Bird Watching

Sparrowhawk

Date: 2017-03-17 10:21:42 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: David Cole
It’s been a year of mixed fortunes for the Sparrowhawk, with the highest recorded average counts in gardens last January, followed by the lowest-ever numbers for December, as reported by British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) Garden BirdWatch survey. The British Trust for Ornithology is highlighting the ups and downs of one of our ‘love‘em or hate’em’ birds of prey – anyone who has witnessed the cloudburst of tiny feathers as a Sparrowhawk takes a tiny victim from their bird tabl ...

Winter Birdwatch

Date: 2017-01-20 13:55:55 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: David Cole
The British Trust for Ornithology is a great organisation and on a personal level I would encourage everyone to support them – their Birdwatch programme alerts us all to problems amongst our feathered friends and their latest newsletter casts an eye over the fate of one of our favourites – the Blue Tit. The following is an extract from their latest newsletter….. “The winter months are normally a busy time for Blue Tits in our gardens. However, the latest figures from the British Trust ...

Goldfinch Survey

Date: 2015-11-04 22:22:01 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: David Cole
The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) has good news and a request for help in their latest newsletter – below is an extract from their November 4th newsletter. The BTO is a great organization and I’d encourage everyone with an interest in our wild bird populations to join up – or at least help with their survey. Calling all gardens with Goldfinches If you have Goldfinches in your garden, you’re probably aware that they’re becoming increasingly common. However the reasons beh ...

Robin Scrutches

Date: 2015-07-23 09:04:25 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: David Cole
‘Scrutchbuttocks and Dusters’ are lurking in the shrubs and bushes of our garden in Sussex – my long gone grandfather ‘Busty’ Harris had a fine descriptive turn of phrase – with a number of words which as a youngster I thought were real, but now realize he probably made up. He was referring of course to the scruffy looking versions of our garden birds which can sometimes be glimpsed as late summer approaches. They seem almost ashamed of their appearance and are certainly more ...

The nesting Robins in my garden

Date: 2015-07-14 11:52:06 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: Jen Taylor
This year I was lucky enough to have a pair of Robins nesting in my garden. They built their nest under some Ivy on the fence right outside my window, which meant I had a great opportunity to watch them as they brought up their young. I learned a lot by watching them and then looking up the behaviours that I noticed. One of the most obvious behaviours I noticed was courtship feeding. When a pair of Robins are nesting, the male Robin feeds the female. This is a great spectacle to watch as the ...

Bird in the Shower!

Date: 2015-07-08 18:25:23 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: David Cole
OK this is one-up on your common bird bath! I’ve mentioned before that I have friends who are Game Keepers – one such is David Whitby – head keeper to Lord Egremonts’s Leconfield Estate. Dave can always be relied upon to have a new animal or bird living with him – this time I was invited round to see his pet Raven (Corvus corax) enjoying the hot weather. The Raven is a big black bird, a member of the crow family. It is massive - the biggest member of the crow family. It ...

Starlings

Date: 2015-06-25 16:59:24 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: David Cole
Now here is a thing, some forty years ago there was a programme called Opportunity Knocks on the television – and it introduced me to the lass who became one of my all-time favourite poets – Pam Ayres. I rocked with laughter at her closely observed humour and appreciated the real skill in her work – and I still do! She will be at the Grassington Arts Festival in June and the Ledbury Poetry Festival next month and has her latest collection – numbering some fifty new poems out no ...

Nesting House Martins

Date: 2015-06-17 14:11:21 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: Jen Taylor
While recently visiting a friend in Cumbria, I got a nice surprise one morning when I woke up to the sound of a House Martin right outside the window. It was clinging to the top corner of the window frame and I could see it forming the very beginning of its mud nest as it flew back and forth to the window, with mud in its beak. I did a bit of research on House Martins and found out that they are summer migrants who spend their winters in Africa. Although in the past they liked to build their ...

Jackdaw

Date: 2015-05-27 14:30:48 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: David Cole
The Jackdaw (Corvus monedula) is our smallest crow - smaller than a Carrion Crow or Rook but about the same size as a Jay. Like all the crows, Jackdaws are inquisitive and intelligent birds. Adult Jackdaws are all black apart from their grey nape, shoulders and ear-coverts and light grey (almost white) eyes. The bill and legs are black. Often arriving in numbers at a bird table – sometimes early in the morning - they regard any of the specialist feeders as a bit of a challenge, with larg ...

Pheasant

Date: 2015-03-18 15:15:36 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: David Cole
My home is in the countryside, situated in the middle of one of the great shooting estates – gamekeepers are thick on the ground and their feathered charges are even thicker. Keepers are strange beasts, they carefully rear their charges for about nine months of the year and then marshal them for the guns to enjoy their sport - to a man gamekeepers are country and nature lovers – I have had many a tip on the whereabouts of a rare bird or animal and I have 'shot' many of these – but wit ...

Bird Beak

Date: 2015-02-25 22:01:44 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: David Cole
“The beak, bill, or rostrum is an external anatomical structure of birds which is used for eating and for grooming, manipulating objects, killing prey, fighting, probing for food, courtship and feeding young.”So says Wikipedia of this avian version of the Swiss Army Knife and beaks are well worth a second look. The flocks of birds which no doubt inhabit your bird tables will vary greatly in size, colour and structure – because although they are all from the same family the various species ...

Bird Bonding

Date: 2015-02-18 21:42:19 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: David Cole
"For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne's day When every foul cometh ther to choose his mate."--Chaucer-- "Each little bird this tide Doth chose her beloved peer, Which constantly abide In wedlock all the year."--Drayton-- "Oft have I heard both youth and virgin say Birds choose their mates, and couples too, this day; But by their flight I never can divine, When I shall couple with my Valentine."--Herrick-- So it is springtime, or late winter, and the poets of old would have you be ...

Robin

Date: 2015-01-29 09:23:51 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: David Cole
The plump character in our picture is familiar to everyone – it is the Robin (Erithacus Rubecula) - but things are not always what they seem. The robin is a deceptive little bird, with its bright red breast it is familiar throughout the year and especially around Christmas! Males and females look identical, and young birds have no red breast and are spotted with golden brown. Male robins are noted for their highly aggressive territorial behaviour. They will attack other males that stray in ...

Dunnocks

Date: 2015-01-22 10:23:35 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: David Cole
You catch a glimpse of that ‘sparrow’ scuttling along in the undergrowth near your bird table and don’t give it another thought – but often the reclusive little brown bird is not a ‘sparrow' - not even the same family - it is a Dunnock. Dull brown and greyish a single glance says “House Sparrow – female” – but then the behaviour starts to raise doubts – why does it not join in with the rest of the flock causing mayhem on the bird table – why the quick, darting movements, ...

Nuthatch

Date: 2014-12-12 13:18:19 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: David Cole
Looking a bit like a cross between a washed-out Robin and a tiny Woodpecker the Nuthatch (Sitta europaea) has become a regular visitor to UK birdtables. The foods supplied by TWOOTZ seem admirably suited to the appetites of this small, fairly shy bird who loves peanuts and the suet foods as well – it is well adapted to take advantage of Fat Balls in the feeders as its long beak can reach well into the feeder. Characterised by large heads, short tails, and powerful bills and feet, nutha ...

Winter is on its way!

Date: 2014-12-04 15:43:19 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: Neill Hunt
With winter just around the corner I thought I’d give a little bit of information about some good sites to visit during the coming months. Winter birding sites might not be that good in summer and vice-versa. So, with this in mind, this is the Twootz mini guide to Winter birding. I am picking 4 areas, 1 from each of the north, east, south and west. Twootz.com top winter bird-watching sites are. The East. 1…….The North Norfolk Coast. The stretch of coast between Snettisham in the ...

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Date: 2014-11-27 10:12:16 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: David Cole
One of the most exotic birds now making regular visits to UK bird tables is Dendrocopos major. It is of course better known as a Great Spotted Woodpecker. Great Spotted Woodpeckers are about the same size as Starlings. They are common birds of parkland and woodland but often feed in gardens. Great Spotted Woodpecker juveniles have red foreheads that are replaced by black as they moult in the autumn. Adult males then have a red nape but females have no red on their head at all and all these ...

Bird Ringing

Date: 2014-11-12 12:47:06 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: Neill Hunt
Ive spent a little time over the years bird-watching at Bird Observatories, places like Spurn Point in East Yorkshire, Portland Bill in Dorset, Holme in Norfolk. They are always great and attract a good variety of birds. They are however best during the migration season and that is their main purpose. Bird ringing at these hotspots provides us with important information about the movements of our birds and can help us to understand why, when and where our birds move to. Birds move in many ...

October the time for rare birds

Date: 2014-11-06 11:07:35 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: Neill Hunt
In the bird-watching world, October is the month for rare birds in the UK. As you are aware birds all over Europe, Asia and the Americas are migrating to and from their breeding and wintering grounds at this time. The avian highways are frantic at this time of year and unfortunately many of the birds become disorientated and lost. The reasons birds ‘go the wrong way’ are complex and there are many reasons why a bird heading to South East Asia may turn up in Britain. The majority of th ...

The Collared Dove

Date: 2014-10-30 14:12:57 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: David Cole
How about this for a major success story - in the mid 1950's a stranger arrived on our shores and has managed to establish a good breeding population without becoming a pest or damaging indigenous populations of similar birds. The Collared Dove is an elegant pigeon-like bird with a triple phrase 'coo'. Part of their success is the extended breeding season which extends from March to October - the picture is of a pair still enthusiastically courting on my West Sussex bird table - they lay ...

The Swallows Have Gone

Date: 2014-10-22 11:58:50 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: Neill Hunt
And so we see ourselves at the end of another summer, the Swallows have left for Africa and the northern Thrushes and Pink Footed Geese are arriving for Winter. It was a good summer for our breeding birds, good sunny periods and a superb Spring gave the birds really good opportunities to get a mate and nest sorted very early. The outcome for many species was extra broods, I saw a very late House Martin nest with young in late September, brilliant stuff. The success of this year’s breed ...

One Very Unlucky Blue Tit

Date: 2014-10-07 13:32:30 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: David Cole
One very unlucky Blue Tit in Sussex was spotted by some children with its feet firmly tangled in a piece of blue 'nylon' rope. It was hanging upside down and could not get itself free - after some gentle work by Mrs C the little fellow flew off none the worse for the ordeal. But what with cats, sparrow hawks and the like, the world can be a dangerous old place...... The Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus to give it the posh name) is distributed widely over the UK with the RSPB estimating tha ...

Owls

Date: 2014-07-01 10:41:45 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: Neill Hunt
As you all know, my Local Bird-watching patch in Southport is only small. 3.5 hecters in size, in an area of of town with some housing, retail outlets and large business's, yet , the birds still come. Owls are often difficult to observe or even find as their night time habits often elude us, some species though such as the Little, Short -eared and Barn can often be seen during daylight hours. Barn owl above, hunting in the early morning. Over a period of 18 months I have managed to find 4 ...

On the Ball

Date: 2014-06-27 09:32:47 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: Neill Hunt
Well, I don't know about you but my garden and feeders have been incredibly busy over the past few weeks. I've managed to count at least 11 different species of birds making regular visits to the feeding area, fantastic! The most regular are the House Sparrows and Blue Tits. This year I managed to have both these species nest in the garden, which for me was great news. House Sparrows are in national decline and had not nested in my garden previously. This year I let the Ivy and Russian ...

Yellowhammers

Date: 2014-06-17 11:07:44 | Category: Bird Watching | Author:
Out and about at the weekend, birdwatching as usual! I spent a little time on the farmland of south west Lancashire, lovely to see Yellowhammers and Corn Buntings, 2 species that are declining nationally at an alarming rate. Yellowhammers are fabulous little birds and their sing "a little bit of bread and no cheese" was ringing all around me. Great birds and so colourful, bright sunshine yellow with fox brown chest...always a delight to see, but sadly numbers are decreasing due to habitat ...

Local Patch

Date: 2014-06-12 11:25:42 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: Neill Hunt
I’m sure that the regular readers of this blog know that I am a mad keen Bird watcher, since the age of 10 (37 years ago) I have been passionate about the hobby. I am passionate about the birds, the habitat, the natural world in general and I’m passionate about my local Patch in Southport that I visit frequently to keep an eye on what is going on ‘Birdwise’. ‘The Patch’ as you may be aware is the site of an old tip, now landscaped, planted up with a good selection of plants, shrub ...

Something Unusual

Date: 2014-05-23 11:21:15 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: Neill Hunt
SOMETHING UNUSUAL!!!! Rare birds are rare, common birds are common, or so they say! Is it possible to have a rare common bird? Well, maybe, and if we do this is a great candidate. Sedge Warblers are a common breeding migrant, they spend the summer in the UK and winter south of the Sahara in Africa. Sedge Warblers are usually very vocal and due to this easy to find and see, however the plumage of the bird provides great camouflage should it be needed.......except for this one!!!!! L ...

Bluethroats

Date: 2014-05-13 11:32:52 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: Neill Hunt
Every time I head out to the local patch at this time of year, I hope and dream of finding something a little unusual……a Hoopoe…a Red-backed Shrike….a Bluethroat, nothing too rare and all possible! I look at my patch and due to the variety of habitats within it, any of the above mentioned birds could quite easily find a resting place there for a day or two. The problem as always is ‘if’ and ‘when’? The other difficulties in finding the rarer birds is the amount of time spent ...

The Joys of Spring

Date: 2014-05-08 10:44:53 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: Neill Hunt
April and May are probably my favourite months of the year for Bird-watching, the winter subsides, the light night are in and new birds start to arrive for the summer. I spend a lot of time on my local patch, a reclaimed tip that has been planted up with various trees, shrubs and other plants. The area has been landscaped and although only small it provides several micro habitats that draw the birds in. I affectionately call it KBO (Kew bird observatory) though its official name is Newlands coun ...

Starlings

Date: 2014-05-01 11:28:35 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: Neill Hunt
Sturnus Vulgaris, not the prettiest Latin name you ever heard and quite frankly Starlings they don’t get a lot of good press. The Latin word ‘vulgaris’ doesn’t mean vulgar as is usually thought, it means common! Starlings are bully’s at the bird table, often first there and stripping whatever food you put out as fast as they can. They often look greasy, black, dull and ugly, poor things.!!!! However get a good look at one in the winter sunshine and the beauty shines through. Like ma ...

Little Owls...

Date: 2014-04-28 11:33:39 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: Neill Hunt
The Little owl is a fairly common British breeding resident with around 5,000 breeding pairs. It is not a native bird but was introduced into the United Kingdom in the late 1800’s from Europe. Since its initial introduction it has done very well and now occupies most of England and Wales, it is absent from Ireland and is present in only southernmost Scotland. Unlike Tawny and Long-eared, the Little Owl can be seen frequently during daylight hours, often sat on a prominent perch. It occurs i ...

Summers Here!

Date: 2014-04-24 10:57:45 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: Neill Hunt
It’s a lovely sight…….the first Swallow of the Spring, over the Easter Weekend the amount of Swallows on my local patch increased dramatically. This week I’ve frequently seen Swallows back at the local traditional sites and it really tells me that Summer is finally here. I just wish the weather could follow suit. Swallows belong to a group of birds called 'hirundines' and here in the UK we have 3 members of the 'hirundine' group that breed throughout the country. These are the Swal ...

Dippers

Date: 2014-04-14 11:23:18 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: Neill Hunt
When I talk about Dippers, I don’t mean Chicken dippers or Birdseye dippers, no no no, I mean Dippers, the birds. Dippers are amazing creatures, small, dark and handsome. They are so unusual in the avian world as they are a passerine (song bird) that actually swim underwater, in essence they fly underwater like a penguin, when on the riverbed they then supposedly walk in search of prey. They search the bottom of shallow fast flowing rivers and streams for freshwater invertebrates, shrimps a ...

Hawfinches

Date: 2014-04-07 11:53:44 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: Neill Hunt
How many years since I last saw a Hawfinch...too many. When did you last see Hawfinch? Birds in the Lancashire area are now so uncommon that seeing one is a real Red Letter Day. Even on a national scale they have declined and unfortunately only 5-600 pairs now inhabit Britain’s countryside. Looking back through my old notebooks to 1983, 20th March to be exact was the first time I ever clapped eyes on a Hawfinch. The location…Broughton near Preston, the site and birds have long gone a ...

Birdwatchers Code Of Conduct

Date: 2014-04-03 14:26:07 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: Neill Hunt
Believe it or not, there are approximately 3 million regular birdwatchers in the UK, that’s a lot of people who care for and appreciate the wild bird life of our country. To give you an idea of how many people that is, imagine this….You’ve no doubt heard of Twitchers, the birdwatchers that rush all over the country to see rare birds, well if all the 3 million birdwatchers where Twitchers and all decided to come to see a rare bird in your garden, you would end up with everyone from Corn ...

Bearded Tits

Date: 2014-03-20 14:02:51 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: Neill Hunt
Bearded Tits are fabulous little birds, their plumage is outstanding, they are highly habitat dependent, they are difficult to see and unfortunately the habitat they need is dwindling. These are all the reasons you need to go and have a look for them. Their name is a bit miss-leading too, as the bird doesn’t actually belong to the Tit family at all. It is in fact a member of the Babbler family (parrobills) and it is the only representative of that group to occur in Europe. The Bearded ...

A Little Bit Of Help

Date: 2014-03-13 10:31:08 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: Neill Hunt
Little Egrets have become a pretty regular sight these days, in the last 15 years their range expansion to the north has been quite remarkable. At Marshside RSPB in the North West of England, my local bird watching area, the numbers of birds present is continuing to increase and the local roost on Southport marine lake regularly holds upwards of 60 birds, in addition to this, there is usually one or two Great White Egrets as well, incredible. Little Egrets are easy to see at Marshside and ...

Worlds End

Date: 2014-03-11 13:29:20 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: Neill Hunt
The weather over the weekend was glorious, so with that in mind we planned a little bird watching trip over to North Wales to have a look at the booming Black Grouse population at Worlds End. It was a fabulous day. Worlds End is so easy to get to, only 20 minutes from Wrexham, up the hill and bingo, Black Grouse country. I remember going up there in the past, 15-20 years ago and seeing low numbers of distant Black Grouse…how times have change, in recent years the species has been doing v ...

Avocets

Date: 2014-03-06 11:54:12 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: Neill Hunt
Avocets are beautiful looking birds, the most elegant of waders, black and white plumage and that unmistakable black up-turned bill. In the North West of England there has been a massive increase in numbers overs the past 14 years. Up till 2001 the Avocet, the emblem bird of the RSPB was a very rare sight indeed with just a handful of records seen throughout Lancashire and Merseyside. With frequent sightings from 2001 these birds have taken a grip and made Lancashire a permanent breeding ...

Garden Birds

Date: 2014-02-06 11:38:01 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: Neill Hunt
Believe it or not some of the common birds you see day to day are already preparing to breed. Birds in the Crow Family are notoriously early breeders with some species such as the Rook laying eggs as early as the first week in March, they will be busy nest building at the local Rookery right the way through February. Crossbills and Blackbirds are also known to lay in March so nest building is imminent. Our garden birds will be setting up territories, some like Chaffinch and Great Tits will a ...

Local Patch Bird Watching

Date: 2014-01-29 10:20:46 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: Neill Hunt
Bird watching is a great pastime, lots of things to see, birds, animals and plants. Lots of places to go, RSPB reserves, Local Nature reserves, Wildfowl and Wetland Trust, Local Wildlife Trust the list goes on. All of them worth a visit and all of them geared up for the bird watcher and natural history enthusiast. If it’s a long way to your nearest reserve, why not pick your own local spot and spend time bird watching there. I find this to be a really interesting alternative to the organis ...

Two-barred Crossbills

Date: 2014-01-21 15:35:13 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: Neill Hunt
It has been a long long time since I saw my first ever Two-barred Crossbill, a female bird in Norfolk, way back in the winter of 1990. I hitch-hiked there and back and spent a pleasant couple of hours searching for it and eventually seeing the bird at Lynford Arboretum. As I recall, it took me an age to get home, not the easiest place to get to and from by thumb! This winter has been a particularly good period for both Two barred and Parrot Crossbills so I thought I'd take a look at the g ...

Buff-Bellied Pipit and Siberian Chiffchaff in the North West

Date: 2014-01-17 11:35:31 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: Neill Hunt
It's always nice to see a few good birds when you're out birding, especially when they are so close to home. With that in mind I headed over to Burton Marsh in Cheshire with Andy Pryce to have a look at the Buff-bellied Pipit that has been in the area for a couple of weeks. I have many friends who have tried for this bird several times without success so it was a real bonus to arrive at the site to find it showing well to the small crowd that had assembled. The Buff-bellied Pipit a ...

Waxwings in Blackburn

Date: 2014-01-13 11:28:51 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: Neill Hunt
Waxwing invasions have become a fairly regular occurrence over the past few years, 2012-2013 was a particularly good period with many thousands reaching the UK. In 'good' years birds start to arrive from October and generally come in from the North and filter down into the rest of the country. Waxwings are a favourite bird of most birdwatchers, the combination of looks, colours, call and unpredictability make them a great bird to see. 2012/2013 was a fantastic winter for these birds, but ...

This Winter

Date: 2014-01-10 16:51:28 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: Neill Hunt
Well... it's not been the classic winter that we have become accustomed to these days, the last few years, snow has played a large part in the winter weather. This year however, the wind and rain has been the centre of attention and dominant factor. Brunnich' Guillemot, Portland Bay, Dorset. Since late October we have been subjected to some fairly fierce winds, nearly always from the West or South West and ripping through the country at some incredible speeds. Trees have fallen, floods hav ...

21896 Square Miles

Date: 2014-01-08 16:44:48 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: Neill Hunt
Several months ago I was Bird watching in the glorious sunshine of Southern Thailand, looking for, and finding, the incredibly rare Spoon Billed Sandpiper. I followed this in August with a quick trip to Irelands west coast for a spot of sea-watching looking out into the Atlantic Ocean, hoping to catch a glimpse of an out of place seabird. After this followed a few days rarity hunting on the Isles of Scilly....Birding is an incredible hobby, it can take you to all corners of the globe, vi ...

Wrap up for Winter

Date: 2014-01-06 16:39:00 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: Neill Hunt
Winter is upon and it's getting cold. Depending on the type of Bird Watcher you are, this may or may not make any difference to you birding activities. If you stock up the Bird Feeders, put the fire on and view the birds from inside, that's great, you benefit and the birds benefit too...result! I personally love winter birding, the cold air, the frantic flocks of feeding birds and the unpredictability of what you are going to see. If, like me you are going to venture out, there are a few thin ...

3 Amazing Facts About Green Woodpeckers

Date: 2013-12-06 15:18:39 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: Neill Hunt
In a world where Jays and Goldfinches often take most of the credit for looking good, there's a contender whose striking red streak is just as impressive. We're talking, of course, about the much-loved Green Woodpecker (if you want to get technical with the Latin, it's Picus viridis. If you simply want to confuse a bird-watching friend and watch them squirm at repeating it, however, you could go with the Welsh almost unpronounceable version: Cnocell Werdd. Providing you can find out how to say i ...

Blackbirds

Date: 2013-11-28 15:21:31 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: Neill Hunt
The Blackbird is an interesting bird! It is very common in our gardens, it is easily recognizable, it has a nice song and most people, even non birdwatchers would be able to hazard a good guess as to its identity. That said, there is a lot more to the Blackbird than one may assume. Not only is it a common breeding bird in the United Kingdom with some four and a half million pairs but it is also a winter migrant, it escapes the colder Eastern European countries by spending the winter month ...

From David Cole in Deepest West Sussex

Date: 2013-11-13 12:34:35 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: David Cole
This year there seems to have been a goodly supply of natural food in the countryside for our garden birds - they have been a bit thin on the ground (and on the bird tables!). Berries, nuts and acorns - which are crushed on the road - supply good proteins for the usual suspects and the seed heads from the thistles and wild flowers have been keeping many of our regulars busy further afield. However, as the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) has noted in its latest news letter - times they are ...

Look What The Wind Has Blown In

Date: 2013-10-31 12:04:24 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: David Cole
Well, it looks as if we are heading towards another stormy weekend, and in spite of the warnings the one last weekend was not as bad as the famous 1987 hurricane which devastated vast tracts of the UK. I remember hearing the 1987 one coming in like a train, hearing crashing I went out in the early morning with a powerful torch - only to beat a quick retreat when a large sheet of corrugated iron from a nearby barn whirled overhead - the next morning my wife undertaking the daily school run ret ...

Something Exotic

Date: 2013-10-24 12:58:15 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: Neill Hunt
October is THE month in the bird watching calendar that most rare birds turn up. Migration is well on the way, with birds from all continents moving to wintering grounds further afield. Occasionally the poor little fellas take a wrong turn and end up lost, sometimes here in the UK. Many of these rare birds turn up at predictable bird watching hotspots, Spurn Point in Humberside, Isles of Scilly off Cornwall, Fair Isle, Shetland and so on. Every year rare birds turn up and every year an army o ...

Summer Over

Date: 2013-09-06 14:42:45 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: Neill Hunt
Many of us birdy types spend all Winter and Spring waiting for the familiar sight of our first Swallow, Aristotle did say however that 'one Swallow doesn't make a summer' and he could well be right! Swallows belong to a group of birds called 'hirundines' and here in the Uk we have 3 members of the 'hirundine' group that breed throughout the country. These are the Swallow, House Martin and the Sand Martin. In addition to these we also have a species of swift, the Common Swift that also sp ...

Bird Watching in Deepest West Sussex From David Cole

Date: 2013-08-09 14:40:45 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: David Cole
It is a dangerous job being a parent Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) - just take a look at junior's beak - (that is him on the right of the picture with the bright red cap) - taking food from the male parent (with the red bar on the back of his head). We have a very successful family living in a tree across the Green from our house, both parents were winter visitors to our bird feeding stations - being particular fans of the peanuts and insect based feeds. This year they have ...

Bird Watching in Deepest West Sussex From David Cole

Date: 2013-06-28 09:00:00 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: David Cole
We have a small flock of Jackdaws (Corvus monedula) visiting our garden at between 5am and 6am each day. They do not stay long, and those who say that they never see Jackdaws nowadays may not be early risers. I have been always been fascinated by the members of the crow family – having had a pet jackdaw as a child. “Jackie” (yes I know it is not the most original name) lived with me for about four years in the late 1940’s. He/she was a clever creature learning to say “ello” ...

Bird Watching Around Ilkley by Mark Hockey

Date: 2013-05-23 16:17:37 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: Mark Hockey
Another dull and cool start to the week on the Monday morning, the second day of my weekend, boded badly for butterflies and as per last week despite visits to many parts of Ilkley, I didn't see a butterfly all day. Thankfully though, despite a rather chilly westerly wind, the clouds broke up around lunchtime and an afternoon’s sunshine was fantastic for photographing birds. It seems to me that every few years, a particular species of bird or butterfly arrives on our shores in great numbers ...

Bird Watching near Petworth in West Sussex By David Cole

Date: 2013-05-17 10:19:06 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: David Cole
Just a few days ago we were lamenting the absence of Spring then the day before yesterday brought a bit of hope - we saw our first Swallow! They come every year - making the long migratory journey to the south at the end of our summer and returning as an indication that they - at least - think that the weather is about to change. Technically they are Hirundo Rustica familiarly known as Barn Swallows because of their habit of nesting in quiet farm buildings - we have a few sit ...

Creepy Sounds by Tony

Date: 2013-05-10 10:56:28 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: Twootz Customer
It was two in the morning and the moon was full. I was behind enemy lines. The streaks of mud on my body helped to conceal me. I had to be very careful. A false move could attract unwelcomed visitors. I moved very slowly towards an unfamiliar creepy sound of something unearthly just in front of me. As I approached the sound I got the distinct feeling that whatever was making that racket was something that I'd never seen before. Just as I raised my head to see what it was, a cloud passed ov ...

Sudden Burst of Spring by David Cole

Date: 2013-05-01 12:59:27 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: David Cole
Well, everything has experienced the sudden burst of Spring in deepest, darkest West Sussex during the last two weeks. Late, but welcome. My 5am-6am walk to the paddock behind my home to provide a 'comfort break' for an elderly Golden Retriever and her two Springer Spaniel 'nieces' now has me pausing, in spite of the chill, to listen to the Dawn Chorus which seems to get better every day. Every bird from crows to robins has to have their say, and in spite of the apparent discord the soun ...

Bird Watching In Ilkley By Mark Hockey

Date: 2013-04-25 13:37:15 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: Mark Hockey
My weekend last week saw some better temperatures and sunshine prompting a visit to several areas of Ilkley in search of my first butterfly of the year - the result being many Small Tortoiseshells in the south meadow by the suspension bridge, enjoying buttercups because nothing else was flowering, and a while later, several Peacock butterflies around the fringes of Middleton Woods. I hoped to add to the years tally this week but typically after warm sunny days in the workplace, Monday daw ...

The First Signs Of Spring

Date: 2013-04-12 12:49:44 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: Twootz Staff
After what has seemed like a very long and cold winter, signs that spring is finally arriving are visible; everything is growing and bursting into life, birds are singing, leaves are unfolding, butterflies are starting to be seen and mammals are beginning to wake from their winter sleep. The first whispers of new life are tentatively appearing, flooding the land with colour, form and scent; new leaves are budding on bare branches, crocus, daffodils and hyacinths are slowly blooming as the sno ...

A wonderful Sighting of a Sparrow Hawk in North Leeds

Date: 2012-04-25 14:37:07 | Category: Bird Watching | Author: Twootz Customer
I live with my family in a leafy part of Leeds in the North of the city and whilst our garden is not big, it benefits from being split into a front and back garden with shrubs, pine trees and sycamore trees and plenty of options to feed the various variety of birds we seem to attract. I do not believe the previous occupiers of the house ever fed our feathered friends, but I would say we attract five times more birds than when we first moved in. We attract Robins, Wrens, Wood Pigeons, ...