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Showing posts from February, 2011

A field full of gulls

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Spring is certainly in the air as a walk from Rishton, through Tottleworth, Cut Lane and back demonstrated. Dunnocks were particularly vociferous but they were accompanied by 'wheezing' Greenfinches, Chaffinch, Wren, Song Thrush and Robin.

There are a couple of pairs of Great Crested Grebes on the Reservoir and Oystercatchers and Curlews can be heard as they start to lay claim to some breeding territory.

Mealy Redpolls have been present, albeit rather briefly, in the garden; two different un-ringed birds yesterday and today. A large flock of Goldfinches contained several with rings on. The surprising thing about this is that we've hardly had any re-trap Goldfinches in the last three winters so perhaps a ringing session soon may alter that statistic. My neighbour picked up a dead bird with a ring on it. It was very badly decomposed but the beak looked like a Great Tit and looking up the data, it was one of last year's juvenile females. Still, the Bullfinches and Chaffin…

Oriental Turtle Dove - at the third time of asking!

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There had been requests not to disturb the residents of Chipping Norton on Sunday, so being the considerate people we are, we went to Slimbridge instead, with a planned drive around some Cotswold villages in the afternoon.

After a fine breakfast, we headed out to the WWT HQ and enjoyed the birds out on the marshes. There were still Bewick's Swans around as well as several Barnacle Geese but only two Russian Whitefronts padded around as there mates had all decided to up and leave! There had been a large 'bore' (pity we missed it) and the outer marsh had been inundated, however a few birds returned as we scanned the area. Peregrine and Buzzard were the only two raptors and there were quite a few waders; Golden Plover, Dunlin, a couple of Ruff, etc. Then we got the news - John Wright texted us to say that the Dove was showing well in its roost tree. So we set off and an hour later, we dipped again - lots of Woodpigeons and a couple of Stock Doves but there had been no sign of…

Plenty of Woodpigeons, but where's that dove?

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I got a call on Thursday afternoon out of the blue asking if I would do an interview with Ted Robbins on BBC Radio Lancashire's morning show the following day discussing bird-watching and twitching. The incident that prompted the discussion was the manic goings on in Chipping Norton where an Oriental Turtle Dove had been seen.

I know several people from the area went down on Tuesday for it only to be stood in the rain for seven long hours - I escaped this fate as I had to be in Blackburn that evening so declined the offer of a lift down. Anyway, having pontificated over the radio waves, Bernie and I (well it was I really) decided to spend a weekend in the Cotswolds. So a B&B was booked in Cheltenham for Saturday and Sunday nights and on Saturday morning we headed for Cheltenham - via the afore-mentioned Dove site.

As we arrived we quickly struck up a conversation - the bird had been rather mobile. It had been in the gardens but then moved to the larger trees on the outskirts o…

More signs of Spring

Coal Tits and Great Tits are singing away around us now. On a walk down into the village this-morning, a Dunnock blasted out its rapid, high-pitched song from a garden hedge and a Chaffinch gave a couple of phrases too. There were House Sparrows on several gable-ends chirping out their territorial claims.

Back in the garden, the finches are still coming down to the feeders. A pair of Siskins has been regular and there was a brief visit from one of the ringed Mealy Redpolls this morning. Bullfinches are still coming down in good numbers and there are plenty of Goldfinches as well.

Rishton Reservoir WeBS

Not on the scale of some nearby sites, but I do the monthly count of birds on the reservoir throughout the year. Today, the numbers were pretty poor, though a pair of Wigeon had dropped in with the fog and a couple of Oystercatchers were a welcome returning sight.

There were hardly any other birds with just eight Mallard, six Coot, two Moorhens and three juvenile Mute Swans near the yacht club. Chaffinches were starting to sing in and around Cut Wood and the odd Siskin called overhead.

Back home, I'm patiently waiting for the return of the Redpolls now that a neighbour has finished his garden vandalism - there's nothing above a foot in height there! Anyway, at least three different Siskins have come down in amongst the finches including a splendid male. Coal Tits and Chaffinches are singing for the first time this year and I heard the first Song Thrush this morning, albeit rather briefly.

The forecast is for the weather to turn a bit colder but the days are lengthening and the…

Mealy Redpolls again

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A leaking radiator and boiler problems meant I had to stay at home today but at least that gave me the opportunity to keep an eye on what was visiting the feeders. The gale force winds had blown one of the poles over so I braved the elements to rectify the situation and fill up the hoppers.

The top feeders were very busy for a change - lots of Chaffinches and Greenfinches early on with a single Lesser Redpoll and the ringed male Great Spotted Woodpecker paid a visit. I was upstairs when I glanced out of the window and immediately saw what I was sure was a Mealy.I dashed downstairs to grab the bins and sure enough both of the birds that we ringed on Monday were on the niger seed. One was then promptly displaced by another, unringed bird - same size, structure and colouration as the ringed ones. A few Lessers were also in attendance for some comparative views.

Anyway, it's a good excuse for another image from Monday....
Anyway, once the plumber had been, I paid a visit to Rishton Res…