Brookmans Park Newsletter Community Discussion Forum

General Discussion Boards => Environment => Topic started by: sasquartch on January 03, 2010, 03:41:28 pm

Title: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: sasquartch on January 03, 2010, 03:41:28 pm
Does anyone know what sort of bird this is ?

Spotted several times right outside our back door. Picture taken through a double glazed window so a little blurred  :)

Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: stableman on January 03, 2010, 04:16:25 pm
That looks like a Pied Wagtail if Im not mistaken.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Bob Horrocks on January 04, 2010, 02:47:54 pm
It is a Pied Wagtail.

We have had them in our garden but have not seen them recently.  So that is where they have gone!

They seem to like bowling greens and I have seen them running around on the greens at Welham Green and the George V (?) green near the QE2 hospital.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on January 04, 2010, 06:42:46 pm
On New Years Day I encountered a group of 11 near Water End. At this time of year they congregate in communal roosts at night-time. I suspect it may be in the vicinity of the Vet College, where the livestock attract their favoured food items - small insects.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on January 04, 2010, 07:39:43 pm
There is a large flock of redwings or fieldfares in a field on walk one (http://www.brookmans.com/walks/walk1.shtml) in this site's collection of walks. I think they are redwing, but can't be certain. Must be two dozen.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Tailspin on January 06, 2010, 05:27:04 pm
Not having seen Pied Waggies in our garden, we now have one that "moved in" 2 weeks ago.  Also, a Moorhen has decided to take up residence.  Lets see what else decides to arrive,
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Ferdie on January 06, 2010, 09:28:28 pm
Don't forget the birds in the garden (the feathered variety  ;D) need water and food which at times of freezing weather is often hidden under the snow or frozen. Suggest visit http://www.rspb.org.uk/advice/helpingbirds/feeding/ (http://www.rspb.org.uk/advice/helpingbirds/feeding/) for further advice. 
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on January 06, 2010, 10:05:19 pm
Tawny Owls are quite vocal as well on these cold still nights. I've just heard one calling from the direction of the Golf Club, and my partner heard a pair early this morning on Kentish Lane.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on January 07, 2010, 06:42:35 am
Don't forget the birds in the garden (the feathered variety  ;D) need water and food which at times of freezing weather is often hidden under the snow or frozen. Suggest visit http://www.rspb.org.uk/advice/helpingbirds/feeding/ (http://www.rspb.org.uk/advice/helpingbirds/feeding/) for further advice. 

Thanks for the reminder, Ferdie, will get on the case in our garden when it gets light.

Dave
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: PS on January 07, 2010, 06:59:31 am
One question - any advice on how to supply water to the Birds ? My wife informs me that the Water Feeder we usually have to provide water for them, cracked the other day - probably due to the the ice expansion resulting from the freezing weather.

Putting water in a bowl would only freeze overnight as well.

Grateful for ideas !!
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on January 07, 2010, 08:24:05 am
I've just put out three plastic containers with warm water in. I guess it will freeze later, but might help for now.

I've six seed balls and they are already on one of them.

David
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: stevea on January 07, 2010, 11:34:02 am
PS - There's not much you can do about the water except keep changing it, but I do remember a gamekeeper telling me that if birds have a good food source they will reluctantly eat the snow...and it's best to keep throwing lots of food out, even scraps from your plate.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: PS on January 07, 2010, 11:55:23 am
Stevea, David - thanks. I will e-mail my wife and suggest she does just that. Anything better than nothing !!
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Bob Horrocks on January 07, 2010, 02:46:07 pm
By memory, cold water takes longer to freeze than hot water for some strange reason.  If correct, it is better to put out cold water.  A plastic container will flex thereby allowing the water to expand as it freezes.

It is now so long ago that I studied chemistry but I feel it has something to do with latent heat or evaporation.  Does anyone know the true explanation?
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: sasquartch on January 07, 2010, 02:55:27 pm
By memory, cold water takes longer to freeze than hot water for some strange reason.  If correct, it is better to put out cold water.  A plastic container will flex thereby allowing the water to expand as it freezes.

It is now so long ago that I studied chemistry but I feel it has something to do with latent heat or evaporation.  Does anyone know the true explanation?

It's a bit of a mystery by all accounts but the following gives an explanation. However, it's unlikely to be the case that a warm bowl of water will freeze quicker under these conditions outside at the moment

http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/physics/General/hot_water.html (http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/physics/General/hot_water.html)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: PS on January 07, 2010, 02:58:38 pm
Quote
Does anyone know the true explanation?

Its a complex subject very dependent upon numerous conditions. Sometimes known as the "Mpemba" effect 
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Buster on January 07, 2010, 03:51:35 pm
It's all too complicated - just make regular visits to the garden to change the water!  8)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Ferdie on January 07, 2010, 09:16:50 pm
It's all too complicated - just make regular visits to the garden to change the water!  8)

Thank you!!! I can't believe my original post about putting water out for the birds can create such a fuss.. Water freezes... I think this is stating the b******g obvious and it needed Buster to say it, well done! ::)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Little Miss Elaine Moffat on January 07, 2010, 10:30:36 pm
Ferdie, I always found anti freeze works well!!







Only Joking, before you start picking on me ;D
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: naomi on January 08, 2010, 05:29:24 am
It's all too complicated - just make regular visits to the garden to change the water!  8)

Thank you!!! I can't believe my original post about putting water out for the birds can create such a fuss.. Water freezes... I think this is stating the b******g obvious and it needed Buster to say it, well done! ::)

I take it you got out of the wrong side of your b******g bed this am! People are just being helpful....
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: PS on January 08, 2010, 05:36:37 am
Quote
Don't forget the birds in the garden (the feathered variety  ) need water and food which at times of freezing weather is often hidden under the snow or frozen

Thank you!!! I can't believe my original post about putting water out for the birds can create such a fuss.. Water freezes... I think this is stating the b******g obvious


Well then Ferdie, you shouldn't have posted the word "water" [see your words above] in the first place should you ? You know how pernickety some people are !!

Just stick a bowl of shallow water under a hot water bottle overnight - that may work.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Bob Horrocks on January 08, 2010, 12:25:13 pm
I can't believe my original post about putting water out for the birds can create such a fuss

Sorry to upset you Ferdie.  I thought it was akin to a group of friends in a pub discussing something other than MPs expenses, the election, and all the other things that get up noses.

My thanks to Sasquartch for his research.  Mind boggling stuff and way beyond my 'O' level chemistry.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on December 18, 2010, 11:24:42 am
I think I may have found a way of beating the squirrels. I have hung nuts and seeds from an old basket ball stand. So far so good, although I am now feeling guilty about leaving the squirrels hungry, but they seem to be happy picking up the seeds and nuts that fall to the ground.

By the way, just read a piece on the RSPB site advising not to put turkey fat out for the birds, apparently it could kill them.

http://www.rspb.org.uk/news/266511-big-fat-no-for-birds (http://www.rspb.org.uk/news/266511-big-fat-no-for-birds)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: epiphany on December 18, 2010, 12:29:39 pm
David

My balls are freezing!

That is fat balls in case you were wondering, I thaw them out and then they just freeze again and the poor birds peck away to no avail.
You made a wise choice with your nuts (no pun intended) and seeds.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on December 18, 2010, 02:06:29 pm
For the highest calorific value, black sunflower seeds are about the best food you can buy as far as seed-eaters are concerned. Sunflower seeds without the husks are excellent, even if they are a little more expensive, and they don't leave a mess. Beef, pork and lamb fat is also very nutritious.

Our feeders have been extremely busy since it started snowing this morning, with goldfinches, greenfinches and blue tits in good numbers, with one or two siskins, coal tits and nuthatch. Also around 20 chaffinches feeding on spilt seed.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on December 18, 2010, 02:13:47 pm
Our feeders have been extremely busy since it started snowing this morning, with goldfinches, greenfinches and blue tits in good numbers, with one or two siskins, coal tits and nuthatch. Also around 20 chaffinches feeding on spilt seed.

Hi Nobby,

How do you stop the squirrels taking over?

David
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on December 18, 2010, 07:51:36 pm
Occasionally I throw something at them, but otherwise I let them gorge themselves.
The feeders encased in squirrel-proof wire cages are pretty effective.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on December 18, 2010, 09:20:16 pm
The feeders encased in squirrel-proof wire cages are pretty effective.

Until they learn to detach them, send them crashing to the ground and then eat all the food. Clever creatures.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Helen on December 18, 2010, 11:32:55 pm
I've heard that sprinkling a little tabasco sauce deters the squirrels rather effectively, whilst the birds aren't bothered by it. Haven't tried it ourselves as we don't seem to have a squirrel problem in our garden this year but I guess it's worth a go.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: PS on December 27, 2010, 02:02:05 pm
I have a gripe - not being wanted to be classed as a Scrooge, but can anyone suggest a cheap way of feeding these birds ? I have noticed over the last few days that the nuts they go through are phenomenal - 2 bags of quality nuts you buy for a Fiver at a local supermarket goes in a day, or two at most !!

I fill up the feeders practically daily and by the following day / evening they are all gone. Its costing me approx equivalent 80 - 90 pounds per month at this rate. I do not wish to starve them, and upset the wife at the same time by rationing them, but by the same token cannot continue feeding what appears to be the whole bird community of South Herts either.
 
Any ideas ??
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: BrookyP on December 27, 2010, 10:00:18 pm
PS

I had the same issue so looked on ebay and got approx 60 kilo for £30 delivered

the birds do nail this stuff so guess its better to buy in bulk. Trouble is where to put the sacks. We cant leave them in the shed as the mice nail it too. Currently its in the kitchen!!

ta bp
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on December 31, 2010, 06:00:18 pm
I buy 2x 25kg sacks of mixed seed from http://www.vinehousefarm.co.uk/acatalog/seedmixes.html
It costs £49 and is delivered to your door. It lasts for about 5 weeks at the current rate of consumption - about double that in the Summer.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Albert Ross on January 04, 2011, 02:21:07 pm
Try http://www.gjwtitmuss.co.uk Thats where we find the best prices.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on January 04, 2011, 02:46:17 pm
I buy 2x 25kg sacks of mixed seed from http://www.vinehousefarm.co.uk/acatalog/seedmixes.html
It costs £49 and is delivered to your door. It lasts for about 5 weeks at the current rate of consumption - about double that in the Summer.

Thanks Nobby. I have ordered some. Also ordered some squirrel proof feeders. I usually don't believe these things work, but relatives in Liverpool say they do. They have an aluminum sleeve that falls down to block the seed outlets if a squirrel climbs down. They have had them for two years and say it works. So two are on order. Will report back on the success.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Stainless-Steel-Squirrel-Proof-Feeder/dp/B000TAI9WW/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1293458871&sr=1-4 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Stainless-Steel-Squirrel-Proof-Feeder/dp/B000TAI9WW/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1293458871&sr=1-4)

Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on January 10, 2011, 10:54:10 am
I think we may have beaten the squirrels after years of trying. Our new bird feeders are attached to a branch with wire and have a piece of plastic tube around. Below, there is an aluminium tube. When the squirrels try to climb down the tube it slides down and covers the nuts and seeds. This morning a squirrel tried to get at the nuts but slide down the tube, jumped off, tried again and then, defeated ran away.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Buster on January 10, 2011, 01:46:06 pm
Where did you get them from?  I dont mind the squirrels but they do go through the food at some rate so it would be good to have another option available.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on January 10, 2011, 02:14:15 pm
Where did you get them from?  I dont mind the squirrels but they do go through the food at some rate so it would be good to have another option available.

Hi Buster,  we got ours off Amazon.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Stainless-Steel-Squirrel-Proof-Feeder/dp/B000TAI9WW/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1293458871&sr=1-4 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Stainless-Steel-Squirrel-Proof-Feeder/dp/B000TAI9WW/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1293458871&sr=1-4)

David
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Buster on January 10, 2011, 02:41:13 pm
thanks.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Buster on January 10, 2011, 02:49:25 pm
I have just clicked on the link - have you seen the customer image attached?  Squirrel hanging from the feeder!!!
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on January 10, 2011, 04:47:05 pm
I have just clicked on the link - have you seen the customer image attached?  Squirrel hanging from the feeder!!!

Couldn't find the customer image, but these squirrels are clever fellas. The instructions make clear that you need to have them a certain minimum distance from the ground to stop the squirrels jumping up and hanging on the perches, and a certain distance from other vantage spots.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on January 10, 2011, 05:10:49 pm
have you seen the customer image attached?  Squirrel hanging from the feeder!!!

Just found the image, thanks Buster.  Attached below. My guess is that the feeder must have been too close to the ground or to another vantage point.  Mind you, I will probably post tomorrow to report that the squirrels have got the step ladder out of the shed.

 :)

Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Bob Horrocks on January 10, 2011, 06:29:25 pm
Not directly concerned with the original topic but linked to recent postings.  I went to the Isle of Wight at Christmas and saw this sign. Not sure what I was supposed to do if I saw one.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: sasquartch on January 11, 2011, 09:31:58 am
The Isle of Wight is one of the few remaining areas where red squirrels thrive, not having been driven out by the grey squirrel. On holiday there a few years ago actually saw a few (apparently for a given acreage of woodland only a few reds can survive compared with many more grey squirrels) which was a comparitively rare sight.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on February 15, 2011, 10:21:52 am
Just had a great spotted woodpecker eating the peanuts from our bird feeder. Seems it was swallowing them whole.  Could this be dangerous for it?
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on February 16, 2011, 08:03:53 pm
Hello Dave - Swallowing peanuts whole is standard feeding behaviour for woodpeckers. As they don't have teeth it's pretty difficult for them to chew into smaller pieces before digesting. Birds have extremely potent digestive juices!
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on February 17, 2011, 07:22:55 am
Thanks Nobby. Great to watch the woodpecker getting stuck into the peanuts. The jackdaws enjoy them, too.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on February 18, 2011, 06:51:55 pm
Our garden highlights recently have been Siskins (37+ coming to sunflower hearts) today, with 3 Ring-Necked Parakeets feeding on the mixed seed yesterday.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on February 18, 2011, 07:31:28 pm
Our garden highlights recently have been Siskins (37+ coming to sunflower hearts) today, with 3 Ring-Necked Parakeets feeding on the mixed seed yesterday.

Unfair, Nobby, why do you get all the interesting visitors?

 :)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on March 15, 2011, 10:18:11 am
Just had a parakeet on the nuts. Lovely bird.

(http://www.rspb.org.uk/images/cache/parakeet300_tcm9-174176_v2.jpg)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on March 15, 2011, 04:08:37 pm
Not a great pic because I couldn't find my camera.

Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: epiphany on March 15, 2011, 04:39:53 pm
I hope they do not start roosting anywhere round here!
Have you heard the racket they make in large numbers in West London?
Sounds like the Amazonian Rainforest, assuming there still is a rainforest?
Maybe that's why they are here.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: peppermint on March 18, 2011, 10:35:23 am
If they can give the local crows a run for their money I'm all for them staying  :)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Smurf on March 18, 2011, 04:27:54 pm
Couldn't believe it when I saw 3 green parakeets tucking in to the feeders in my garden...amazing!
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Ferdie on March 18, 2011, 07:04:09 pm
They were in Barnet some years ago, so it was only a matter of time before they reached BP.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Richard Sutton on May 08, 2011, 09:40:03 pm
I was amazed yesterday afternoon to find a very noisy green parrot with a red nose sitting in a willow tree at the back of my garden. Not sure if its an escaped pet, or a wild parrot such as those that seem to be spotted throughout the country recently.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on May 08, 2011, 09:58:57 pm
I was amazed yesterday afternoon to find a very noisy green parrot with a red nose sitting in a willow tree at the back of my garden. Not sure if its an escaped pet, or a wild parrot such as those that seem to be spotted throughout the country recently.


Check a few posts earlier in this thread  (http://www.brookmans.com/forum/index.php/topic,2914.msg24642.html#msg24642)where you will find out more about the parakeets.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on June 10, 2011, 10:20:32 am
All go in our garden. Looks like two families of hedge sparrows, two families of blue tits and one family of great tits all settled in with the parents working full time feeding the chicks.  And then there are the jackdaws, wood pigeons, magpies and collared dove. The robins and the dunnocks are picking up the bits.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on June 10, 2011, 10:22:51 am
Just read this on the WHT site. Disgraceful. What sort of person animal would do this?
Quote
Buzzard illegally shot dead near Welwyn (http://www.whtimes.co.uk/news/buzzard_illegally_shot_dead_near_welwyn_1_915605)

The raptor was felled with a shotgun on the cusp of the village and Wheathampstead and Sandridge, near the John Bunyan pub and Lemsford Road. And police are trying to snare the bird of prey’s killer. Rural and wildlife officer, Sergeant Jamie Bartlett, said: “It is really sad that this buzzard’s dependents may not be able to fend for themselves and may have died as a result of their mother being shot.  More... (http://www.whtimes.co.uk/news/buzzard_illegally_shot_dead_near_welwyn_1_915605)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on June 10, 2011, 11:37:18 am
Sorry to be hogging this thread this morning but I think we have a family of dunnocks in the garden, too.  Proud parent showing fledglings the ropes. Can't get on with my work there is so much going on.

:)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Aloo on June 10, 2011, 11:49:04 am
If the incinerator goes ahead the only birds we'll have round here will be crows picking at torn black bags.    :(
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: chicken legs on June 10, 2011, 06:06:04 pm
That's confusing, David, as Hedge Sparrows are Dunnocks  :icon_scratch:
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Ferdie on June 10, 2011, 08:24:02 pm
If the incinerator goes ahead the only birds we'll have round here will be crows picking at torn black bags.    :(
Come to Hatfield now, there are plenty of black bags already left lying around here, crows, magpies, starlings, blackbirds all having a feast. In addition to the domestic cats and dogs who love them too, I have seen rats. I can assure you all wildlife abounds in the rubbish! And I have a plethora of emails to our Council and Letting Agents complaining, there's no shortage of bin bags incinerator or none.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on June 10, 2011, 09:25:25 pm
That's confusing, David, as Hedge Sparrows are Dunnocks  :icon_scratch:

Sorry my mistake. I meant house sparrow and dunnock. Apologies.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: chicken legs on June 10, 2011, 10:06:41 pm
Nice to know you've got house sparrows too  :)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on June 18, 2011, 09:06:38 am
The parakeets are back.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: BrookyP on June 18, 2011, 09:45:43 am
david thats very cool

whats the secret of getting them in the garden-I need my fix of surban melbourne garden in BP

bp
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on June 18, 2011, 10:30:09 am
david thats very cool

whats the secret of getting them in the garden-I need my fix of surban melbourne garden in BP

bp

Loads of nuts and seeds in squirrel-proof feeders.

 :)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on June 24, 2011, 07:10:15 am
I have just been watching a great tit with an unusual long, curved beak struggling to feed on our feeders.  It's beak looks like the beak of a treecreeper.  I can't take a photograph of it because my camera is not that good, but I have adapted this picture from one of my bird books to try to illustrate what it looks like.  I searched the web and found this article about the deformity.

http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/227533/Bent-beaks-are-the-squawk-of-the-town (http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/227533/Bent-beaks-are-the-squawk-of-the-town)

Has anyone else seen birds with deformed beaks? 

Would be interested in Nobby's input.

David
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: BrookyP on June 24, 2011, 07:42:44 am
maybe its an optional add on from

pimpyourbeak.com


bp
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: EvieMay on June 24, 2011, 09:21:35 am
In domesticated birds this kind of deformity is usually caused by a malapposition of the jaw which doesn't allow the normal wearing down of the 'horny' part of the beak, hence some parrots and budgies needing frequent beak clipping.  It's certainly very common in the aforementioned species.  Some of the examples in the article were extreme (the starling notably) and I'm surprised they've survived. 
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Beppy on June 24, 2011, 05:57:46 pm
British Trust for Ornithology are carrying out a survey on this problem as many Garden Birdwatch survey members have reported deformed beaks on garden birds.  More info can be found on www.bto.org (http://www.bto.org) and search on Big Garden Beak Watch.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on June 26, 2011, 11:07:28 pm
We had a blackbird with a deformed beak for most of the winter of 2009/10. It seemed to survive the cold snap without too many problems. I think it met its end at the claws of a sparrowhawk.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on June 29, 2011, 07:09:03 am
Update for anyone worried about our great tit with the long, deformed beak. It seems to be doing fine. It was on the nuts today and was using the long curved beak with impressive dexterity. It looks healthy, a bit fat in fact and extremely active.

David
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on June 30, 2011, 07:55:47 am
I am merging a few existing threads with a new title and using the change to upload a few pictures of breakfast at ours today.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/june2011/1.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/june2011/2.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/june2011/5.jpg)

Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on June 30, 2011, 09:05:38 am
And here are a few of the great tit with the long, curved beak.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/june2011/3.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/june2011/4.jpg)

It looks healthy enough. 
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Bob Horrocks on June 30, 2011, 01:37:42 pm
A neighbour reported a grey cockatoo (or similar) in his garden recently.  The other reports and photos have been of green ones.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on July 02, 2011, 08:44:21 am
Short video of juvenile great tit on feeder in our garden - cute.

http://yfrog.us/j3nv0z (http://yfrog.us/j3nv0z)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on July 02, 2011, 09:41:00 am
Nice to have a great spotted woodpecker join us for breakfast this morning. 

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/july11/woodpecker1.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/july11/woodpecker2.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/july11/woodpecker3.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/july11/woodpecker4.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/july11/woodpecker5.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/july11/woodpecker6.jpg)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on July 02, 2011, 10:35:35 am
FYI, if anyone likes any pictures in this thread (and in the forum generally) there is a new feature to allow you to share them. 

Hover over the image and you get an invitation to 'click to share'.

Click and it will reveal a host of sharing options including Twitter, Facebook, Email, Print, Google, Digg etc. 

Just click on one and the pic is either posted to your social networks, printed or emailed to you or anyone else.

David
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: chicken legs on July 02, 2011, 11:23:44 pm
I think the video is a juvenile blue tit, David - very nice.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: EvieMay on July 03, 2011, 12:01:21 am
Lovely photos  :)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on July 10, 2011, 04:40:18 pm
Been trying out a zoom lens at Gobions Pond. The one of the moorhen was far away and a bit out of focus, but I like the reflection.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/july11/tufted_duck.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/july11/moorhen.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/july11/duck.jpg)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: EvieMay on July 10, 2011, 09:00:35 pm
Great shots!  How do you add photos? 
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on July 11, 2011, 06:02:37 am
For those concerned about the tit with the deformed beak, some good news. It looks as though the bottom part has dropped off. It appears as though only the top part of the beak is too long now. Perhaps that will break off at some point. Some pictures from this morning.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/july11/beaky1.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/july11/beaky2.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/july11/breaky3.jpg)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on July 11, 2011, 06:57:20 am
The ring-necked parakeet (http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/birdguide/name/r/ringneckedparakeet/) has just arrived for its breakfast.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/july11/parrot3.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/july11/parrot4.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/july11/parrot.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/july11/parrot2.jpg)

Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on July 11, 2011, 09:45:49 am
Great shots!  How do you add photos? 

Hi EvieMay,

Sorry, didn't spot your question when I uploaded the last shots.

There are three ways of adding photos to this forum. 


I look forward to seeing your pictures.[/list]
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on July 12, 2011, 06:53:05 am
Sad scenes in the garden this morning when we lost one of the regular visitors to a sparrowhawk (I think it's a sparrowhawk, perhaps someone can confirm).  Very sad, but that's nature.

http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/birdguide/name/s/sparrowhawk/index.aspx (http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/birdguide/name/s/sparrowhawk/index.aspx)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/july11/sparrowhawk.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/july11/sparrowhawk2.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/july11/sparrowhawk3.jpg)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: BrookyP on July 12, 2011, 08:05:44 am
I have to say its all going on in your garden. best I can muster at the moment is a few pigeons and a blackbird....
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on July 12, 2011, 08:36:54 am
We have them, too. My wife thinks I am being elitist in not taking pictures of them.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: ADM on July 12, 2011, 10:45:52 am
Is it because they is black?
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Buster on July 12, 2011, 10:54:27 am
Is it because they is black?

The pigeons? :o
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on July 12, 2011, 11:42:31 pm
Nice shot of a male Sparrowhawk, and the Tufted Duck looks good too.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on July 13, 2011, 07:35:20 am
Hoping for a more peaceful morning. The sparrowhawk was impressive but the circumstances were upsetting.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: EvieMay on July 17, 2011, 02:12:01 pm
I know some consider them pests but I think they are beautiful.  Canada Geese taking food from our hands, Gobion's, 14th July 2011.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on July 17, 2011, 05:13:10 pm
Very nice EvieMay, thanks for sharing.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on July 24, 2011, 02:07:07 pm
Not quite garden birds, but a walk around Brookmans Park today produced some nice suprises.
Highlights were a Wood Warbler (a very rare bird in Herts), and a family of Spotted Flycatchers in the woodland strip between the golf club and Chancellors School. Also a Red Kite over the garden, and some very noisy newly fledged youg Buzzards calling from Peplins Wood.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Pescarese on July 25, 2011, 11:23:31 am
Hello Nobby, like you I saw the buzzards yesterday over Peplins Wood. However, I was not lucky enough to see the spotted flycatchers and wood warbler - neither of which I have  seen before in the area. Were you able to see these from the path round the back of Chancellor's school?
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on July 28, 2011, 12:04:47 am
Yes, they were seen from the path. I expect the Wood Warbler has moved on by now, but the flycatcher family is probably still in the general vicinity.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Pescarese on July 28, 2011, 11:27:35 am
Hi Nobby, thanks for the reply. I went and had a look last night but no joy I'm afraid. By the way, have you ever seen any Lesser Spotted Woodpecker in the vicinity? I believe one was recorded in the same place a few months ago.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on July 28, 2011, 10:49:16 pm
Yes, I saw a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker last year in the oaks between the small paddock and the south-eastern edge of the the golf course - viewable from Golf Course Road. I also had one calling this summer to the rear of Bluebridge Road.
They are very elusive and getting rarer, but I think there's probably a pair at the golf club. Not being a member, I haven't had the chance to do a thorough check.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Pescarese on July 29, 2011, 09:22:51 am
Thanks Nobby, I've been regularly birdwatching in the area for 8 years now and am still yet to see one of these. I'd certainly be interested in any other uncommon bird sightings you may have made in the area.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: BrookyP on July 29, 2011, 10:29:03 am
Not uncommon but saw a pair of goldfinches feeding on plants at the Railway station car park....very tame and was about 5 feet from them for about 2 mins while they got stuck in to some seeding plants....great stuff..
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Pescarese on July 29, 2011, 11:55:18 am
Always a pleasure to see goldfinches. I've got a couple that spend most of the day feeding on niger seed from a feeder in my garden.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on July 31, 2011, 09:11:51 am
For anyone worried about the bird with the deformed beak, it seems to be surviving, as do a few of the other regular visitors. I like the way the dunnock clears up on the floor and pecks at whatever the others drop.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/july11/tit.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/july11/tit2.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/july11/parakeet.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/july11/dunnock.jpg)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: EvieMay on July 31, 2011, 08:55:01 pm
Love your photos David :).
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on August 01, 2011, 07:11:36 am
Breakfast in our garden and the great spotted woodpecker is back.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/august11/woodpeckernuts1.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/august11/woodpeckernuts2.jpg)

Also a song thrust, I think, taken in Gobions yesterday with zoom on max.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/august11/song_thrush.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/august11/songthrust2.jpg)

Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on August 02, 2011, 09:20:29 am
Great spotted woodpecker having breakfast, this time caught on video.

Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on August 02, 2011, 09:26:45 am
And the ring-necked parakeet has been around this morning, too. Captured on video.

Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on August 03, 2011, 07:17:15 am
BBC Radio 4's Today programme suggested that avian pox could be spread by contaminated feeders. Seems it is spreading from SE England. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14380813 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14380813)

Quote
A virus affecting garden birds is spreading to new parts of the UK, researchers are warning.

This form of avian pox causes lesions, often around the eyes and beak.

The virus, affecting great tits, is believed to be a new and more severe strain of a disease that has affected other bird species for several decades.

When it was first found in the UK in 2006 it seemed to be confined to south-east England, but has now spread further north and west.

Perhaps those of us with feeders should wash feeders in boiling water between fills?

David
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: stevea on August 03, 2011, 10:37:40 am
Lorikeets on the balcony in Brisbane
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on August 08, 2011, 10:49:08 am
Had a visit from a nuthatch this morning. Pity it was on the shady side of the nuts.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/august11/nuthatch.jpg)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: epiphany on August 08, 2011, 12:10:49 pm
the shady side of the nuts.


Was'nt that a Pink Floyd album?
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on August 08, 2011, 12:13:42 pm
the shady side of the nuts.


Was'nt that a Pink Floyd album?

I see you had an interesting and possibly complex 70s

 ;)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on August 31, 2011, 09:16:55 am
Spotted a deformed sparrow on the seeds this morning. At first I thought it was just having a bad hair day, but on closer inspection (via a telephoto lens), it looks like it's got a growth on the back of its head. Otherwise, it seems healthy enough and is eating well. Nobby, have you seen this before?

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/august11/birdside2.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/august11/birdbackofhead1.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/august11/birdsideview1.jpg)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on August 31, 2011, 06:46:10 pm
Hi Dave,
It looks like a nasty lesion on the back of the sparrow's head. I've seen them in the same place on female mallards. This is caused by aggressively amorous males during "courtship", when the male holds the female down with its beak..
However, I haven't seen this on a sparrow before.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on August 31, 2011, 06:57:11 pm
Hi Dave,
It looks like a nasty lesion on the back of the sparrow's head. I've seen them in the same place on female mallards. This is caused by aggressively amorous males during "courtship", when the male holds the female down with its beak..
However, I haven't seen this on a sparrow before.

Thanks Nobby, perhaps it will get better once the male loses interest. The bird looked fairly healthy otherwise, and was back again this afternoon.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on September 25, 2011, 09:06:57 am
Because they like to have fun.

 :)

Short clip (25 seconds) and a bit wobbly because of distance and zoom, but nice to watch.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAED0w2ZAu4 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAED0w2ZAu4)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: green jelly bean on September 25, 2011, 02:23:22 pm
 :D That's so lovely. Thanks for posting
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Bedlam on September 25, 2011, 04:02:03 pm
Where's the 'Save water, bath with a friend' sign?  :icon_scratch:  :icon_jokercolor:
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: EvieMay on September 25, 2011, 05:23:35 pm
This is lovely David, thanks for posting  :)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: EvieMay on September 26, 2011, 11:30:18 pm
Hi Dave,
It looks like a nasty lesion on the back of the sparrow's head. I've seen them in the same place on female mallards. This is caused by aggressively amorous males during "courtship", when the male holds the female down with its beak..
However, I haven't seen this on a sparrow before.

Thanks Nobby, perhaps it will get better once the male loses interest. The bird looked fairly healthy otherwise, and was back again this afternoon.

Forgive me for butting in to your conversation  :),  but male sparrows do not grasp their mates during courtship as the rather over-amorous duck does so it won't be that.  More likely to be caused by excessive scratching due to a parasite or an old, healing wound of some description.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on September 27, 2011, 04:31:18 pm
My new best mate...

Here is the deal.  I faff around in the garden and, in doing so, unearth dinner.  I also provide bathing facilities (see vid above) and drinking water (see pic below).   In return, the robin comes right up to me and let's me take intimate photos. Everyone's a winner.  Click on the images for higher quality pics (and click again once it's loaded to zoom in) , they are really big images and worth enlarging if you have the time and inclination. My favourite is the first one, but the detail in the last is amazing.

(http://www.brookmans.com/birds/garden/robin2.jpg) (http://www.brookmans.com/birds/garden/IMG_2462.JPG)

(http://www.brookmans.com/birds/garden/robin1.jpg) (http://www.brookmans.com/birds/garden/IMG_2465.JPG)

(http://www.brookmans.com/birds/garden/robin4.jpg) (http://www.brookmans.com/birds/garden/IMG_2459.JPG)

(http://www.brookmans.com/birds/garden/robin3.jpg) (http://www.brookmans.com/birds/garden/IMG_2471.JPG)

(http://www.brookmans.com/birds/garden/robin5.jpg) (http://www.brookmans.com/birds/garden/IMG_2470.JPG)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: EvieMay on September 27, 2011, 09:25:42 pm
Lovely :)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on September 29, 2011, 03:04:47 pm
Question for Nobby.  Do robins play dead, and, if so, why?  The one that assists me with my gardening has taken to lying in the soil as if it's just crash landed from a great height. Then when it sees that I am taking no notice - after having taken its picture, of course - it gets up and acts like a normal bird. What is it up to?

(http://www.brookmans.com/birds/garden/robinplayingdead800.jpg)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Alfred the Great on September 29, 2011, 07:42:56 pm
Mother birds sometimes do this to attract the attention of predators, so that their offspring can get away. Hence ending the pretence when you're not looking. Can you hear any high pitched squeaks (from elsewhere in the garden) when she does this?
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: ADM on September 30, 2011, 09:15:30 am
It looks to me as if he/she is basking in the sun, spreading all feathers to maximise the heat absorption, a good source of energy (like worms).
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on September 30, 2011, 09:57:44 am
Hi
Mother birds sometimes do this to attract the attention of predators, so that their offspring can get away. Hence ending the pretence when you're not looking. Can you hear any high pitched squeaks (from elsewhere in the garden) when she does this?

Hi Alfred,  No, there was no noise. The bird just seemed to be enjoying the dusty earth, recently turned over by me and which had become dry and sandy.

It looks to me as if he/she is basking in the sun, spreading all feathers to maximise the heat absorption, a good source of energy (like worms).

I hope so, and this may be the case because, soon after, it hopped up to a small container of water I had put out and splashed around. So it didn't look in distress.

Perhaps they spread their feathers in the sun and roll in the dusty soil to dislodge parasites and then splash around to wash them off. Could that be it?

Where is Nobby when you need him.

Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: EvieMay on September 30, 2011, 11:48:51 am
Absolutely!  Most birds enjoy basking in the sun, you should see my chickens lazing around when the sun shines!
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Beppy on September 30, 2011, 04:41:50 pm
You may also spot blackbirds and house sparrows doing this too.  There is a hen blackbird who regularly sunbathes in a corner of my garden.  Some theories are that it helps rid them of mites, etc in their feathers.
P.S.  Thanks for the beautiful robins photos.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on September 30, 2011, 08:00:17 pm
The article below provides a solid explanation of the reasons for sunning:-

There are several theories about bird sunning behavior, and in fact birds often sun for different reasons. In cold weather or early in the day, birds sun themselves for warmth by taking advantage of solar radiation. This allows them to maintain their body temperature without expending as much energy from food, and it can increase their chances of survival in cold climates or when food is scarce.

Many birds are observed sunning even on the hottest days, however, and it is believed that sunning can fulfill purposes other than just temperature regulation. Sunning can help birds convert compounds in their preening oil – secreted from a gland at the base of the tail – into vitamin D, which is essential for good health. If the birds have been in a birdbath, sunning can help their feathers dry more quickly. It is even believed that some birds sun themselves for pure enjoyment and relaxation, much the same way humans will sunbathe.

The most important reason for sunning, however, is to maintain feather health. Sunning can dislodge feather parasites because the excess heat will encourage insects to move to other places in a bird's plumage. This will give the bird easier access to get rid of those parasites when preening, and birds are frequently seen preening immediately after sunning. It is essential to get rid of these parasites – the tiny insects that infect feathers can cause problems for a bird's flight, insulation and appearance, all of which can impact its survival.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on October 21, 2011, 07:02:22 pm
Autumn migration was in full swing in the early hours of this morning. The highlight was 3 Crossbills and a Lesser Redpoll over the station. Also lots of Redwing and Wood Pigeon going over the village.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Therock on October 24, 2011, 03:31:32 pm
I have had 2 parakeets in my garden, They were bright green and had red round the neck.  They were after my grape vine. Managed to get a phot of one in the tree.  This is the 2nd time this week I have seen them.

Thank God I had not been on the wine, Saw a  news programme on saturday thet there are approx 35,000 wild parakeets in britain.  Global warming Love it. 
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on October 24, 2011, 03:35:43 pm
Hi Therock,

We get them on the nuts every day now. This link takes you to some pictures.

http://www.brookmans.com/forum/index.php/topic,2914.msg25690.html#msg25690 (http://www.brookmans.com/forum/index.php/topic,2914.msg25690.html#msg25690)

(I have merged your thread with the existing discussion)

David
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Therock on October 24, 2011, 05:11:27 pm
David, It must be that Moffats Lane is the Warmest place in our Village, Just waiting for the Macaws to arrive.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on October 24, 2011, 05:15:40 pm
David, It must be that Moffats Lane is the Warmest place in our Village, Just waiting for the Macaws to arrive.

Whatever it is it's fun to watch. We had four parakeets in our garden recently. I notice that some have clear red rings around the necks, others have blue flashes in their tails, some have more yellow. They are extremely attractive birds.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: chicken legs on October 24, 2011, 09:32:28 pm
Do they keep the smaller birds away from the feeders, David?  Does that include house sparrows?  We have had a small colony of them which we have cherished for twenty years or more and I dread the arrival of the parakeets.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on October 24, 2011, 09:47:03 pm
Do they keep the smaller birds away from the feeders, David?  Does that include house sparrows?  We have had a small colony of them which we have cherished for twenty years or more and I dread the arrival of the parakeets.

No, they all seem to coexist quite happily. The parakeets only turn up twice a day and for about 10 minutes. The other birds seem to hang around and clear up the seeds they drop.  Sparrows seem happy. All getting on fine, it seems.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: larrylamb on October 24, 2011, 11:03:17 pm
David, It must be that Moffats Lane is the Warmest place in our Village, Just waiting for the Macaws to arrive.
does the mrs know you are expecting some birds round?
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Therock on October 25, 2011, 01:40:33 pm
Mr Lamb, Can you please return the DVDs of the Birds. Hope you Had a Good Tweet.  Quite sure the Wife if you have One would be suprised that you are a Real Twitterer.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: chicken legs on October 25, 2011, 08:33:24 pm
Thanks, David.  Very reassuring.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Local Walker on October 25, 2011, 11:30:19 pm
http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/13524396 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/13524396)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on October 26, 2011, 08:11:09 am
http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/13524396 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/13524396)

Hi Local Walker,

Thanks for sharing that link. I read the piece but I think the journalistic interpretation of the scientific research is misleading.

In our garden the other birds seem fine when the parakeets visit. The parakeets only visit about twice a day and stay for about 10 mins.

The rest of the regulars, tits, sparrows, dunnocks, robins, chaffinches etc etc, just hang about. Some are faffing around below the feeders picking up the bits. There is not a great senses of disturbance or stress. Then the parakeets go and the other garden birds return.  All seems fine.

If we had done what the researchers did and put a caged parakeet next to our feeders all day long, then I guess it would deter garden birds. But we haven't, and I don't think many people in Brookmans Park or the rest of the UK would do that either.

So the research is probably true; parakeets probably would scare garden birds away if caged next to the nuts. But they are not, and they don't.

And I have never seen a parakeet attack or show any aggression to the others. 

By the way, in future, would you mind adding one line of context to a post where you add a link. It helps explain to others what you found to be important in the article and will help people decide whether to click on it or not.

Thanks

David
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Webman on October 29, 2011, 10:25:19 am
Parakeets in Peplins this morning. Later chased off by crows.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on October 29, 2011, 10:56:04 am
Hi Webman, great pics. Thanks for sharing and welcome to the forum.

By the way, I saw our robin chase the parakeets yesterday, so I am not sure they are the bullies in our garden.

 :)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Greybeard on November 24, 2011, 08:48:38 am
This November the herons seem more persistent than in previous years about paying attention to our garden fishpond, and we have seen more of them.

Anyone else seeing this? Are there more herons about this year, or are they just hungrier?
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Buster on November 24, 2011, 03:13:43 pm
We have unfortunately also suffered with the heron.  Our pond is very close to the house so in the past they have resisted - i wondered if they were hungrier.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on November 24, 2011, 06:43:21 pm
There are more herons around at this time of year because, firstly, there will be this year's new crop of youngsters. Food is also scarcer now because one of their major food sources, frogs, go into hibernation, and fish are also more difficult to find as, in colder temperatures, they tend to live at greater depths. So, the herons have to visit a wider range of habitat to find food.
It's tough being a young heron - 74% die, mainly of starvation, before they reach their second birthday.
But, if your sympathies lie more with the fish, some cheap netting, from any decent garden centres, spread across the pond will deter herons, in most cases.
Personally, I'd love to have a heron visit my pond.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: BrookyP on November 24, 2011, 07:01:57 pm
they can clean out a standard (unprotected) garden pond in about 10 minutes. One even tried to take a 7lb crucian carp we had. It was so badly mauled we had to dispatch it. they are not good to have round ponds...unless of course its a stock clearance for next spring your after
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: epiphany on November 24, 2011, 10:24:31 pm
A question for Nobby...

I regularly see a heron in a field of long grass looking like it is stalking (not storking!) what would

it be hunting for?
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on November 25, 2011, 07:28:17 pm
Epiphany, Herons are, by no means, exclusively fish eaters, and will take quite a wide variety of prey. Rats, mice, frogs, toads and large insects will all be eaten enthusiastically.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: chicken legs on November 25, 2011, 10:30:32 pm
The person who first guided me into birding said that he once saw a heron eat a coot.  It took half-an-hour to get it down.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Yailspin on December 01, 2011, 01:36:46 pm
Is this warm weather confusing our poor birds?  Our resident pair of Wood Pigeons introduced their latest off-spring to us today.  To say we were somewhat surprised is an understatement.  Is it usual for Woodies to be breeding at this time of the year?
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: chicken legs on December 01, 2011, 02:28:09 pm
A song thrush has been singing near us for a week and the earliest I've heard it before was Christmas Day.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on December 13, 2011, 02:13:10 pm
The parakeets looked nice in the morning sunshine today.

Click on the image for a larger version.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/december11/parrot1.jpg) (http://www.brookmans.com/news/december11/IMG_3165.JPG)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/december11/parrot2.jpg) (http://www.brookmans.com/news/december11/IMG_3167.JPG)

Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on January 09, 2012, 03:12:34 pm
Had a green woodpecker enjoying the roots under our lawn this afternoon. If you want to see the original size click on the image once and then click again when the new page loads.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/january12/3290small.jpg) (http://www.brookmans.com/news/january12/IMG_3290.JPG)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/january12/3289small.jpg) (http://www.brookmans.com/news/january12/IMG_3289.JPG)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/january12/3275small.jpg) (http://www.brookmans.com/news/january12/IMG_3275.JPG)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/january12/3273small.jpg) (http://www.brookmans.com/news/january12/IMG_3273.JPG)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on January 14, 2012, 12:04:32 pm
The robin in our front garden is singing a lot these days. Managed to get a few shots with an 840 zoom for anyone interested.  Click on image to reveal a larger picture and click again for an even closer view.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/january12/robin1small.jpg) (http://www.brookmans.com/news/january12/robin1big.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/january12/robin2small.jpg) (http://www.brookmans.com/news/january12/robin2big.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/january12/robin3small.jpg) (http://www.brookmans.com/news/january12/robin3big.jpg)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: chicken legs on January 14, 2012, 03:12:44 pm
More lovely pictures, David.  I meant to mention that your brillian green woodpecker is a male.  Unlike us, it's the males who wear the "lipstick".  The moustache is black in the female.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Webman on January 22, 2012, 12:33:17 pm
Taken this week but not sure of identity. Currently considering Linnet or Redpoll but neither match that well according to our books. Last picture shows a red stripe across the head and there is one with a blue tit for size comparison. Any opinions?
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on January 22, 2012, 06:04:13 pm
That's a very nice shot of a Lesser Redpoll. The combination of the red cap (or poll) and small black bib below the bill clinch the ID. The amount of pink in the brest suggests this is a male. They are uncommon visitors to gardens, but are are increasingly visiting feeders in Winter. They are particularly partial to nyjer seed, although from what I can see of the contents of your feeder, not in this case.
I'm very envious - I can only recall attracting redpolls to our feeders twice in 15 years.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on January 22, 2012, 06:23:43 pm
On a sadder note, while walking in the fields to the south-west of the Vet College by the Mimmshall Brook this morning, I found a dead Buzzard. Suspecting it had been illegally killed, I called the police. They turned up very promptly, and an examination of the corpse revealed that it had been shot.
This was a nasty pointless crime and I would urge all visitors to this forum to call Herts police on the 101 number if you are a witness to, or are made aware of, similar offences. The perpetrators will doubtless carry on doing this until they are caught, or believe there is a good chance they will be caught.
The police response was excellent, and they will treat these incidents with the gravity they deserve.
The officers also mentioned that they had already been busy investigating (potentially) illegal shooting in North Mymms Park this morning. So, the killing of the Buzzard is quite possibly not an isolated offence.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Webman on January 23, 2012, 09:13:59 am
Thank you for the info, Nobby, and well done! I have now found some similar photos on the web but was put off because the images did not look like a good match. There is obviously a huge variation in chest colour with some (female?) having no red at all. Here is a picture on the RSPB site http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/birdguide/name/l/lesserredpoll/index.aspx (http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/birdguide/name/l/lesserredpoll/index.aspx).

By the way, we were walking around North Mymms yesterday and what with shotguns, helicopters, and several squad cars it was starting to feel more like Midsomer. I hope the police response will put off further shooting expeditions.


(Note: image removed for copyright reasons)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on January 23, 2012, 03:19:27 pm
Hi Webman, great pictures, thanks for sharing. I have removed the RSPB picture because the site has copyright notices and they don't appear to be released under Creative Commons. I have put a link in your post to the page with the image on instead.

David
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Yailspin on January 26, 2012, 07:10:02 am
Had this chap visit us yesterday.  Seems quite relaxed coming up close to us.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on January 29, 2012, 08:48:19 am
Don't forget it's the Great British Bird Watch this weekend.

http://www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch/?gclid=CNmj5Jjs9K0CFdQTfAodfSEAuQ (http://www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch/?gclid=CNmj5Jjs9K0CFdQTfAodfSEAuQ)

David
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on January 29, 2012, 12:00:08 pm
Proof of two old sayings this morning as a pair of collar doves figure out how to get under the roof of our new bird table.  It took them 10 mins to figure it out, but patience is a virtue and practice makes perfect and they got there in the end.  I like the one where the bird's eye is closed as it enjoys the seed.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/january12/collardove1.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/january12/collardove2.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/january12/collardove3.jpg)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on January 30, 2012, 06:49:56 pm
Two Waxwing flew over the northern end of Bluebridge Road this morning, trilling.
My first sightings this Winter, in stark contrast to last year's Waxwing-fest.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on February 04, 2012, 04:43:26 pm
A question for Nobby.

The last few days I have broken the ice on our water trays so the birds could have a drink.  Two days running, in freezing cold weather, the robins and tits have had baths! 

What are they up to?  Do they not feel the cold?

David
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on February 04, 2012, 08:48:09 pm
Going to answer my own question having searched online.  Apparently, they do it to help them fluff up their feathers so they can keep warm in extreme temperatures.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on February 06, 2012, 02:55:53 pm
A few cold visitors taken over the weekend. Excuse the quality, the images are with a long zoom, particularly the robin and the thrush.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/february12/bluetit.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/february12/greenfinches.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/february12/blackbird.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/february12/blackbird2.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/february12/robin.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/february12/thrush.jpg)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: chicken legs on February 07, 2012, 09:25:11 am
In fact they are very crisp pictures, David.  And is the feeder brand new, or are you very good at cleaning and polishing them?  Mine don't stay that way for long.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on February 07, 2012, 09:36:49 am
In fact they are very crisp pictures, David.  And is the feeder brand new, or are you very good at cleaning and polishing them?  Mine don't stay that way for long.

I think the feeder is about a year old now, but I do clean it every so often because it gets caked with wet seed. Got some nice pics of a wagtail this morning which I will upload for anyone else interested.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on February 07, 2012, 09:56:53 am
In fact they are very crisp pictures, David.

Hi chicken legs, the zoom is very powerful but the images of distant birds is never as clear as closer shots. Here is an example.

The first two pictures are taken from the same spot. The first on wide angle and the second on maximum zoom (800). The dot at the top of the tree to the right of the evergreen is the greenfinch on the second picture.  Amazing that you can even see the buds on the tree and the green flash on the bird

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/february12/zoom.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/february12/greenfinchzoom1.jpg)

This third picture is taken about 10 foot away from the bird.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/february12/wagtail.jpg)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Webman on February 08, 2012, 10:43:00 am
Some recent visitors to add to the collection
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Webman on February 08, 2012, 10:51:50 am
It is hard enough capturing wildlife let alone getting the level of detail of some previous pictures so well done! After weeding out the worst of the camera shake and 'focussed somewhere else' shots here are the best of my recent shots
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Webman on February 08, 2012, 10:54:41 am
I keep blowing the file limit - last two. The second was hard to see let alone photograph but we suspect it is a snipe???
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: chicken legs on February 08, 2012, 11:40:49 am
Wow, what a rare garden visitor, Webman.  It certainly looks like a Snipe - nobby will tell us if it's common or Jack Snipe.

Keep up the lovely pictures both of you.

Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on February 08, 2012, 12:49:20 pm
I keep blowing the file limit - last two. The second was hard to see let alone photograph but we suspect it is a snipe???

Wonderful pictures Webman, thanks for uploading. Perhaps Nobby can help identify.

If you have your own server space you can upload larger pics there (800 pixels wide work well).  You then copy the url, paste it into your post and then use the insert image button to display it. 

It produces this code.
Code: [Select]
[img][/img]  If you put the url to your image in there you will be able to display much bigger images.

David

Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on February 08, 2012, 06:29:25 pm
Those are great pictures, Webman. Since the cold snap began, I've come across a few Snipe in unusual places, but never one in my garden. The bird at the rear is definitely a Common Snipe, and I'd go for Common Snipe for the one in the middle as well. The foremost bird looks quite a bit smaller, but I'm not sure whether that's a trick of the camera angle. Also, the Jack Snipe has a much shorter bill, and because it has a darker back the lines along the back stand out more. Unfortunately as the shot is head-on and its bill is probing the soil I can't be sure. The Jack Snipe has very distinctive behaviour when it's feeding, bobbing up and down as though it's on springs - which the Common Snipe doesn't.
The Blackcap is also a nice record, and I'd like to submit them to the ongoing Herts Bird Atlas project - see http://www.hertsatlas.org.uk/ (http://www.hertsatlas.org.uk/) for more details. Would you mind contacting me offline with your postcode (I'm assuming the balackcap and snipe are garden records) so I can ascribe a location to your sightings? I'd also be intrigued to know whether the foremost Snipe was "bobbing" and whether it was significantly smaller than the others?  Jack Snipe is a very rare bird in Herts.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on February 10, 2012, 04:45:05 pm
The nuthatch has been enjoying the sunflower seeds, but seems to be storing a few in its beak.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/february12/nuthatch1.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/february12/nuthatch2.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/february12/nuthatch3.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/february12/nuthatch4.jpg)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on February 10, 2012, 07:13:13 pm
Despite spending a fortune on sunflower seeds we have been unable to entice a Nuthatch to our garden since September. It obviously prefers your seeds to ours, David.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on February 10, 2012, 07:15:01 pm
Despite spending a fortune on sunflower seeds we have been unable to entice a Nuthatch to our garden since September. It obviously prefers your seeds to ours, David.

So you don't think it's the wrong food and will harm it then, Nobby?  I thought they would feed off grubs and insects and wasn't sure whether their digestive juices could cope with seeds.

David
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Webman on February 10, 2012, 10:40:40 pm
Lovely pictures of the nuthatch. Obviously doesn't like our sunflower seeds/mealworms/peanuts either as we haven't seen any here.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on February 11, 2012, 11:40:25 am
The starling is a lovely looking bird when the sun catches it.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/february12/starling3.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/february12/starling1.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/february12/starling2.jpg)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: chicken legs on February 11, 2012, 01:16:29 pm
Did you know that at this time of the year*, Starlings have a faint colouring at the base of their bills.  And it's blue in the males and pink in the females.  Honest   :)

*Nobby, is it correct that it's only at this time of the year?
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: BrookyP on February 11, 2012, 02:30:59 pm
We had a big flock of fieldfares come down today and strip a bush of all its berries (none left now!!) Was quite mad to watch maybe 50 birds going crazy on a very small bush.

BP
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on February 12, 2012, 10:03:12 am
We had a big flock of fieldfares come down today and strip a bush of all its berries (none left now!!) Was quite mad to watch maybe 50 birds going crazy on a very small bush.

BP

Great picture, BrookyP.  We had a visit form fieldfares a few years ago but have not seen them since.

David
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Webman on February 23, 2012, 06:25:09 pm
We also had an invasion of fieldfares and they did a thorough job of polishing off our remaining berries. We have a regular visitor whose identity we are not sure about. It is shown here with some siskins to get an idea of size. Suggestions please...
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: BrookyP on February 23, 2012, 06:52:54 pm
Goldfinch/goldcrest? just a guess...bp
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on February 23, 2012, 07:11:00 pm
Hi Webman,
That is an unusually yellow bird. Unless it's a non-European exotic that I've never come across before, I'd guess that it's a male Siskin with an exceptional amount of yellow pigmentation. The presence of a faint black cap, faint wing-bars, general shape and size suggest that this might be the case.
You might like to send the picture into the BTO Garden Birdwatch website. They will be able to confirm the ID and might even print a picture in their quarterly magazine.
Their address is Info@bto.org
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on February 24, 2012, 11:59:02 am
We also had an invasion of fieldfares and they did a thorough job of polishing off our remaining berries. We have a regular visitor whose identity we are not sure about. It is shown here with some siskins to get an idea of size. Suggestions please...

Hi Webman, great pics. Thanks for sharing. You get some really interesting birds in your garden. What seeds do you put out? 

David
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Webman on February 25, 2012, 09:00:39 am
Thanks for the suggestions. I will try to get a clearer picture over the weekend to send to the website, Nobby. These birds are eating sunflower kernels which have been kibbled and dropped by the siskins etc from the feeder above. The tray is to catch the debris to avoid encouraging rats - so not special seeds, just a bit processed. We also use peanuts, fatballs and mealworms. Anna from Great Yarmouth has suggested it is a canary, Carolyn from Dereham points out that it has a ring so could it be a wild canary on its hols?
UPDATE
The experts at the British Trust for Ornithology have agreed with Nobby. They say we have a siskin with 'abnormal plumage'
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on February 25, 2012, 10:02:10 am
Thanks for the suggestions. I will try to get a clearer picture over the weekend to send to the website, Nobby. These birds are eating sunflower kernels which have been kibbled and dropped by the siskins etc from the feeder above. The tray is to catch the debris to avoid encouraging rats - so not special seeds, just a bit processed. We also use peanuts, fatballs and mealworms. Anna from Great Yarmouth has suggested it is a canary, Carolyn from Dereham points out that it has a ring so could it be a wild canary on its hols?

Thanks for the tips on the seeds. And that's a great idea putting a tray underneath the feeders. I haven't seen rats in our garden, but I do notice that the dunnocks and fat wood pigeons and the collar doves do a great job of clearing up the seeds that are dropped by the other birds. By the way, the birds in our garden seem to love the suet pellets.

I think this collar dove spotted me taking a picture this morning.  Nice looking birds.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/february12/cd1.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/february12/cd2.jpg)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Webman on February 29, 2012, 07:03:28 pm
Further to the siskin with abnormal plumage - here is a link to an Italian site showing hybridised canarys and siskins! See what you think.
http://www.ornitologialodato.com/en/product/Siskin+dominant+pied (http://www.ornitologialodato.com/en/product/Siskin+dominant+pied)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on March 12, 2012, 07:46:21 am
A new visitor to our garden. A partridge. Spotted me in the last shot and ran down the garden.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/march12/partridge1.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/march12/patridge2.JPG)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/march12/patridge3.JPG)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: ADM on March 12, 2012, 01:35:17 pm
You need 2 really.

http://www.waitrose.com/home/recipes/recipe_directory/r/roast_partridge_with_cranberry_and_red_wine_gravy.html (http://www.waitrose.com/home/recipes/recipe_directory/r/roast_partridge_with_cranberry_and_red_wine_gravy.html)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Webman on March 14, 2012, 03:03:17 pm
Fantastic pictures, David. I love the feather detail. They are much more colourful then I expected from the usual view of them disappearing into the distance.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on March 18, 2012, 08:54:57 pm
Spring has arrived. I heard my first Chiffchaff today, and saw my first Sand Martin (at Tyttenhanger pits).
It wasn't very warm though. :)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on March 29, 2012, 08:09:00 am
The BBC is reporting (http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/17523815) that the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch (http://www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch/results.aspx) has revealed a decline in starlings. We had some last month (see pics below first posted Feb 11, 2012) but haven't seen any since.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/february12/starling3.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/february12/starling1.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/february12/starling2.jpg)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Bob Horrocks on March 29, 2012, 01:34:20 pm
The BBC is reporting (http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/17523815) that the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch (http://www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch/results.aspx) has revealed a decline in starlings. We had some last month (see pics below first posted Feb 11, 2012) but haven't seen any since.

We had two on the bird feeder this morning but the large flocks we used to get have disappeared.  We rarely get more than 5 or 6 at a time now.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: BrookyP on March 29, 2012, 04:41:48 pm
we have a few in the garden. they live in our neighbours eves..bp
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: chicken legs on March 30, 2012, 10:52:37 pm
Some years ago, I heard of the plight of Swifts because of the lack of nest sites for them.  We made two boxes to a special design for swifts and put them on the front of our house.  I then played Swift calls, which was the recommended way to attact them. 

The bad news is that no Swift came near, but the good new is that both boxes have been used by pairs of Starlings every year since.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on March 31, 2012, 07:45:06 pm
Starlings are certainly much scarcer in our garden these days. Looking back over my old Garden Birdwatch records, I see in 2003 they were recorded every week that year with an average weekly maximum of 23 individuals. In 2011 Starlings were present in only 45 weeks, and the average weekly maximum was just 3.5 birds - an 85% drop.
On a more postive note, there's been a lot of nest-building activity recently. The blackbird and song thrush have been collecting moss and leaves for a couple of weeks, the jackdaws are flying round the village centre with twigs, and house sparrows are busily tugging away at the pampas grass.

And I saw my first swallows of the summer this morning at Essendon.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on April 10, 2012, 08:51:24 am

Two goldfinches seem to have settled in our garden in the last few days. This shot of one of then was taken from long distance so is not too clear. Attractive birds.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/april12/goldfinch2.JPG)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/april12/goldfinch.JPG)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on April 14, 2012, 09:30:14 am
Just seen an adult robin feeding another under our seed dispenser. Checked online and it seems it's part of the family building process. From the RSPB site:

Quote
As well as pair-bonding, the extra food helps the female get ready for egg-laying.
http://www.rspb.org.uk/community/wildlife/f/901/p/37141/245954.aspx (http://www.rspb.org.uk/community/wildlife/f/901/p/37141/245954.aspx)

Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Local Walker on May 04, 2012, 03:58:44 pm
Please don't merge the topic

Here is a good example of how damaging the parakeets are

http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/parakeet-damage.html#cr (http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/parakeet-damage.html#cr)

http://www.earthtimes.org/nature/wild-parakeets-face-uk-cull/770/ (http://www.earthtimes.org/nature/wild-parakeets-face-uk-cull/770/)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on May 04, 2012, 05:41:51 pm
Hi Local Walker, I saw your request not to merge, but your post needs to be read in the context of other threads and it's best if all posts on the same topic are kept together. David
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on May 08, 2012, 10:04:45 pm
I note that the main authority quoted in this article about Parakeets is the MD of an organisation named CLEANKILL. No doubt they have a financial interest in taking isolated incidents and manufacturing a national scare, along the lines of baby-eating foxes, killer wasps and house-eating ants.

The latest reputable research on the impact of parakeets on native bird species suggests the effects are at worst marginal - see http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1474-919X.2011.01121.x/abstract (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1474-919X.2011.01121.x/abstract)
Parakeets will scare off smaller birds at feeding stations, but then our Great Tits will always turf off our Coal Tits. That is the way of things. We, of course, scare off everything.

Now if you want a really scary story about threats from our environment, dwell for a moment on the growing threat from penicillin-resistant bacteria. Now that really is worrying.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on May 09, 2012, 08:33:26 am
I note that the main authority quoted in this article about Parakeets is the MD of an organisation named CLEANKILL. No doubt they have a financial interest in taking isolated incidents and manufacturing a national scare, along the lines of baby-eating foxes, killer wasps and house-eating ants.

The latest reputable research on the impact of parakeets on native bird species suggests the effects are at worst marginal - see http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1474-919X.2011.01121.x/abstract (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1474-919X.2011.01121.x/abstract)
Parakeets will scare off smaller birds at feeding stations, but then our Great Tits will always turf off our Coal Tits. That is the way of things. We, of course, scare off everything.

I'm with Nobby on this one. 
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: chicken legs on May 09, 2012, 07:15:00 pm
Me too.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Local Walker on May 09, 2012, 07:29:24 pm
They are still not native

Is there any way so that the local smaller birds are not scared away?
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on May 09, 2012, 09:49:46 pm
They are still not native

Is there any way so that the local smaller birds are not scared away?

In answer to your question, no, the other birds don't seem at all bothered by the parakeets. They seem placid birds and the others just hang around waiting for them to have their fill on our seeds and then take their turn. Seems all very civil to me.  And they are beautiful, too. A pleasure to have in the garden.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: ADM on May 11, 2012, 12:18:31 pm
They come over here, don't pay taxes, take our birdseed, it ain't right!
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on June 11, 2012, 07:21:47 am
Why do birds try to get as wet as possible when it rains?

I have noticed this a lot recently. When us humans are sheltering from the showers the birds seems to love it and all head for the bird bath to get even wetter. What's it all about?  I think someone posted recently that they like to clean their wings. The water certainly has an oil-like film on when they leave.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/june12/wood_pigeon_bath800.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/june12/Wood_pigeon_bath8001.jpg)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on June 12, 2012, 07:23:41 pm
Just had a nuthatch pecking at our peanuts. Cute bird.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/june12/nuthatch1.jpg)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on June 12, 2012, 07:39:52 pm
Baby sparrow waiting for its tea - couldn't quite capture the flapping wings and shouting, but it was determined to attract attention.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/june12/babysparrow.jpg)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on June 13, 2012, 07:21:23 am
How many baby blue tits can breakfast on one nut feeder?  Three, four, or in the final picture five (one fell off as I took the picture).  Two more added when they regained their balance.    :)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/june12/bluetits3.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/june12/bluetits4.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/june12/bluetits5.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/june12/bluetitsnew1.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/june12/bluetitsnew2.jpg)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: mungroo on June 13, 2012, 12:04:37 pm
I caught this one just flying out of its nest box
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on June 13, 2012, 12:10:05 pm
I caught this one just flying out of its nest box


Wow, what a wonderful picture. Thanks for sharing.  What camera are you using?

David
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: mungroo on June 13, 2012, 12:30:39 pm
EOS 400D with 75-300 for that
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: mungroo on June 13, 2012, 02:00:44 pm
not as good res but here are a few more from previous years...
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on June 13, 2012, 02:17:16 pm
Great action shots - thanks for sharing.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on June 14, 2012, 02:12:57 pm
All five clung on to the nuts this morning - perhaps because I had filled it up.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/june12/fivetits1.jpg)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on June 17, 2012, 11:31:21 am
Close up shots of parakeet having breakfast.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/june12/pk1.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/june12/pk2.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/june12/pk3.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/june12/pk4.jpg)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: mungroo on June 18, 2012, 08:56:06 pm
wow nice !
I've heard these guys can be quite detructive - is that right ?
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Peeplins on June 18, 2012, 11:21:26 pm
Fantastic photos  ;D
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on June 19, 2012, 05:37:05 am
I've heard these guys can be quite detructive - is that right ?

They seem friendly birds and fairly laid back. They don't attack others and neither do they fly off when others approach. And they seem to be doing a neat job by softening up the peanuts for the blue tit chicks and creating loads of bits to drop for the ground-feeding birds. No problem in our garden.

There was a post recently suggesting they might be a problem but the links were to a site that offered a pest control solution, so perhaps the content wasn't totally objective.

I like having them around and look forward to their visits.

David
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Colin Goff on June 22, 2012, 05:49:12 pm
I know that this is not the right topic box, but I'm thinking that watchers of this topic can help.
I seem to have a bunch of bees make their home in a disused bird box. Question: Should I be pleased or alarmed?
Col.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: LMS on June 22, 2012, 06:01:15 pm
This happened to us last year. We contacted a beekeeper who told us that they would only stay for a few weeks - and they did! They were no problem - even though they were right by our back door.  Apparently it is a very common thing for bees to do - they can't make a permanent home because the box will be too small, but they just move in temporarily - sort of holiday home. ;D
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Colin Goff on June 22, 2012, 07:31:22 pm
Thanks. Shame really, I was beginning to be paternal toward them.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on June 25, 2012, 05:15:37 pm
(http://www.brookmans.com/news/june12/robinfeeding.jpg)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on June 27, 2012, 09:12:44 am
Big day today. The juvenile robin, after first seeming a bit cautious, finally got its act together and got its own breakfast.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/june12/juvenilerobin2.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/june12/juvenilerobin3.jpg)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Mermaid on June 27, 2012, 11:13:28 am
Bless!
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on June 29, 2012, 07:37:47 am
Spoke too soon about the juvenile robin fending for itself - ah well, I guess it's okay to regress a bit.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/june12/youngrobin.jpg)

A woodpecker has been busy on the nuts this morning as seven parakeets flock over the garden (I think some are juveniles).

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/june12/woodpecker1.jpg)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on June 30, 2012, 10:13:39 am
Is this a firecrest or a goldcrest?  Never seen one before. Looks a bit like a tit but the colours are different. Was drinking from a bird bath in our garden this morning. Image on high zoom resulting in lack of clarity.  Perhaps Nobby will know?

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/june12/firecrest1.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/june12/firecrest2.jpg)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on June 30, 2012, 06:11:45 pm
Wow the high energy suet pellets are popular with the robins.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/june12/robinfeedingtime.jpg)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on June 30, 2012, 10:50:49 pm
Hi Dave. nice to meet you again. I think we last met about 10 years ago while I was counting Common Gulls in the sheep enclosures at the Vet College.
Despite the very unusual coloration around the head I'd guess that the bird you've queried is probably a Blue Tit from its shape and structure. Plumage can be surprisingly variable; for example there is a pale brown Carrion Crow that frequents the old airfield at Hatfield. However, I'm not 100% so I've forwarded your photos to the BTO for confirmation. I'll let you know if and when I get a reply.

Cheers
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on July 01, 2012, 09:03:31 am
Despite the very unusual coloration around the head I'd guess that the bird you've queried is probably a Blue Tit from its shape and structure.

Hi Nobby, great to bump into you yesterday. I think you are right. A bird with identical colouring (I am certain the same bird) was feeding on the nuts with three blue tits this morning and they all looked identical - apart from the colour.  So it's probably a blue tit. Any chance you could send any of your firecrests over for a visit?  Would love to seem them in our garden. Or do I need to plant a conifer first?

 :)

Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on July 02, 2012, 09:56:55 pm
Unfortunately I don't get Firecrests - they're pretty rare, but can very occasionally be seen in Hatfield Park in summer. I often hear a goldcrest in the conifers by the rail station booking office. We were lucky enough to get them on our fat balls this Winter.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on July 02, 2012, 10:04:25 pm
Saw two of our five juvenile robins feeding each other today. I last saw that with the parents and discovered through this site and an online search that they were preparing for when the female would lay eggs and depend on the male to feed her.  So what were the kids doing this morning?  Were they playing mums and dads or could two of them have mated at such a young age and be preparing for nesting and laying?
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on July 06, 2012, 07:04:20 am
Question for Nobby (or anyone else who knows about birds).  Our family of robins has left. I checked online and the chicks fledge after 14 days, take two days learning to flutter and then 21 days feeding before dispersing. After all the fun of watching a family of five juveniles and two adult robins feeding on our patio it's all gone quite. All that is left is a dishevelled and quiet, subdued looking adult. Quite frankly it looks totally knackered.  It is so scruffy and looks so tired that if I go out on the patio with food it comes right up to me but there is no chirping.  So, is this normal?  Do adult robins suffer from the chick-rearing process?  Do they neglect themselves a bit during the process?  Will the robin recover? 
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: epiphany on July 06, 2012, 09:41:54 am
All that is left is a dishevelled and quiet, subdued looking adult. Quite frankly it looks totally knackered.  It is so scruffy and looks so tired there is no chirping.  So, is this normal? 

Yes, it is called parenthood.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on July 06, 2012, 10:36:25 am
All that is left is a dishevelled and quiet, subdued looking adult. Quite frankly it looks totally knackered.  It is so scruffy and looks so tired there is no chirping.  So, is this normal? 

Yes, it is called parenthood.

 ;D

So are saying a nice glass of chilled Pinot or a pint of real ale might do the trick?

 :)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on July 06, 2012, 10:05:29 pm
Dave, the BTO has replied about your photo ID query - see below.
Many thanks for your email. The photos are of a juvenile Blue Tit (the yellowish cheeks give away its age). It does have some unusual brown markings, however, most notably on the crown. We are currently compiling records of birds with plumage abnormalities. If you or your neighbour would not mind filling in our simple online survey about this bird, that would be really helpful. On these pages, you can also find out more about plumage abnormalities.
I've filled in the questionnaire on your behalf - I did guess for how long you'd been garden birding though.

Regarding your Robin, they go very quiet at this time of year, and become very elusive. This is because as soon as their final brood has fledged, they start moulting - hence the scruffiness. This means they can't fly very well, and they stay in deep cover for much of the time to avoid predators.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on July 06, 2012, 10:08:51 pm
Dave, the BTO has replied about your photo ID query - see below.
Many thanks for your email. The photos are of a juvenile Blue Tit (the yellowish cheeks give away its age). It does have some unusual brown markings, however, most notably on the crown. We are currently compiling records of birds with plumage abnormalities. If you or your neighbour would not mind filling in our simple online survey about this bird, that would be really helpful. On these pages, you can also find out more about plumage abnormalities.
I've filled in the questionnaire on your behalf - I did guess for how long you'd been garden birding though.

Hi Nobby, thanks for doing that. And as for my interest in birds, I have been fascinated since I was a kid - and that was many years ago.

 :)

Regarding your Robin, they go very quiet at this time of year, and become very elusive. This is because as soon as their final brood has fledged, they start moulting - hence the scruffiness. This means they can't fly very well, and they stay in deep cover for much of the time to avoid predators.

Good to know what is going on. I didn't realise they moult. Will the feathers grow back?
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on July 10, 2012, 09:59:27 am
Couple of images of our moulting robin taken this morning. Bad light so not very clear.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/july12/moultingrobin2.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/july12/moultingrobin1.jpg)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: peppermint on July 10, 2012, 03:59:42 pm
David, thank you for those robin pictures.   They are beautiful. :)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on July 10, 2012, 04:12:13 pm
David, thank you for those robin pictures.   They are beautiful. :)

But I think it's lost its tail now.

 :-\
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Mermaid on July 10, 2012, 05:30:26 pm
Bless. It must trust you Dave because usually birds hide themselves away when they're moulting as it makes them vulnerable to predators. Good grub at your place?   ;)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on July 10, 2012, 05:37:36 pm
Bless. It must trust you Dave because usually birds hide themselves away when they're moulting as it makes them vulnerable to predators. Good grub at your place?   ;)

It's the grub. I am serving up Vine House Farm High Energy Suet Pellets (http://www.vinehousefarm.co.uk/our-shop/Fat-products-and-feeders/Fruit-Suet-Pellets/58). Fruit flavour - suitable for all wild birds.  Contains suet, wheat, peanut flour.  The robin comes up to my study window and shouts at me. I go out and it sits nearby as I feed it. I have to stay because if I go the other, bigger and more agile birds take all the grub. If I stay the robin gets a share. So I guess you could say we have a bit of an understanding developing.

 ;)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on July 11, 2012, 08:05:20 am
The robin without tail feathers was looking a bit better this morning after a good breakfast. You can see where the wing feathers have fallen off.  Of course it might be a different robin than the one a few posts up. Picture of a housesparrow on the seeds below.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/july12/robinnotail.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/july12/robinwithouttail.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/july12/housesparrow.jpg)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on July 11, 2012, 08:45:42 am
Just had the woodpecker and parakeet pop by. They both love the peanuts.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/july12/woodpecker1.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/july12/gotnut.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/july12/parakeet.jpg)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on July 12, 2012, 09:17:50 am
Three more pictures of the robin nicknamed 'scruffy' taken after a breakfast of suet pellets, bread crumbs and mixed seeds.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/july12/shyscruffyrobin1.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/july12/shyscruffyrobin2.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/july12/shyscruffyrobin3.jpg)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: peppermint on July 12, 2012, 03:45:04 pm
 :) :) :)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on July 23, 2012, 02:42:17 pm
Collar doves building a nest behind our Sky dish.  I like the way the sun reflects through the dish to make a pattern on the bird almost exactly matching the curves on its body.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/july12/collar_dove_in_Sky_dish.jpg)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on July 26, 2012, 08:03:52 pm
For anyone interested in our robin soap opera, Scruffy (who has been missing for almost a week) has returned and has grown a tail - and a mighty fine tail it is too.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/july12/scruffy1.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/july12/scruffy2.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/july12/scruffy3.jpg)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: chicken legs on July 28, 2012, 11:22:20 am
When he's finished the moult, you'll have to rename him, David.  He'll be a most handsome chap. 
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Strad on December 28, 2012, 01:40:44 pm
A pair of Redpolls have been using our Niger seed feeder for the last few days. Have there been many sightings of these birds in Welham Green?
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on December 28, 2012, 04:02:28 pm
There were a couple feeding in a silver birch my neighbour's garden in Brookmans Park a few days ago.
I've heard that this has been a good winter for Redpolls.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on December 28, 2012, 04:20:25 pm
For anyone wondering what a Redpoll looks like here are three pictures from Flickr (http://www.flickr.com) released under Creative Commons (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en). The first is by axelkr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/axelkr/3403651215/sizes/l/in/photostream/), the second is by uchodi (http://www.flickr.com/photos/tuchodi/4436487556/sizes/l/in/photostream/) and the third is by sussexbirder (http://www.flickr.com/photos/sussexbirder/8124450290/sizes/l/in/photostream/).

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/december12/redpoll1.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/december12/redpoll2.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/december12/redpoll3.jpg)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: EvieMay on December 28, 2012, 07:41:57 pm
What beautiful photos, thank you David.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: pinchefalise on December 29, 2012, 03:33:12 pm
Our cat died recently so we have invested in a 'bird station' feeder. So far, over the last 3 weeks, we have had flocks of 7 or more redpolls, flocks of a similar number of goldfinches, coal tits, long-tailed tits as well as starlings chaffinches and greenfinches - the robin also feeds underneath. The feeder is very close to our house in BP.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: pinchefalise on December 30, 2012, 03:26:45 pm
A couple of photos of redpolls taken through the conservatory window last week.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on December 30, 2012, 03:45:55 pm
A couple of photos of redpolls taken through the conservatory window last week.

Great pics. Well done. Thanks for sharing.

David
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on December 30, 2012, 04:08:24 pm
David, I think the first picture of the three you have uploaded is a Common Redpoll (also known as the Mealy Redpoll). This is the redpoll species commonly found in Europe (and occasionally in the UK), whereas our redpolls are mostly Lesser Redpolls. They're difficult to separate in the field unless you get a really good look, but the Common / Mealy variety is larger, has two whitish "tram-lines" down its back. and has a distinctly frosty appearance. Pinchefalise's redpolls look like Lesser Redpolls.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on December 30, 2012, 07:40:51 pm
Hi Nobby, thanks for that. I'll leave it there now you have clarified so people can see the difference. Can you identify this bird? I thought it was a juvenile blackbird but it's a bit late in the season isn't it?
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on December 31, 2012, 01:59:36 pm
It does look very speckly, but I'll go for female Blackbird.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on January 01, 2013, 10:59:28 am
Nothing like a freshen up and a spot of breakfast on New Years Day.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/december2013/doves1.jpg)
(http://www.brookmans.com/news/december2013/doves2.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/december2013/parakeet.jpg)

All go in the garden this morning.

 :)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on January 01, 2013, 03:28:06 pm
Now the woodpecker has joined in.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/december2013/woodpecker2.jpg)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on January 06, 2013, 04:51:23 pm
There were 19 Waxwings in Potters Bar rail station car park this morning. I believe this is the third day they've been present, so any interested observers might be able to catch them tomorrow.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: chicken legs on January 07, 2013, 03:29:21 pm
Thank you, Nobby.  I went at 10 o'clock this morning and saw 6 feeding on an apple tree in a garden on the edge of the car park.  Brilliant birds to see.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: pinchefalise on January 14, 2013, 02:25:27 pm
Can anyone tell me if these redpolls are all the same variety or not please? Also attached the jay that came today in the snow!
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on January 14, 2013, 06:26:40 pm
Lovely pictures pinchefalise, thanks for sharing. I will leave Nobby to answer the question. David
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on January 15, 2013, 11:55:24 pm
I think all are Lesser Redpoll. I'd like to have them on my feeders!
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Aqila on January 20, 2013, 11:49:02 am
We too have the flocks of redpolls this year.  They are mixed - some slightly larger with very dark pink caps and breasts.  The others just look like boring little brown birds till you get the binos out, and then you can see they have a red cap, but no red on the breast.  I wondered if they were male and female differences.

They both seem slightly smaller than the solitary redpoll visitor we had in our garden last year (see Webman's picture/post 22/1/12).

Nobby - for the redpolls try sunflower seed kernals. On our larger feeder we have a constant flurry of redpolls, siskins, gold finches, chaffinches, green finches, various tits and occasional bramblings.  We are re-filling twice a day at the moment.  We have a tray 1ft below to catch the bits that are dropped, and this is patrolled by robins, doves  etc.

Very pleased to see the pair of wagtails back this year - they are very fond of the dried mealworms on the table and on the ground.

The woodpecker visits the hanging nuts several times a day, and any loose nuts on the garden table are quickly removed by a pair of jays.

I have been worried about the lack of berries this year.  The fieldfares showed up yesterday looking very dismal, with nothing on their favourite bushes.  We bought a bag of apples for £1 (see them outside a certain new shop in the village - v good deal :)), chopped some up into approx 1inch pieces and put them on the garden table and ground.  This morning one brave fieldfare spotted them and came very close to the house to get them.  Within an hour his friends turned up too - very satisfying to watch.   See webman's picture.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on January 20, 2013, 12:41:38 pm
If you run out of bird feed try disturbing any snow that might be covering leaves and soil.  I did this today (by mistake) and the robins and blackbirds have been digging around ever since. Perhaps there are worms close to the surface? I don't know, but it's certainly keeping them busy.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Aqila on January 20, 2013, 06:20:38 pm
... This morning one brave fieldfare spotted them and came very close to the house to get them.  Within an hour his friends turned up too...

Turns out they weren't friends!  See pictures of some very nasty looking fights between the fieldfares.  We were really surprised  - they normally seem very companionable when feeding in flocks.

Also here is a picture of one of our overcrowded feeders today!
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on January 21, 2013, 09:52:40 pm
There has been a big increase in the numbers of birds visiting our garden over the cold snap, and in particular we are getting a lot of Blackbirds feeding on the mixed seed and sunflower kernels we sprinkle on the lawn. We do the BTO GardenBirdWatch which entails recording the maximum number of each species seen simultaneously at any time over the course of the week. The following are the maxima we recorded on Sunday:

Blue Tit 4
Robin 2
Blackbird 30
House Sparrow 1 (much reduced from the past)
Starling 2 (we used to get dozens just a few years ago)
Dunnock 2
Chaffich 20
Great Tit 2
Greenfinch 6
Collared Dove 12
Brambling 1
Fieldfare 2 (also coming to halved apples and defending vigorously against the Blackbirds)
Jackdaw 5 (hogging our hanging tube feeders)
Magpie 4
Nuthatch 1
Siskin 12
Stock Dove 6
Pheasant 1 (a very greedy cock)
Wood Pigeon 6

Some regular visitors weren't seen yesterday - Coal Tit, Wren, Carrion Crow, Goldfinch (all on your feeders Jacqui), and Parakeet.

We haven't had any Redpoll since Jan 2011 despite putting out sunflower seed every day.

Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Aqila on January 22, 2013, 07:05:36 pm
That is a lot of blackbirds!  Must have been a few terratorial fights.  Sorry we stole all the goldfinches ;) .

Last year goldfinches were by far the most common bird in our garden - this year we have nearly as many redpolls - amazing as 18 months ago I had never seen one.

We'll be doing the RSPB birdwatch this weekend.  Anyone else who wants to join in can register here - http://www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch/ (http://www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch/)

Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: pinchefalise on January 22, 2013, 07:17:35 pm
We had a green woodpecker near the house this afternoon eating an apple on the ground. I guess ants are in very short supply! The redpolls and goldfinches are still coming in their hordes and we managed to see 3 robins all eating at once - must be cold, hard times.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on February 23, 2013, 11:44:20 am
Nice to have a visit from Europe's smallest bird this morning. According to our bird book, this goldcrest is about half the weight of a blue tit. The book says they are "amazingly tame".  This one didn't mind me getting fairly close.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/february13/Goldcrest1.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/february13/Goldcrest2.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/february13/Goldcrest3.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/february13/Goldcrest4.jpg)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Aqila on February 23, 2013, 05:56:43 pm
Gorgeous pictures David.  You can see how small it is compared to the fat ball.

We saw the/a goldcrest last weekend but were too slow with the camera!
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on February 23, 2013, 06:52:23 pm
We saw the/a goldcrest last weekend but were too slow with the camera!

What was interesting about this bird was that when I first saw it I didn't have the camera. It stayed there while I went in, got the camera, came back and got really close. I read that it builds its nest out of feathers, hair and moss all tied together with spiders web and hung like a hammock under ivy. Very clever.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: chicken legs on February 24, 2013, 05:55:55 pm
David, I think the advice is to remove the green netting bags from the fat balls because birds can tangle their feet and legs in them.  I do this after being told by my daughter, but last week I found that Titmuss at Wheathampstead sell them without nets.  They're £11.75 for 100.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on February 24, 2013, 06:22:41 pm
David, I think the advice is to remove the green netting bags from the fat balls because birds can tangle their feet and legs in them.  I do this after being told by my daughter, but last week I found that Titmuss at Wheathampstead sell them without nets.  They're £11.75 for 100.

Thanks for the tip. Just been out in the dark and removed the netting. I wouldn't want to wake up to find one of my new chums with its feet caught.

 :)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Aqila on February 24, 2013, 10:56:28 pm
I agree - I don't know why they have netting on - they are bad for the birds and the environment, and must cost more to manufacture.

We've been buying big tubs of balls net free at Wilkinsons, but found they didn't have any in this weekend.  We'll have a trip to Titmuss instead.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: chicken legs on February 24, 2013, 11:25:05 pm
PS  Forgot to say thanks for the lovely pictures.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on March 06, 2013, 08:25:42 am
Changed the bird seed and got two new visitors to the garden, a siskin and a goldfinch.  Apologies for it being a bit blurred. They don't stay still much.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/march13/siskin_and_goldfinch.jpg)

Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on March 13, 2013, 07:24:39 am
Got a few close ups this morning. The first is a goldfinch and the second is a siskin. There were eight greenfinches on the seeds with chaffinches, robins, dunnocks and blackbirds cleaning up what was dropped on the ground. By the way, I have changed where I buy the seed. It's fairly local and half the price of the seed we used to order online. Anyone interested send me a personal message via the forum and I will give you the name of the company.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/march13/goldfinch.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/march13/siskin.jpg)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on March 23, 2013, 03:59:57 pm
Parakeets in the snow. Seems wrong. They don't seem to mind.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/march13/parakeets-in-snow.jpg)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on March 29, 2013, 10:33:44 am
The results of the RSPB's 'Big Garden Bird Survey' have been published.
http://www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch/results.aspx (http://www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch/results.aspx)

Some points below.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on June 30, 2013, 11:01:23 am
This baby blue tit was so busy eating peanuts to notice me sitting close by reading the Sunday papers. It didn't even budge when I went in to get the camera. (And yes, I do need a new feeder)   :)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on July 16, 2013, 08:43:42 pm
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on November 30, 2013, 04:26:18 pm
Not exactly a bird in the garden, but this morning there was a Water Rail foraging on the bank of the Mimmshall Brook, 20 metres to the south of the road to the Pumping Station. A  nice sighting of an elusive and quite uncommon bird.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: epiphany on November 30, 2013, 05:59:22 pm
Yesterday morning I saw 3 Great White Egrets about 20 metres to the North of the pumping station!
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Webman on February 20, 2014, 09:50:02 am
Does 'hovering over with intent' count as a garden bird?
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on February 20, 2014, 10:12:30 pm
What a great shot - superb clarity.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on June 01, 2014, 10:32:07 am
This has grown from a yellow ball of fluff last week to being able to sort out its own breakfast this week. Four snaps as it progresses from puzzled to pecking.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on June 03, 2014, 10:51:38 am
This male chaffinch, a regular visitor to our garden, has one leg and that's a stump. It eats by shuffling along on the ground on its belly. Seems well enough.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on June 18, 2014, 09:02:48 am
Picture of a male, adult bullfinch feeding on buds. It's taken with a 840mm zoom on maximum, hence the lack of clarity (wobbly hands). It's the first time I have seen one in our garden. According to my bird book "This bird ravages on flowers ... a single bird may strip up to 30 buds per minute."
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on June 27, 2014, 03:01:03 pm
A baby something learning to balance on our shed roof. Any ideas what it is?  Nobby, do you know?

Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Peeplins on June 27, 2014, 08:06:14 pm
Looks like a Chaffinch from the colouring!
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on June 29, 2014, 01:12:45 pm
Not too sure - it's got quite a thin bill, so I'd guess an insectivore of some kind. Perhaps a dunnock?
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on August 28, 2014, 06:45:22 pm
Couldn't resist taking a few snaps of our robin having a bath this afternoon.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Mermaid on August 28, 2014, 10:48:35 pm
Beautiful photos Dave, thanks for sharing them   :)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on August 29, 2014, 01:50:54 pm
Beautiful photos Dave, thanks for sharing them   :)

Actually, the robin deserved a bath; it had been working with me in the garden all day, following me as I dug out roots, and stuffing itself with the grubs and worms that appeared. At one point I almost trod on it because it had got so close.  :)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on November 25, 2014, 08:55:52 am
Eight parakeets (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parakeet) in our garden this morning. This one looked particularly cold and miserable.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Mermaid on November 25, 2014, 09:10:27 am
Plump, Dave, is how it looks! Your garden is the bird equivalent of the best table in the best restaurant  ;)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on November 25, 2014, 09:25:23 am
Plump, Dave, is how it looks! Your garden is the bird equivalent of the best table in the best restaurant  ;)

They are plump because they get through two feeders full of seed a day. It's costing me a fortune.  :-\
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nimbus on November 25, 2014, 10:49:49 am
They are plump because they get through two feeders full of seed a day. It's costing me a fortune.  :-\
You'll regret it!


If they decide to stick around, not only will they keep you awake with their screeching, they'll out-compete native species, particularly at breeding time, when their custom of nesting earlier means they've bagged all the prime sites when 'our' birds get around to looking. Even now, do other species get a look-in at your feeders?

Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on November 25, 2014, 11:21:24 am
You'll regret it!
If they decide to stick around, not only will they keep you awake with their screeching, they'll out-compete native species, particularly at breeding time, when their custom of nesting earlier means they've bagged all the prime sites when 'our' birds get around to looking. Even now, do other species get a look-in at your feeders?

But what can I do? They don't stick around long and then the other birds use the feeders. I've had blue tits, great tits, coal tits, long-tailed tits and a couple of green finches on the nuts this morning with collared doves, robins, blackbirds and wood pigeons feeding on what falls to the ground. There are always other birds in the nearby bushes and trees waiting for the parakeets to go away. But I am not sure what to do about them. They do consume one hell of a lot of seed each visit. The tits - pic of one below - seem chilled about it all.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: sgoldswo on November 25, 2014, 11:56:07 am
Interesting you get parakeets Dave, we used to see quite a few around Trent Park when we lived in Enfield. My OH thought the "green bird" I was convinced was a woodpecker would turn out to be a parakeet but I was able finally to get some photographic evidence of it actually being a green woodpecker...
 [size=78%]


(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5611/15450270479_55a2d00400_b.jpg)[/size]
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on November 27, 2014, 07:30:47 pm
A pair of collared doves waiting patiently for me to throw some seed on the patio. 
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: chicken legs on November 29, 2014, 03:43:35 pm
What a lovely picture, David.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on December 04, 2014, 04:09:23 pm
Interesting piece about invasive non-native species of birds just tweeted.

Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on December 10, 2014, 10:49:17 am
For all those who like watching birds feed in their gardens, I have just spotted a tweet with a great idea for making a DIY bird feeder.

Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on December 15, 2014, 02:28:08 pm
A jay and a pied wagtail in our garden this morning. Sorry the wagtail is a bit out of focus. There are two reasons. 1) they don't stay still long and wag a lot, and 2) the picture was taken with an 800 zoom. We have two jays visiting these days.

Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on January 28, 2015, 09:00:03 pm
Just seen this tweet about making sure bird feeders are cleaned regularly in order to prevent disease. Thought it might be of interest to locals who feed birds. Tweet below and the pdf at the end of the link is embedded, too (save you clicking). Please retweet if you are concerned and want others to know.


http://www.gardenwildlifehealth.org/files/2013/10/Feeding-garden-birds.pdf
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Webman on March 06, 2015, 03:01:27 pm
This the best detail shot I have got so far - and in the rain - this one is a regular visitor
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Webman on March 06, 2015, 03:06:15 pm
And a couple more from the feeder
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on March 06, 2015, 03:38:49 pm
Lovely pictures in all three threads Webman, thanks for sharing.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on March 06, 2015, 07:15:09 pm
Nice shot of the Goldcrest - an uncommon visitor to our garden feeders.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: chicken legs on March 06, 2015, 11:28:04 pm
I haven't had any Siskins on my feeders this year and wondered if anyone else has.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on March 08, 2015, 04:24:25 pm
There was an article in the BTO News about the dearth of Siskins in gardens this winter. Apparently the glut of Sitka spruce seeds combined with relatively mild dry weather has meant that Siskins have stayed on their breeding grounds. We had a couple in our garden at the end of January and singletons twice in February, but otherwise nothing. Redpolls and Bramblings have also been conspicuous by their absence this year.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Aqila on March 19, 2015, 07:08:56 pm
Not sure this fits in the heading "...unusual sightings" :)   We keep hearing a bird from the garden that doesn't sound very native to Britain.  It seems to move around, so doesn't seem to be an avery bird in the area. 

We've managed to get a recording which I have attached to this message (hopefully!). You can open it with Windows Media player.

  It is not the loud tweets in the foreground, but the call in the background.  The best way I can describe it is:  Beeabubbub  Beeabub :)   Any ideas??
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on March 22, 2015, 07:07:11 pm
I'm intrigued. I don't recognise this at all and I've been birding for 40+ years. I've sent the sound-file to the BTO to see if they can shed some light on its identity.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on March 24, 2015, 08:51:20 pm
Aqila, The BTO people reckon it might be a Starling. Thier reply is below:

A couple of people here at the BTO have now had a listen and we think it is most likely a Starling. They are well known for mimicry and their impressive vocal abilities. Perfect for confusing those listening! They can warble, whistle, chatter, make smooth liquid sounds, harsh trills and rattles, and imitate other birds.


Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Aqila on March 24, 2015, 10:55:01 pm
Hi Nobby

Thanks for investigating.  We did wonder if it was a starling, but I am  not totally convinced.  Oddly enough there is a starling that tries to mimmick it, but that one is clearly a starling, with all its various warblings and variations in between! The Beeabub bird (as I shall call it) is precise and consistent each time.  The sound is quite haunting and doesn't sound like any starling I have ever heard.

  I have also been wondering if it is in fact an avery bird, or poultry.  It seems to move around, but that could be to do with wind direction etc.
We'll try and get a better recording, but it is elusive :-\

Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Mermaid on March 28, 2015, 07:14:42 am
Heard a cuckoo this morning   :) 



Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on June 08, 2015, 02:34:33 pm
Is this a juvenile jackdaw? It's been sitting in our garden for a couple of hours. Doesn't look very happy. Its parents are around. I hope the cats don't get to it first.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: John_fraser on June 08, 2015, 06:14:20 pm
Quote
regular and unusual sightings

Isn't this traditionally referred to as "sightings". Or is there a third option?
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on June 08, 2015, 11:54:48 pm
Juvenile Jackdaw looks good to me. It's probably popped out of a nearby chimney-pot.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on June 09, 2015, 07:17:40 am
Juvenile Jackdaw looks good to me. It's probably popped out of a nearby chimney-pot.

Thanks Nobby. It's very distressing working from home this time of the year. Last week there were three blue tit chicks in the flower bed. The parents successfully coaxed two towards the relative security of a laurel bush and they fluttered up into the branches. The smallest, who didn't look very well, was left behind and didn't survive. Pics of the two that did make it below. (blurred because taken with 800mm zoom on max)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on June 11, 2015, 06:02:09 pm
Does anyone know what these guys are eating? They are busy on our lawn, but it doesn't seem to be damaged. Do Starlings eat bugs? I am sure Nobby will know.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Angel on June 11, 2015, 09:42:42 pm
Does anyone know what these guys are eating? They are busy on our lawn, but it doesn't seem to be damaged. Do Starlings eat bugs? I am sure Nobby will know.

Ants?
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Angel on June 11, 2015, 09:46:05 pm
.... or could be 'anting'
http://gardening.yardener.com/Feeding-Starlings (http://gardening.yardener.com/Feeding-Starlings)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on June 11, 2015, 09:49:04 pm
.... or could be 'anting'
http://gardening.yardener.com/Feeding-Starlings (http://gardening.yardener.com/Feeding-Starlings)

Fascinating, thanks Angel.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: pinchefalise on June 12, 2015, 06:09:05 pm
 They usually eat leatherjackets ie daddy-long-legs larva. Greatly to be encouraged I feel.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on June 13, 2015, 08:21:39 pm
Could be ants, but I would favour leather-jackets at the moment. There have been some very noisy youngsters visiting my fat feeder over the last 10 days.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on December 17, 2015, 08:41:44 pm
Guess the caption should read "Oh boy he's put the nuts in the wrong feeder", but I did it on purpose. The tits take the nuts away to a nearby bush and hold the peanuts in their claws while pecking away at them under the safety of cover. Great to watch. The nuthatches like it, too, working in relay to take the nuts away. 
:)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on December 28, 2015, 11:59:07 am
A raven flew over the railway station this morning at 8.55 - my first sighting of the species in the 20 years I've lived in the village. The raven was driven to extinction in Herts in the mid-19th century, but despite continued illegal persecution by game-shooting interests it has gradually spread back to the south-east, and was recorded again as a breeding species in the county in 2006 when a pair raised young near Whitwell. It's still rare in south Herts, and most claimed sightings are in fact Carrion Crows. It's best identified by its distinctive guttural cronking call, which can be found at http://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Corvus-corax
An exciting day for this birder - if not for most residents!
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Mermaid on January 11, 2016, 11:23:27 am
Just been watching a lone magpie in my garden taking food bit by bit, then hiding the chosen bits in the longer grass and carefully covering it over with leaves he'd collected from elsewhere in the garden. When he'd stashed all he wanted, he then went back to the remaining food and ate his fill. First time I've seen that behaviour!
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Aqila on January 15, 2016, 07:03:39 pm
A raven flew over the railway station this morning at 8.55 - my first sighting of the species in the 20 years I've lived in the village.

Many thanks for telling us about this Nobby - very exciting!

We listened to the recordings and between Christmas and New Year thought we heard it in the Peplins area.  Then a few days ago it flew over the garden!!  Unfortunately I was not there to see it, but Webman rushed in and grabbed his camera and managed to get a shot of it disappearing into the distance!  He said it was huge, and you can see that it has a massive wingspan.  No way would anyone confuse this with a crow or rook!!
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on January 18, 2016, 10:36:55 pm
Umm, the wings look brownish - the bird in the photo looks a bit like a Red Kite, although obviously I didn't see it myself.
The garden's been busy over the last week - we've had a couple of nice Bramblings, a dozen siskins and a redwing recently. Sadly our greenfinches are dying one-by-one from trichomoniasis.
Title: Possible mis-identification
Post by: Webman on January 20, 2016, 06:38:57 pm
No, no, Nobby. Nobby, no, no. No. Nobby; no! (I feel a pop song coming on).
I would recognise a kite or buzzard as they are regular visitors and quite distinctive. This large black bird suddenly appeared overhead and disappeared over the rooftop. By the time I grabbed a camera and got a shot it was a loong way off (assuming it was the same bird, of course!). However, having made an enlargement, and looked closely I must admit it looks a lot more like a heron than anything else. The legs appear to be trailing behind - a raven tucks them in, I think - and the chesty lump could be the folded neck. So I agree it is a miss-identification, but it is oddly dark; all heron shots I have show light coloured markings whatever the light conditions.
To get back on thread I include a couple of common or garden pictures. I love the way the chaffinches hover at the feeder and take food without landing but it is a hard shot to get. Earlier this week a sunbeam lit up the feeder for a short time just before sunset and I got a few shots in.
Title: ...and...
Post by: Webman on January 20, 2016, 06:57:21 pm
The last one is just an example following the previous subject but the others are genuine garden shots
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: epiphany on January 20, 2016, 08:41:57 pm
I must admit it looks a lot more like a heron than anything else.

I have seen a pair of Great White Egrets several times over the last few months in the Mimmshall Brook. Basically white herons!

Can you get black ones?
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on January 21, 2016, 08:26:24 am
The last one is just an example following the previous subject but the others are genuine garden shots

Hi Webman, how to you always manage to take such wonderful pictures? Amazing images. What camera are you using? I have a Canon PowerShot SX 30 IS (http://www.canon.co.uk/for_home/product_finder/cameras/digital_camera/powershot/powershot_sx30_is/) but I don't get such great pictures. Do I need to invest in a better camera, or is it just that you are better at taking pictures? David   :-\
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Webman on January 21, 2016, 09:27:00 am
My camera is an all-rounder (Canon APS-C + 300mm cheap lens) designed to be able to take portraits, landscapes, macro, and snaps. It is a pretty poor choice for birding or sports so I depend on timing, practice, position, light and luck. Mainly luck.

Your camera has an equivalent max focal length of 840mm but a slightly smaller sensor which should balance out. Both cameras have similar ISO ranges etc. The camera is not so important - I was around 8 feet from the blackbird (above) in good light so I reckon either camera would have got a good shot.

If you buy an expensive typewriter will you be more able to write a best selling novel?
Will a formula 1 sports car improve your parallel parking?

A better camera merely removes technological obstacles to getting the photo you want but you still need to get it to the right place at the right time (and remember to press the shutter).

As Ansel Adams said: "The single most important component
of a camera is the twelve inches behind it."

After saying that, don't forget that I didn't publish any of the dozens of duff shots I took at the same time!  ;D
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on January 21, 2016, 09:29:29 am
After saying that, don't forget that I didn't publish any of the dozens of duff shots I took at the same time!  ;D

 ;D
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on January 21, 2016, 08:01:01 pm
Hi Webman - now I've seen the enlargement I would concur with your heron identification. The wings are grey and the legs are trailing and it's chest is bulging. Some very good shots from your garden - you're lucky to get a Song Thrush. They are all too infrequent visitors to mine.
The egrets I've seen along Mimmshall Brook have all been of the Little species. The Great White has a thick yellow bill, is heron size and is a rare visitor to England, while the Little Egret is considerably smaller, has a much thinner black bill and breeds locally in the Lee valley.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Susa on June 21, 2016, 07:25:14 am
Is there a nightingale singing in Georges Wood Road?
We are not sure but after watching BBC Springwatch the other day where they were searching for an elusive nightingale, we are wondering if we have a nightingale in Georges Wood Road.  We heard it the first time on Sunday night at around 10pm and again Monday night at around the same time (might even have been two).
I have uploaded a video on YouTube (not very good quality I am afraid) if anybody would like to listen and could confirm our suspicion, please?
https://youtu.be/C-sUtqTbudc
Actually,  I can hear it singing now :-)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: chicken legs on June 21, 2016, 12:44:16 pm
I think it's a Song Thrush, Susa.  They are the ones who always repeat their phrases.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Susa on June 21, 2016, 09:33:59 pm
Thank you.
And here we thought we had something special in our front garden  ;)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on June 21, 2016, 11:03:26 pm
There's a good site where you can check bird-song at:
http://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Luscinia-megarhynchos

Sadly, Nightingale is a rare bird in Herts these days - the nearest ones are in the Lee Valley near Fishers Green
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Susa on June 22, 2016, 06:38:46 am
Thank you,  Nobby.
Very interesting site.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Aqila on June 22, 2016, 11:06:58 pm
A very unexpected sighting yesterday - from the upstairs back room window yesterday evening at about 8pm I saw a kingfisher flying the length of my neighbours back garden.  I have frequently watched kingfishers zipping across water,  and the speed/pattern of flight  together with the unmistakable irridescent blue of yesterday's bird means I am 100% sure this was a kingfisher.

However I believe the only pond in the local gardens (Peplins) is our own, and that is very small and currently covered in netting to protect against seeds from trees above!  Why would a kingfisher have been in a garden?

Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Pixel Crazy on June 23, 2016, 09:39:39 pm
The territory of the Kingfisher is pretty big and it may have young somewhere. They often fly there territory to maintain it and a garden pond or small stream could attract them.  A very short distance for a Kingfisher to go from Peplins to Mymmshall Brook.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Webman on December 18, 2016, 06:15:28 pm
We had a winter whitewash feeding in the garden recently. Or is it an Arctic canary?
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on December 18, 2016, 08:56:59 pm
Hi Webman,
Strange bird! I'd go for an albinistic goldfinch
I've referred this to the BTO Garden Birdwatch team for their views. I'll let you know.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on December 19, 2016, 07:08:53 am
One of the collared doves that frequent our garden died over the weekend. I am pretty sure it was one of the older ones in a flock that's been visiting twice a day. It was just sitting on the patio and didn't move when I went out. Later, it tried to fly into the magnolia tree but fell off the branch. Then it staggered on to the lawn and the next thing I know it had been attacked and killed by something. The RSPCA has an article about a disease the can kill collared doves. It's called Trichomoniasis. I have no idea whether that is what was wrong with the lethargic bird, but the RSPCA recommends not putting seed out for a while in case the parasite is still around and might infect others (http://www.rspb.org.uk/community/wildlife/f/14005/t/110987.aspx). Thought it worth sharing in case others notice sick collared doves in their gardens.
Title: Small flocks
Post by: Webman on January 29, 2017, 05:23:30 pm
We usually see large mixed flocks of redwings and fieldfares around Christmas which descend on any berry bushes and strip them. This year we saw only half a dozen redwings, and no fieldfares until this week. Even then only two have been noticed. They were desperately hungry and still manged to strip all our bushes. 
Title: Don't look too closely
Post by: Webman on January 29, 2017, 05:27:04 pm
On Boxing day, with family in Norfolk, we saw this in the garden. It had just caught a blackbird and was too hungry to be spooked by the camera.


PS Traplight is my personal copyright symbol so I am free to share these photos.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on March 06, 2017, 03:42:46 pm
We've been getting a lot of birds in our garden over the cold snaps in January and February. Up to 40 Chaffinch and 35 Blackbird simultaneously. We've missed out on the Waxwing invasion so far, but rarer species have included up to 6 Brambling,  6 Reed Bunting and 5 Siskin. I would be interested to hear what visitors other people have had this winter.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: BrookyP on March 07, 2017, 05:22:45 pm
We had a red legged partridge in the garden the other day. Also a few pheasants on the shed roof. An improvement on the usual crow and magpie setup!! BP
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on March 10, 2017, 12:37:26 pm
Red Legged Partridge is a good one, Brooky P. I've only had two records in 20 years in my garden. You must be close to fields.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: pinchefalise on April 21, 2017, 08:53:56 am
Seen at our bird feeding café this morning.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Pixel Crazy on April 23, 2017, 05:14:32 pm
Brilliant
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on July 03, 2017, 10:34:42 am
Dumb collared doves trying to build a nest behind our Sky dish - again!. The last time they tried that was almost exactly five years ago - and it failed. Below a picture from then, and below that, two pictures taken today.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/july12/collar_dove_in_Sky_dish.jpg)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on July 17, 2017, 06:37:13 pm
David, nice to bump into you today in the idyllic surroundings of the Woodman beer garden.
If you'd like to maintain a permanent searchable record of all your sightings and contribute to a national ornithological database, try using BTO's Birdtrack at https://app.bto.org/birdtrack/main/data-home.jsp
It's quite simple to use... you register, set up a site(s) (e.g. Brookmans Park, Wildhill etc.) and submit either a list of species seen during a site visit, or casual one-off records. You can subsequently refer back to your historical records using the Explore My Records tab.
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on July 17, 2017, 06:51:40 pm
It's quite simple to use... you register, set up a site(s) (e.g. Brookmans Park, Wildhill etc.) and submit either a list of species seen during a site visit, or casual one-off records. You can subsequently refer back to your historical records using the Explore My Records tab.

Yes, nice to bump into you today. And thanks for the link. I have just registered on the site (https://app.bto.org/btologin/users/new-observer.jsp) and I am now reading up on how it's done. Should keep me busy and out of mischief.   :)
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Nobby on July 17, 2017, 06:57:18 pm
happy to pop over and provide a quick tutorial if required
Title: Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
Post by: Editor on July 17, 2017, 07:00:40 pm
happy to pop over and provide a quick tutorial if required

I might take you up on that if I get stuck. Thanks for the offer.