed Buntings too, especially in winter away from the reedbeds, but Corn Buntings are pretty much nonexistent now. I used to see big flocks on the south downs and hear their jangling song from every other fencepost and I think we used to get them around these parts back in the eighties. Much reduced like your Twites. There was a fine flock of Twites on Winterwatch on one of the Scottish Islands.

    Still some Twites and plenty of Snow Buntings on the beaches, and a flock of about a dozen Bewicks Swans up the road which I did see. Finally some flocks of Whitefronts have arrived, and another Glossy Ibis but I haven't been to see them yet.
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    Re: Birds

    Post by chris c on Sun Feb 18 2018, 00:15

    Walked on some more farmland in the beautiful sunshine, but with a dire arctic blast coming from the west for a change, usually it is at its worst from the north or east.

    Finally I found a flock of dozens of Fieldfares, with a few Redwings and Starlings. They were in a wheat field with some rape stubble still sticking up, and very mobile so hard to count.

    Not as many Yellowhammers as I would have expected, but more on the walk back, by which time the Fieldfares had gone. I saw them, or another flock, in some different fields as I drove home.

    Linnets were originally conspicous by their absence, but eventually I found a flock of a couple of dozen having a communal sing-song in some trees overhanging a big setaside patch with lots of weed/wildflower seed and pheasant feeders. No Buzzards or Skylarks which was a bit strange.

    Common Gulls generally aren't here but last winter there were 8 - 9000 roosting at Minsmere and on the estuaries and spreading out over the fields for miles inland. This year back to the regular dozens to hundreds, and a couple of Kestrels walking about on the ground below them, probably looking for worms or insects.

    Some big old poplars blew down in one of the storms and had been cut up and piled in what used to be the garden of a long deserted house. The Great Spotted Woodpecker was around, calling "chik!"

    Today I walked along the estuary at Iken and watched hundreds of Dunlins and Redshanks doing their communal display flights low over the water and then retreating to the islands to roost, and a couple of hundred Avocets joined in. Strangely not many Black-Tailed Godwits and even fewer Curlews and Lapwings, but a few Shelduck, and the obligatory Teal. Oh and a Common Seal lying on one of the islands looking quizzical, we get both them and the greys.

    In between, I went to Hen Reedbeds to see not very much, but a Marsh Harrier doing some desultory sky dancing, then on another common with a few assorted finches and tits in song.

    As per usual I have been going about 6 - 8 hours between breakfast and my meal. Today's sausages and Brussels sprouts were not quite sufficient, I suspect soon I will have a prawn curry with the usual multicoloured peppers, chillies and garlic. Yesterday's chicken stir fry with the aforementioned peppers, chillies and garlic and olives and bacon hit the spot though. This living off stored energy thing ought to catch on.
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    Re: Birds

    Post by chris c on Thu Feb 22 2018, 23:06

    I walked on the Blyth Estuary and found all the Godwits. A few more curlews too but still not many Lapwings among the regular Redshanks, Dunlins and Avocets. Many assorted gulls and a few Teal, Wigeon and Shelduck and only a couple of Oystercatchers.

    The sun was nice but the wind was dire, straight from the east and into the hide window so I didn't sit there for long. I walked back and drove down to Minsmere, had a brief walk around not seeing and Siskins but spotted a Little Owl - common round here but I hadn't seen any for a fair while - and heard a Marsh Tit in song along with the usual other tits and finches.

    Then I adjourned to the North Wall to watch the Starling murmuration, which was spectacular in a calm sort of way, without many of the usual shapes being thrown. The sight and sound of thousands of Starlings flying right overhead was amazing. Unfortunately by then the bitter wind was the opposite of amazing, it was bearable while I was still walking but standing still didn't work so well. I stopped being able to feel my legs from the knees down and my teeth and eyes hurt.

    I demolished the first spring lamb chop of the season, with broccoli, a couple of thickly buttered oatcakes and a cup of coffee to wash down the 85% chocolate. Had a major sneezing attack, probably because the contents of my sinuses finally unfroze, and crashed out for a while.
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    Re: Birds

    Post by Jan1 on Tue Feb 27 2018, 17:25

    So lovely to read through the posts on this thread ...

    Since our recent move we are fortunate to see a good variety of birds, which is great Smile

    Keep well everybody, I will be back to posting very soon.

    All the best Jan
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    Re: Birds

    Post by chris c on Tue Feb 27 2018, 21:31

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    Re: Birds

    Post by Jan1 on Fri Mar 09 2018, 13:56

    Amazing video Chris ... thanks for the link.

    I was saying to Eddie - I must get a small bird guide book - or use the internet to help with bird identification !

    But really it is just lovely to see them. There are a lot of blue tits and those with a black cap too, they always seem so busy flitting about. We have some cherry blossom trees nearby and they love to pick at the branches getting insects I assume!

    Can you believe it's Friday again Smile

    Enjoy your day, we have rain Sad

    All the best Jan
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    Re: Birds

    Post by chris c on Fri Mar 09 2018, 21:46

    My books are elderly and quite worn out, but this may give you some ideas

    http://shopping.rspb.org.uk/birds-wildlife/bird-wildlife-books-media/reference-books.html

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    Re: Birds

    Post by Jan1 on Sat Mar 10 2018, 11:01

    @chris c wrote:My books are elderly and quite worn out, but this may give you some ideas

    http://shopping.rspb.org.uk/birds-wildlife/bird-wildlife-books-media/reference-books.html


    That's great Chris, thank you.

    I may also have a look around some of our local charity shops, you can often get a good variety of different titles and subjects.

    The birds were looking quite damp again this morning!
    Yes, you've guessed it!
    It's raining!

    Enjoy the weekend

    All the best Jan
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    Re: Birds

    Post by chris c on Sun Mar 11 2018, 22:25

    You moved at pretty much the right time to see what's where and when, as they start to sing and breed, and the summer visitors start to arrive.

    If you buy an older book, take the distribution maps with a pinch of salt. There have been so many changes in recent decades, which are ongoing. My once expensive and canonical bird atlases from the sixties and seventies and even my book on the New Forest from the eighties are half useless by now.

    There's a lot of basic information on the RSPB site, and more technical info on

    https://www.bto.org/about-birds/birdfacts

    oh and songs and calls on

    https://www.xeno-canto.org/collection/area/europe

    but you need to know the name of the species to use these, which is where the books work best.
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    Re: Birds

    Post by Jan1 on Mon Mar 12 2018, 11:05

    Cheers Chris Smile

    I think I may start with just the basic information first ...

    Happy Monday

    All the best Jan
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    Re: Birds

    Post by chris c on Wed Mar 21 2018, 23:26

    Heard my first Woodlarks singing on a common today. You will probably find them in the New Forest on heaths with trees from which they sing and circle in song flights. They have become much more common and widespread here since the eighties, I don't know if that has also happened there. I remember seeing a family part or small flock chumbling about on the ground near Nomansland back in the eighties or nineties. They often start singing in February and go on to June or so.

    Keep an eye and ear out for Dartford Warblers too. Back in the sixties they were limited to Arne in Dorset and one of the West Surrey commons. They spread into the New Forest, and later Ashdown Forest, back in the eighties, and here in the nineties and are now widespread in small numbers. Not on this particular common though (yet).

    On the way home I treated myself to a second walk on some of the farmland. Lots of Primroses in the ditches and field edges, and the daffs are starting to show where the farmer planted them all along his drive. Oh and on the way home a mass of Coltsfoots along another ditch bank.

    There was a flock of a few dozen Fieldfares in a field not a million miles from where I saw them previously, a far cry from the usual sized winter flocks of hundreds. Probably about a dozen Yellowhammers but I didn't go far enough to see the Linnets.

    Then I heard a wild and evocative call and was treated to a small flock of about 20 Golden Plovers circling around, pretty much the only ones I saw all winter and again a far cry from the flocks of hundreds and even more Lapwings that were common only a few years back.

    Finally I heard and briefly saw a Chiffchaff in the hedge, probably an early migrant that has arrived, though it could have been an overwintering one that hadn't left yet.

    Six hours and a few miles since breakfast and I stuffed my face with a big hunk of grilled salmon, some frozen spinach and a couple of my infamous buttered oatcakes. Later I might have some ground pork with my usual suspects - bacon, mushrooms, peppers, chillies and garlic with paprika, thyme, oregano and toasted sesame oil. It's nearly time to buy my annual kilo of rice (The Horror!)
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    Re: Birds

    Post by Jan1 on Thu Mar 22 2018, 11:12

    Lovely post Chris ... thanks.

    Now the snow has gone we have a robin that likes to sit in the nearby tree occasionally coming down to perhaps root around for worms and other bird delights ... lovely to see.

    I still haven't got a bird book but I'm working on it.

    Happy Thursday

    All the best Jan
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    Re: Birds

    Post by chris c on Fri Mar 23 2018, 22:19

    Yes we have Robins and Blackbirds now singing regularly in and around the gardens in the morning and evening at last, and other things like Dunnocks and various tits and finches. Far too many Woodpigeons though, the back field is rape this year.

    Oh I forgot the hares chasing one another about but not quite boxing yet.
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    Re: Birds

    Post by graham64 on Fri Mar 23 2018, 22:45

    @chris c wrote:Yes we have Robins and Blackbirds now singing regularly in and around the gardens in the morning and evening at last, and other things like Dunnocks and various tits and finches. Far too many Woodpigeons though, the back field is rape this year.

    Oh I forgot the hares chasing one another about but not quite boxing yet.

    I'm plagued again this year with Woodpigeons they are nesting in a leylandi across the road from me and just a couple of feet above them Magpies are also building a nest  Sad but all is not lost I've seen far more Blackbirds this year along with the Bluetits even had a rare visit from a Bullfinch 

    Oh and not forgetting the bushy tailed rats they appear to have grown in numbers, all I need is a shotgun and a chainsaw  Twisted Evil


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    Re: Birds

    Post by chris c on Fri Mar 23 2018, 23:15

    Bullfinches are gorgeous! We have a few around these parts and there are places where they are regular. They have the weirdest song

    hmmm, strange, I can no longer get audio playback from xeno-canto, or the RSPB

    here's one

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    Re: Birds

    Post by graham64 on Sun Mar 25 2018, 22:45

    @chris c wrote:Bullfinches are gorgeous! We have a few around these parts and there are places where they are regular. They have the weirdest song

    hmmm, strange, I can no longer get audio playback from xeno-canto, or the RSPB

    here's one


    After listening yes it is weird but they as you say gorgeous and of course easy to spot amongst the greenery just a pity they are such infrequent visitors to my garden


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    Re: Birds

    Post by chris c on Sun Mar 25 2018, 22:58

    They tend to be very faithful to each other and to their preferred sites. Though watch out if you have fruit trees, or forsythias, they can strip all the buds in short order.

    We're lucky not to have many squirrels but the pigeon hordes are increasing daily.

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