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    Birds

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    Jan1
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    Re: Birds

    Post by Jan1 on Thu May 03 2018, 19:24

    @chris c wrote:
    @Jan1 wrote:"Garden Blackbird now feeding young."  ah, that's nice.

    We actually had what I call House Sparrows in the garden! (although it may have been a tree sparrow - similar markings) They sat quite happily with a couple of pigeons pecking at the grass Smile

    https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/house-sparrow

    All the best Jan

    Probably House Sparrows, they have become much scarcer than they were especially in London and the south east.

    Male and female have different plumages.

    Tree Sparrows have become even less common, pretty much nonexistent in the south east since I was a child, though they are still around in the north and west. We get them occasionally and they bred a few years back I think on a nieghbour's ivy covered oak. One brought two of the babies into my garden where they fed on the ground under the seed feeder and the other parents brought the other two babies to a neighbour's garden where they fed in his chicken pen.

    The adults are identical and resemble a cock House Sparrow in a Italian suit, very smart with a different head pattern and some different chirps. Something I'd forgotten until I saw them again, the young resemble young or female House Sparrows but have delightful ginger eyebrows as opposed to cream.

    When you are used to not seeing them you forget the different calls, once I identified them I realised they had been around for years and I'd written off the calls as a local House Sparrow dialect. Since then I've heard and seen them in a few other local places but not in any quantity, and a friend in a nearby villages has also had them breed.

    Not sure of their status in Hampshire

    https://blx1.bto.org/mapstore/StoreServlet?id=461

    Looking at the map it doesn't look too good for Hampshire Sad
    I've not seen any today ... not to say they were not around.

    However, both Eddie and I spotted a jay (I previously wrote about on this thread) flying past a few trees.
    It's colour plumage was lovely.

    All the best Jan
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    Re: Birds

    Post by chris c on Fri May 04 2018, 21:12

    More migrants incoming, lots of Whitethroats now including one back in the garden, and I heard my first Lesser Whitethroat and Garden Warbler too, and a Reed Warbler in the reedbeds. I also spotted a Hobby and was told earlier there had been three pairs hawking over the reedbeds and nearby woods.

    House Martins are back the other end of the road, where they nest on the houses. I saw a couple of dozen circling over the fields accompanied by a couple of Swifts.

    No Nightingales in a couple of their regular haunts though they may just be late arriving as they were a couple of years back. Hopefully the promised fine weather might bring more migrants into the country.

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    Re: Birds

    Post by Long birder on Fri May 04 2018, 21:33

    Saw a flock of 19 Pomarine Skua on passage across the narrows of Northern England yesterday.
     Also Bonxie and Eider.
    D.
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    Re: Birds

    Post by chris c on Fri May 04 2018, 21:55

    We sometimes get Skuas here in winter, and Eiders too out on the sea in among the Scoters. I used to love the Eiders up on the Farnes. St Cuthbert's chickens. They have such a cute call.

    19 Poms is a bit many, can you not give some of them back? <G>
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    Re: Birds

    Post by chris c on Tue May 08 2018, 21:40

    A Buzzard was back on the edge of the same wood, and later one was soaring overhead. A pair was soaring over a nearby wood where they have been regular for a few years now, a Crow was harassing one of them. A while back I saw five soaring over the same wood, almost certainly a pair with three young. Elsewhere there were two pairs soaring together with a few arguments before they drifted away in opposite directions.

    Down on the river I spotted my first baby Moorhens. Only their mothers could love them

    https://dadirridreaming.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/img_0777.jpg

    Every hedge and shrub had Whitethroats singing and making song flights, and several had set up territories in the rape crop. They were common when I was young, then in 1968 (I think) the population crashed due to the opening up of the Sahel Desert south of the Sahara which destroyed their ability to migrate across it. Numbers built back up in the eighties and now I'm not sure they aren't even more common than when I was young.

    One or two Lesser Whitethroats too. Someone I was talking to reckoned he had seen more Lesser than Common Whitethroats, but he was from further south so that may be true there but not so much here. Likewise last year or the previous year I stated that Sparrowhawks had become the commonest raptor here, with Buzzards second. Someone from further west claimed they had more Buzzards than Sparrowhawks. Kestrels took a nose dive - when I was young they were pretty much the only common bird of prey - but in the last few years they have had a resurgence.

    I sat on a field bank in the sun for a long time listening also to the Skylarks and Linnets. Also heard another Willow Warbler, I think the third this year so three times as many as last year. Always interesting to see how the populations of common species vary. I wonder how much this is affected by the neonicotinoids as well as the glyphosate.

    Mr Blackbird has taken to sitting in the TV aerial to sing and the song comes down the chimney and emerges in the kitchen.
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    Re: Birds

    Post by chris c on Tue May 15 2018, 22:47

    Nothing out of the ordinary to report, just lots of common stuff where I've been walking on the farmland and,er, the commons. Heard another Nightingale in a semi-regular spot which made up for the missing one elsewhere. Swifts and House Martins are back around the town and over the fields, and Jan will be pleased to know I've seen several Jays, they seem to be doing well this year.
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    Re: Birds

    Post by Jan1 on Mon May 21 2018, 10:59

    Hi Chris ... pleased to read you have seen some Jays, they do have wonderful colouring.

    You (and other readers) may be aware that Eddie and I have been away for a short break ... and what a wonderful time we had.

    Our weather from start to finish was wonderful. It was so lovely to spend time with family, and so enjoyable meeting up with good friend Graham. Our final few days were spent in the wonderful Lake District.

    https://thelowcarbdiabetic.blogspot.co.uk/2018/05/a-wonderful-week.html

    We saw some amazing scenery and wild-life. Birds, ducks, sheep, Shetland ponies and the scenery was just wonderful.

    We walked, drove, boated and sat ... a wonderful mix.

    The birds were full of song, it was quite magical at times.

    Back home now and still in relaxed mode Smile

    All the best Jan
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    Re: Birds

    Post by chris c on Mon May 21 2018, 21:53

    Sounds great and you missed the holiday hordes.

    The most spectacular thing about Jays is the white rump as they fly away from you, but yes they are cute.

    Currently we have baby Blackbirds hidden around the garden. I found a Grey Wagtail in the tunnel where the stream goes under the railway line - he was using it as an echo chamber.
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    Re: Birds

    Post by chris c on Wed May 23 2018, 21:59

    The Nightingale was back on the common, originally singing near the layby where I park my car, then while I sat on the seat in the sunshine, overlooking the pond, it turned up in the bushes just behind me. Usually masters of concealment this time it was singing in the open and flitting around quite a lot.

    A Sparrowhawk soared over, chased by a Mistle Thrush, descended into a tree, hopped through to the other side and then shot into the bushes where the Nightingale had been. Fortunately it had moved on by then and was back near the layby by the time I left.

    Lots of yellow flag irises in the pond, and the first hornet I've seen this year buzzing around.
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    Re: Birds

    Post by graham64 on Thu May 24 2018, 22:22

    An interesting couple of days watching the woodpigeon's doing battle over territory a lot of posturing, wing flapping and the occasional peck but today as two were going at it a couple of magpies swooped down and attacked them they flew off since then there's been no sight of them  Cool seeing there was two nesting pairs plus the interlopers that can only be good news though I'm no fan of magpies the don't crap on my car as much  Sad

    Sat out after tea enjoying the evening sunshine the only sounds were the blackbirds singing away and no cooing from the fat bastards hopefully they have relocated to someone else's garden cheers


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    Re: Birds

    Post by chris c on Sat May 26 2018, 21:39

    Good news!

    On a different common I only heard a Nightingale briefly, but there was a Turtle Dove purring away, sat on a power pole, something not nearly as common as they were. While I sat on another seat listening and watching, it flew onto the power lines almost above my head, and then descended to the ground and drank out of a puddle. Like other pigeons and a few other species, they suck water up, rather than sip it and chuck their heads back.

    Like Gadwalls and Water Rails they are beautiful in an understated way

    https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/turtle-dove

    Can't remember when I last heard or saw one there. Far preferable to the Wood Pigeons and town pigeons.
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    Re: Birds

    Post by Jan1 on Tue May 29 2018, 21:47

    Well, I have no idea of the type of birds they were but their night-song this evening was wonderful ...
    so many different sounds and tones ...

    I know some birds have such a harsh sound but it certainly wasn't so this evening,  Smile

    All the best Jan
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    Re: Birds

    Post by Jan1 on Wed May 30 2018, 18:36

    Oh dear ...
    Looking out earlier at the bird feeders, there was stiff opposition from the squirrels Sad

    Lots of tits around today still feeding from one of the blossom trees ... minus it's blossom ... but obviously full of good stuff for the birds.

    All the best Jan
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    Re: Birds

    Post by chris c on Wed May 30 2018, 21:16

    Probably Blackbirds singing, they are full flow here especially morning and evening.

    A few things I didn't see personally - I remember the Peregrines and Choughs on the sea cliffs of West Wales, and Ravens all over. On Springwatch the Choughs had made it east to the Gower, and there were also Dartford Warblers on the cliffs, so they have spread a long way west as well as east from their original haunts in Dorset and Surrey.

    A few years back I saw a Raven out of my back window. In recent years they have been annual in Suffolk in small numbers mostly in spring. This year they have nested on a pylon south and west from where, another thing that has been spreading east like the Buzzards and Kites.

    Also Cranes have been seen at Minsmere. They are established further west at Lakenheath, and there was a "secret" colony in Norfolk over a decade ago. A bit hard to keep then secret though, they are huge and noisy, but it surprised the hell out of me to see a flock of them in a field.
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    Re: Birds

    Post by chris c on Fri Jun 15 2018, 22:52

    The garden Whitethroats seem to have finished breeding. I'm getting a friend's son round to do some heavy duty strimming now he won't be disturbing them.

    Rose bushes were full of baby Blue Tits the other day, and also a pair of Sparrows collecting greenfly presumably for young still in the nest.

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    Re: Birds

    Post by chris c on Fri Jun 22 2018, 23:41

    Only one Nightjar churring on the common where there are usually three or four. It struck me on the journey out and back how few moths there were in the car headlights, especially compared to what we used to see on the same journey back in the eighties.

    There was a tiny bat flittering around, but the Nightingales have mostly stopped singing now. Today I heard my fourth Willow Warbler of the year - that's three more than I heard last year. I've read and been told of numerous Cuckoos this year but have missed them all personally. Not a few rarities about which I have also missed.

    Garden Blackbirds are nesting again.

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    Re: Birds

    Post by Long birder on Sat Jun 23 2018, 10:41

    All insect species have crashed due to modern farming methods and pesticides. Bees are the Canary in the coalmine and if we lose our insects our crops won't get fertilised.
    It's time we stopped messing up the planet.
    The young Shearwaters dying off Australia due plastic poisoning load  is very disturbing and a
    sad harbinger of worse to come.
    D.
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    Re: Birds

    Post by chris c on Sun Jun 24 2018, 19:55

    Still enough flies to get trapped in the house. Little devils.

    But yes I know what you mean. There was a disturbing report I think on Springwatch that Swifts were flying miles to feed over water, possibly due to the dearth of insects over the land. Since watching that I've noticed the Swifts Swallows and Martins here haven't been swooping over the fields as usual. But on the other hand there are more Whitethroats than ever, especially in the rape fields, so they must be finding something to eat.

    Had some interesting discussions with a reserve warden and another birdwatcher. The hard weather not only carried off most of our Cetti's Warblers but decimated the Little Egrets too, though strangely not the less common Great Whites. Or the Dartford Warblers, and for the second year there have been two singing Savi's Warblers at Minsmere, more Grasshopper Warblers than in recent years and a few Red Backed Shrikes passing through. I'm wondering if the migrants which missed the weather are moving into territories vacated by the residents.

    More strangeness, the Grey Herons have abandoned their longstanding heronry in the treetops and are nesting among the reeds like the Bitterns. Also the Bitterns have been less visible due to a lack of feeding flights so may be collecting more food from the waters near their nests. Maybe the fish and water insects are doing well as the land-based ones aren't.
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    Re: Birds

    Post by chris c on Thu Jun 28 2018, 22:56

    Turtle Dove was back on the common at Westleton. I got talking to the couple who have them nesting in their garden, which is good, they're not nearly as widespread as they were even a few years ago. On the other hand they had lost a lot of their House Martins, the story they were told was that bad weather in Spain had killed a lot of the birds migrating through on one route but spared the birds coming a different way, hence why they are missing in some places but in normal numbers elsewhere.

    Less good news, the neighbours have a Woodpigeon nesting in one of their fruit trees so I am woken up by the incessant cooing every morning. A friend whose grandfather was a gamekeeper learned that their song was "my toe bleeds, Betty". They also have an equally annoying but quieter "roo-ugh" call when they are sitting on the nest.

    Even less good news, friends with a big garden have collected several nesting pairs. Fat bastards. The pigeons, not the friends.

    Today I nearly trod on a Woodlark which was either on or beside the path on another common and failed to hear me coming. From the way it flew around keeping an eye on me I suspect it had young. I think they leave the nest soon after hatching. Still a load of Silver Studded Blue butterflies around on the heather too.
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    Re: Birds

    Post by graham64 on Fri Jun 29 2018, 23:13

    Not many many birds around at present most of the woodpigeons seemed to have moved on just left with one now and even the magpies have gone.

    Had a pair of noisy moorhens in the garden today a few blue tits and a blackbird that landed when I had the sprinkler on and that's about it


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    Re: Birds

    Post by Jan1 on Mon Jul 02 2018, 19:18

    @Jan1 wrote:Great excitement Smile

    It was Eddie that first spotted two jays ... we looked it up to make sure ... but yes, definitely Jays with the blue tipped wing.

    I'm now keeping a close eye open for them and hoping they may visit again. sunny

    All the best Jan

    https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/jay

    You may recall a while ago (3rd April) I said about the jays - see quote above!
    Well, they are still here … spotted yesterday Smile

    All the best Jan
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    Re: Birds

    Post by chris c on Mon Jul 02 2018, 22:39

    Talking of noisy birds in the garden, the Red Legged Partridges are about. The other day they were strolling up the street and nearly went in someone's house who had left the front door open. They sound like clockwork.
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    Re: Birds

    Post by chris c on Tue Jul 10 2018, 21:49

    Went back to the common and this time there were at least four Nightjars churring. Possibly more but they make a noise like a distant moped and when two or more at churring it confuses your ears and makes them hard to locate.

    Also I could hear the Stone Curlews ("Wailing Heath Chickens") in their usual location. I first heard them over a decade ago when I took mother to listen to the Nightjars. They make an unholy caterwauling, a bit like an ordinary Curlew being strangled. At the time they were supposed to be a secret, but like the Cranes in Norfolk they are a bit hard to hide.

    I heard another Stone Curlew in a different direction. Once they were rare and almost only on the Brecks but in the last decade or so they have returned to some of the coastal heaths.

    After chatting to some other birdwatchers/listeners I drove on to where I thought they might be located and went for a stumble (it was getting dark) but no luck.

    On the way back to the car I heard them again and actually they were on the farmland, or maybe even the pig fields, I shall have to go back and explore further.

    I take back what I wrote earlier about the missing moths. Well they certainly weren't there earlier but yesterday they were in the headlights in profusion so obviously the late season ones have been unaffected by the weather unlike the earlier ones. They're all over the kitchen window too, and during the hot spell someone who had left his landing light on and a window open was collecting them in huge numbers.

    This outing was driven entirely by a huge succulent kipper, a handful of samphire and a couple of thickly buttered oatcakes.

    Still baby Blackbirds concealed around the garden, so far the Sparrowhawks haven't spotted them. In fact the hawks have been conspicuous by their absence for a while now, and Kestrels after a low period seem to be becoming more prevalent again.
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    Re: Birds

    Post by chris c on Mon Jul 16 2018, 22:58

    The family of Whitethroats were back in the garden again - or perhaps a different family. There was another large flock down by the river, they seem to have been in record numbers this year and bred well.

    I visited another common as dusk was falling and was rewarded with another Nightjar. We used to hear them there regularly back in the eighties, and see them too - they used to go up and perch on the power lines, but in the last decade or so they have either been absent or hiding from me.

    There were at least three on yet another common so numbers look far better than I previously thought.

    Lots of Swifts wheeling over the rooftops in the village, they seem to have bred well too.
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    Re: Birds

    Post by Jan1 on Sun Aug 05 2018, 19:36

    In recent days we have seen the jays back … they may have never left!

    Also seen are smaller birds darting in and out of the trees so quickly, I thought they may be tits but I'm not too sure … a little more bird watching to be done, and I'm no expert!

    One thing I do know they can be fun to watch Smile

    All the best Jan

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