Monday, 18 February 2008
Tuesday, 12 February 2008
The garden has been busy with the usual sightings, Marsh Tit and Nuthatch have been regular visitors throughout the month as have the usual Blue, Great and Coal Tits. Both male & female Great-spotted Woodpeckers are regular along with Robin, Dunnock, Wren, Blackbird and the occasional visit from a small flock of Long-tailed Tits. 2 Goldcrests are regular visitors to the trees outside the cottage and their high pitched contact calls are heard long before they show themselves, a single Green Woodpecker has been feeding around the orchard on a regular basis and a single female Bullfinch was in the orchard on the 3rd with Goldfinch & Greenfinch. Chaffinch numbers are averaging about 12 which is far fewer than previous years when numbers have reached 25+, Goldfinch and Greenfinch numbers are certainly down with only 2 or 3 birds of each species visiting on occasions. Both Mistle & Song Thrush have been occasional visitors to the fields next to our cottage along with what seems to be the last of the Redwing, Male & female Sparrowhawk have been seen in the garden attempting to pluck some unsuspecting victim from the feeders and they seem to be passing through almost daily at the moment, at least 3 Buzzards are around most days and Red Kite numbers seem to building up again with at least 14 being seen over the fields between Skirmett & Frieth on one occasion at the end of the month, many of them seem to be displaying already. A male & female Kestrel have become common visitors since December and are often perched on the telegraph poles scanning the fields for prey. Both Black-headed & Common Gulls have been feeding in the nearby fields throughout January along with good numbers of Rook, Carrion Crow & Jackdaw. Plenty of Magpies about with a single count of 17 being seen in the adjacent fields, a single Jay also seen in the orchard.
A small covey of Red-legged Partridges were seen passing through the garden early in January but other than that there has been few sightings, The male Pheasant is still coming into the garden before dusk and using the seed feeders!.
No sign of any Siskin or Brambling around the garden but at Chisbridge Lane the Brambling flock of at least 25 birds remained faithful to the cereal crops in the fields next to the double gates, Yellowhammer, Chaffinch & Greenfinch make up the numbers in this flock of 50 or so Finches & Buntings. They can be viewed from here.
Deer numbers have massed into the hundreds and can be seen from the roadside near the Old Luxters Farm Brewery in Hambleden as they graze in the fields, a Stoat was again seen as it ran through the vegetable patch towards the end of January.
Fallow Deer Stag Filmed In The Garden In October.
Sunday, 10 February 2008
I recall a close friend thinking I was mad when I told him that I had seen a Wallaby near Fawley as we drove to the Warburg Nature Reserve one afternoon, I parked the car up and pointed out the spot where I had found it in a field near an old shed, I don't think he was really taking me seriously until a head popped up out of the long grass and a Wallaby sat there looking at us. We watched it for 5 minutes before it hopped out of sight.
I took a trip over to Lavell's Lakes, Berks to try and catch up with the Bittern that had been seen roosting in the main island reedbed. As I approached the new hide I met a couple that informed me that the Bittern was on show and had been for sometime, I slowly opened the door to the hide and came face to face with my birding pal Roy Rose who already had the bird in his scope. I quickly looked through his scope in case the bird disappeared into the reeds as they often do and was delighted to see my first Bittern of the year sat motionless in the reeds. The Bittern showed well before it became slightly obscured by the reeds in the reedbed and as dusk approached it blended in with the background and became almost impossible to see, amazing camouflage for such a large bird.
It's always a pleasure to see this elusive bird and to be able to watch it from the comfort of the magnificent new hide at Lavell's makes it even better. Much more spacious than the previous hide it offers views out across the lake and also to the sides of the hide giving views into the side of the reedbeds. Another small viewing window offers views out to the array of feeders that are hanging behind the hide.
Added To My Year List