Sunday, 25 November 2007

November Local Sightings.

All three of the common Owls have been present throughout November, Tawny Owls can be heard regularly most nights calling from dusk onwards from nearby woodland and on the odd occasion can be seen perched in trees above the country lanes watching for prey and a certain individual has been "hooting" from the cottage roof in the early hours on a number of occasions.

Little Owls have been sighted on a regular basis at their favourite haunts, two perched together in the afternoon sun near Frieth and although our resident pair seem to be less active at the moment they are often heard calling to each other. A single bird has also been heard calling from the fields near Skirmett.

Barn Owls are still being heard in the fields adjacent to the cottage after dusk, two individuals again have been heard with one being extremely close to the cottage, a single bird flew in front of the car as I drove along the A4155 early evening at the beginning of November, it headed towards the Henley Management College and could well be one of the pair that I often watched hunting along the towpath near Hambleden Lock during 2003/04.

Redwing have stripped the hedgerows of most of the berries and a flock of about 20-25 birds seem to be found most days in and around the neighbouring fields and hedgerows. Fieldfare on the other hand have been small in numbers with most sightings being seen migrating overhead, a flock of 12+ was seen feeding in a adjacent field in the last week of November. Blackbird Numbers have risen to at least 5 males & 3 females, often being found along the hedgerows and country lanes and a pair that are regularly seen in and around the garden. Sightings of Mistle Thrushes have also increased with two birds being seen quite regularly.

Three Great-spotted Woodpeckers have been visiting the garden feeders as have Blue & Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit and Coal Tit have returned to the feeders along with a few appearances from a single Nuthatch. Still no sightings of the local Marsh Tits although they often don't appear until December onwards. Two Goldcrests have returned to feed in the trees next to the garden and can be heard and seen most days. 2 Jays were seen on and off in the orchard and the rest of the garden regulars started turning up to make the most of what's on offer, Robin, Dunnock, Wren, Magpie, Chaffinch, Greenfinch & Goldfinch all busily feeding in the garden as the weather turned colder. Not forgetting the single male Pheasant that has now given up feeding from below the feeders and prefers to stand on the squirrel guard and use the feeders. Red Kite & Buzzard are still daily sightings around the cottage with at least 6 Red Kites and 3 Buzzards being present in the area most days.

Carrion Crow, Rook and Jackdaw have all been feeding in the surrounding fields in large flocks, They seem to be favouring the fields with grazing Sheep presumably with the chance of a better selection of grubs and insects. The last week of November brought the unexpected sighting of 5 Jackdaws flying over the cottage at 9.30pm, a few calls as they headed over and they soon disappeared into the darkness as they flew west.The Gulls have returned to feed in the fields as they do most Winters, both Common & Black-headed Gull numbers seem to be increasing slowly and presumably return to Little Marlow Gravel Pits to roost.

Deer movement is still ongoing with small herds of Fallows Deer still passing through the garden and also near Frieth, all herds include a good number of this years fawns. A large herd of 50+ can often be seen in the fields near Luxters Farm, Hambleden. A couple of Fox sightings and a unusual sighting of a small Bat flying/feeding from 2-4pm in the third week of November finished off a busy month.

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