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Old Thursday 8th March 2018, 20:53   #76
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Hi jape

I have seen bubble bees also. I think they like snowdrops and crocus - they should be out?
there are a few, the snow battered them but maybe a bit of nectar. daffodils soon!
bubble bee, is that a local name your way? as kids in Kent we called them dumbledores long before Rowling used the name. and hedgehogs were hogwitches
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Old Friday 9th March 2018, 07:04   #77
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Lol - no it is me misspelling! I've got flu so I'm not working particularly well!
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Old Saturday 10th March 2018, 12:54   #78
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everyone is aggressive today, the robin more than ever, dropping in on sparrows, dunnock, various tits, blackcap and even letting the blackbirds know he is around. he chased off a bemused chaffinch as well. no-one getting a feed! the bluetits hassle the coal tits, the wood pigeons have a go at each other and the collared dove who is looking really nervous.the great tit and the blackcap met in mid-air again, talons forward, beak agape but otherwise the great tits ignore it all and just fly in a circle round the robin and pinch a sunflower seed behind him and fly off.

i find the tits clever the way they take a peanut or large seed in their little beaks somehow and grasp it while they eat. the coaltit has a trick, instead of doing that, it rests a large peanut he can hardly get in his beak on a clump of moss and chips away at it.

i treated them all to raspberries, no takers.should have eaten them myself.

the sparrows can be surprisingly acrobatic, a swarm or cluster of gnats or similar appeared and the sparrows went nuts, hovering and hanging in the air, never seen that before!

i still cannot tell what the birds are that come to the twig tops everynow and again. they are pale and i never get much more of an impression than that, always in the tops and usually with bright light behind them. they have a robin type beak, not finches and not tits which i usually recognise and if the coal, blue or longtailed tits go up they flit about only a while. these others work along the highest twigs for minutes at a time then back to the lombardy poplars across the park or away. the blackcap hangs around in their company but comes down, they never do. they disappear for days at a time, usually the coldest and then come back. i have seen female chaffinch and a number of goldfinches up there but recognise them by white flashes or colour. these birds are focused on whatever they do and work along a branchlet then another. one day ...

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Old Tuesday 13th March 2018, 09:44   #79
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even the usual local birds are very infrequent today. and nothing much on or over the park even. maybe a better feeder nearby! or some other food source.
it has given the blackcap opportunity, he pops in continually and is stuffing on sunflower hearts and mixed seed and also now risking the suet ball hanger.

one blackbird is collecting damp old leaves. maybe she is creating a compost heap for worms? bit dank for a nest.

collared dove looking very fed up now feeder trays are gone while the grossly diseased woodpigeon is around

edit: confirmed treecreeper over a few minutes
tits are all back, plus chaffinch and goldfinches

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Old Tuesday 13th March 2018, 12:34   #80
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new bird, no idea what! top of 4m tree. smaller than thrush, larger than tits.
backlit as usual but seemed almost black, grey, white, two toned not brown at all with the lighter colour predominant but mainly black spots and streaks like a thrush but more so.


also single greenfinch tops of sycamores

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Old Tuesday 13th March 2018, 15:55   #81
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Our Coal Tits are masters of nipping in to the seed feeder when the other birds are distracted and grabbing a seed and making off with it. Yesterday a female Siskin was quietly feeding at the seed feeder when a Bullfinch female at least twice its size arrived, perched on the edge of the tray fitted under the feeder and leaned forward, beak gaping open in an aggressive display. The Siskin took one look and flew like a missile straight at the Bullfinch which did a back flip off the tray and fled into a nearby evergreen bush and hid. The Siskin landed in the Hawthorn hedge and preened for a while. Must have had a smile inside its head.

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Old Tuesday 13th March 2018, 17:01   #82
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never seen a siskin here. the blackcap that was shy has been really bossy of all the tits because for some reason cock robin not about. the pigeons chasing each other and starting to 'clap' as i call it when they go up vertically

Lee, anyone, how common are redpoll round Cheshire way? i saw no red but was underneath at an angle, i think that may be my new bird! nothing else in pics i have seen fit.
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Old Wednesday 14th March 2018, 09:52   #83
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We are still in March so many birds are still in wintering areas, like our Siskins, so almost anywhere could have Redpoll. I am not a dedicated birder but there seems to be more Redpoll species in the books than there used to be.

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Old Thursday 15th March 2018, 09:07   #84
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a few female chaffinches came down but no sight of any males even up in tops. hope they are around somewhere. grey squirrel poking around too.
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Old Saturday 17th March 2018, 13:21   #85
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i know they're birds so they can fly but sometimes they are amazing. not just larger predators but the little mundane ones like a pair of goldfinch at speed darting ahead of the wind, small titmice tossed seemingly out of control by a gust but turning and jinking through twigs into cover.

even the snow is getting thrown back upwards as it falls on these swirling winds. the great tits, robins, dunnocks, pigeons, doves, blackbird and a wren all cock-eyed at each other in a few more sheltered square metres of grass, foraging seeds blown from the table rather than go upwards into the bitter breezes.

high above, gulls beat and fight through snow and grey light, in from the coast, heading east. across the park jackdaw aerobatics, impressing one another and me showing skill and ability, jinking and spinning and diving around and through wind-whipped Lombardy poplars; one alone, timing his swoop, grabbing from the suet table while smaller birds scatter.

starling in their own world, bicker, stop, raid, a twist of eye and beak to a passing shadow, snap and thrill of a dozen wings, gone. all the birds, hop, twirl, twist, gone into hedge or tree depth, what did they see?

and now as the snow falls more heavily and wind quiets, a lone blackbird wary-eyed out from under the bushes back to the seeds and leaf tossing, blackcap follows from cover to the rosebush, a wren hops. she hadn't moved far, just dodged inches into a clump of weed grass; small, hidden, clever. dunnock too, she has the worm a blackbird had dropped at the scattering.

collared doves, a pair, appear with a flutter in the bare tree just higher than the hedge, deciding, then dropping down. robin dives at blackcap, great tits take that opportunity to quickly steal and as the snow stops and sun lights up the garden, long tailed tits seek insects in the ivy.
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Old Saturday 17th March 2018, 14:13   #86
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i know they're birds so they can fly but sometimes they are amazing. not just larger predators but the little mundane ones like a pair of goldfinch at speed darting ahead of the wind, small titmice tossed seemingly out of control by a gust but turning and jinking through twigs into cover.

even the snow is getting thrown back upwards as it falls on these swirling winds. the great tits, robins, dunnocks, pigeons, doves, blackbird and a wren all cock-eyed at each other in a few more sheltered square metres of grass, foraging seeds blown from the table rather than go upwards into the bitter breezes.

high above, gulls beat and fight through snow and grey light, in from the coast, heading east. across the park jackdaw aerobatics, impressing one another and me showing skill and ability, jinking and spinning and diving around and through wind-whipped Lombardy poplars; one alone, timing his swoop, grabbing from the suet table while smaller birds scatter.

starling in their own world, bicker, stop, raid, a twist of eye and beak to a passing shadow, snap and thrill of a dozen wings, gone. all the birds, hop, twirl, twist, gone into hedge or tree depth, what did they see?

and now as the snow falls more heavily and wind quiets, a lone blackbird wary-eyed out from under the bushes back to the seeds and leaf tossing, blackcap follows from cover to the rosebush, a wren hops. she hadn't moved far, just dodged inches into a clump of weed grass; small, hidden, clever. dunnock too, she has the worm a blackbird had dropped at the scattering.

collared doves, a pair, appear with a flutter in the bare tree just higher than the hedge, deciding, then dropping down. robin dives at blackcap, great tits take that opportunity to quickly steal and as the snow stops and sun lights up the garden, long tailed tits seek insects in the ivy.
So you didn't see much today then?

We can't see much at the moment due to the swirling blizzard storming in from the east but about half an hour ago a squad of 8 Siskins landed on our hawthorn hedge during a break in the snow and had an impromptu preening session about 15feet from our upstairs window. They was just so delightful and we could see from their throat feathers that they kept up a murmuring to stay in contact with each other. Gorgeous.

Lee
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Old Thursday 22nd March 2018, 09:18   #87
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nothing unusual this week apart from the old crippled woodie taking to sitting under hedge and snoozing. he is on way out, cat will get him if not the sparrowhawks. the female hawk did a swoop through today and then sat hidden in a conifer for a few minutes. she seemed so small and light. i wonder if they take pigeons?

i am assuming female as back dark brown and the streaks and spots were all brown.

add: spent a while looking over fence with binos for the first time. park full of fieldfare and redwing. and a couple of those black and white things a fair bit smaller than maggies but not sure of ID. i got some strange looks from dogwalkers, told them i was watching out for a snowy owl.

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Old Saturday 24th March 2018, 12:08   #88
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in recent times most seem to spend only a fraction of the time they used to in the garden, life must be getting more supportable all around. the blackcap spends more time than any on the table, shows i think how reliant winter-over birds are on us.

one lt tit takes a few minutes in every hour to attack or peck at his reflection just a foot away from me. he and his partner are building in a small bush and just four foot off the ground.

a swan flew past just yards off the ground, just a whish, whish softly of wings.

i have looked at hundreds of pics of raptors now and i have ti give up on the ID. none fit well. it had very pale, unmarked or very faintly marked underneath, no stripes or bars and quite a relatively stumpy shape. just maybe a goshawk or sparrowhawk with the afternoon light through its plumage but in shape a smaller, short winged buzzard! i shall let that one go as unknown.

i see the treecreeper most days now and the usual tits and goldfinches. only a brief glimpse a couple of days back of goldcrest, brief visits from chaffinches and greenfinches. they all mainly seem to be off elsewhere. fieldfares and redwings have moved on too and many more duck and geese flybys but too distant for me to identify. wood pigeons are mating but i cant see any nests!

add: i just spent nearly ten minutes watching female sparrowhawk standing in middle of park. she just stood, fluffed feathers a couple of times, hardly moved. maybe she missed a strike, she wasn't eating anything but was all alone apart from there were two rabbits about 25m away and three woodpigeons rooting around 30m or so away ignoring her! she then flew up into tree for a couple of minutes then away.

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Old Wednesday 28th March 2018, 16:36   #89
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fun in the yard! binoculars allow me not just to magnify but to see a couple of feet or so into the gloom under the hedge. when the trees are empty i often watch the hedge. i will see a rabbit from time to time, blackbirds scraping away, robin and wren and often of course the dunnock. all in the half-light thereunder. today the wood mouse was frenetically racing amongst the unperturbed birds picking up scraps from the feeder above the hedge after the starlings had made their usual messy visit to the suet balls.

to my surprise the mouse came out a few times at speed and ran up into a bush, climbing like a little monkey. this bush is where the wrens are often hidden, perhaps nesting. usually all the birds ignore him although the blackbirds sometimes advance on him. today he came leaping back out and jumped a foot to the ground chased by two wrens! one went back intovthe bush and the other dived at him as he ran off. i wonder if he tried to take over the nest as a home? i cannot think of any other reason he would climb into a bush.
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Old Sunday 1st April 2018, 12:20   #90
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to my surprise the mouse came out a few times at speed and ran up into a bush, climbing like a little monkey. this bush is where the wrens are often hidden, perhaps nesting. usually all the birds ignore him although the blackbirds sometimes advance on him. today he came leaping back out and jumped a foot to the ground chased by two wrens! one went back intovthe bush and the other dived at him as he ran off. i wonder if he tried to take over the nest as a home? i cannot think of any other reason he would climb into a bush.
Jape

Wood Mice will climb up anything if they think food (nuts and berries and maybe even growing leaf-buds) might be up there. They certainly wouldn't turn their noses up at stealing nuts and berries and seeds from a cache hidden by squirrels or birds either. Great that you were able to see this behaviour!

Lee
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Old Monday 2nd April 2018, 12:01   #91
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house sparrows have taken over the world! despite that they (more than a dozen) spend much time based just a couple of gardens away in a mixed cotoneaster/hawthorn hedge most of the day i hardly saw them. an occasional visit by one female and maybe a couple of times a week by others. suddenly after many weeks they have found the suet ball hanger and come and go all day four or five or up to fourteen squabbling and gobbling. the starlings push them off, the lt tits may share but most others have left. blackcap for days unseen yet he was the most active, even the other three titmice types get fed up queing and take just an odd seed from the table.

it is a shame in some ways as i now see the goldfinches, greenfinches and even robin and blackbirds less, once or twice a day instead of on and off all day. the wrens and lt tits were nesting but unless they are lying low the constant disruption by sparrows has driven them off. dunnocks dont seem to care.

i shall let the spadgers finish the suet balls off then stay with seed, i miss the others! tree sparrows have gone too. blackcap i miss most, took him a while to be relaxed but now he is gone as are chaffinches, bull finch. maybe it is also seasonal.
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Old Monday 2nd April 2018, 16:56   #92
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It is said that our wintering Blackcaps come from Germany so perhaps yours has headed home. Other birds like the tit species are probably more interested in pairing up and looking for nest sites just now so don't be too hard on your House Sparrows.

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Old Monday 9th April 2018, 08:21   #93
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birds are far afield, fewer in garden.

no blackcap for a while, nor chaffinches or bullfinch. gold and greenfinch still around but rarer visits although a female was collecting pigeon down from the lawn.

mainly pigeons, doves, house sparrows and constant courting dunnocks. the jackdaws drop in, blackbirds clean the gutter above of moss and sycamore shoots and sometimes a starling or two visits. magpies in tree tops but even the tits are rarer but from time to time they all take a seed or two. no treecreeper in the sycamores all this week that i have observed.

there is a robin that is a bit different, his belly is freckled with black spots, quite noticeable, and another that is grey rather than white on the belly. three or four are battling for this territory aggressively still.

in the distance, a falcon, distinct long tail and thin sickle shaped wings, fast. silhouette only though.
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Old Monday 9th April 2018, 13:40   #94
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I find it hilarious that you listed humans among your observations. This made me smile. 😊
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Old Monday 9th April 2018, 16:58   #95
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the humans are sometimes the funniest part. sex and drugs on the otherside of the fence. i get tempted to turn the hose on but they are harmless, teenagers looking for privacy.

birds are strange sometimes. eight sparrows within a metre and three dunnocks displaying a further couple of feet away from a black and white cat three metres up a tree! they ignored it.

if you imagine a hemisphere of not even 20 metres, then halve it as the house takes up the back part, that is my view. in that small space at one time this arvo i had two wood pigeons in a tree, two magpies at top left of tree, seven goldfinches in middle top of tree, down a bit a couple of longtailed tits, further down 3 dunnocks, 8 sparrows just below them, a pair of collared doves on the feeder, wren on the fence post, robin on the bush to left, great tit on the seed hanger, blackbird on lawn, a cat up the tree. once the magpies left a bunch of infrequent visitors, tree sparrows, took over the tops and then a jackdaw dropped in for some sunflower hearts. all in a couple of minutes.

gets quite busy at times and there i was wondering where all the birds had gone this morning!

seven goldfinches together was most i have ever seen in one go.
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Old Thursday 12th April 2018, 09:05   #96
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jackdaw stuffing a halfdozen sunflower hearts into his bill while his partner waits nearby
greenfinch briefly visits while goldfinches flitter above
woodies stuffing fallen grains, blackbird nearby, chirring unease as the collared doves hesitate, heads turning
they all compress, ready to leap but the shadow is a gull
sparrows bickering, the youngest flash to the hedge but no threat
dunnocks ignore all, single mindedly flagging and chasing, a threesome, watched by robin nearby
all the tits come and go, threading through the busy sparrows, load up, depart, back again
wood pigeon bows and coos then display becomes aggression at a rival and all clatter off,
a single white feather falls and all the birds are gone
no, the goldfinches and longtails are still in the tops
the robin, watching all from his sentinel post swoops back to feed
blackbird hops from under hedge, one dunnock reappears and the flock of sparrows return from all directions
collared doves, one swoops to the fallen seed left by the wood pigeons who now contest in the lower branches
the other dove, still nervous, bobbing and peering from the fence
while great and blue tits come and go, table, short hop to grasp reward in talon, consume and back
the lonely silhouette at the top of the distant tree is the greenfinch, off he goes
jackdaws, a pair, ride the wind away above
motor mower growling across the park
it is not peace, but it is alive, changing, constant
a brief thrill of robin song
and now the view is empty, for a while
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Old Thursday 12th April 2018, 17:39   #97
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I find your posts really interesting :)

I am "camping" - in our caravan - too old and smart for tenting. I always take a bird feeding station with me. At the Malverns now.

Have you noticed a "pecking order" this has been particularly pronounced this week!

This week it has been, bossiest first, nuthatch, great tit, blue tit, long-tailed tit and lastly coal tit.
The robin does not seem to care about anything other than the neighbouring robins!
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Old Thursday 12th April 2018, 19:15   #98
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hi Julie. glad you like my posts
slight difference here in pecking order
nuthatch not seen for a while
great tits do what they wish, although blackcap went up against them he has gone
longtailed next, they even get in amongst the sparrows, not agressive just slip in
bluetits
coaltits
robin was much more aggro a few weeks back but as you say, preoccupied with other robins now
enjoy your trip, i envy you
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Old Sunday 15th April 2018, 07:37   #99
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female, then male bullfinch! infrequent visitors so good to see them

that was morning, this arvo, greater spotted woodpecker
and, despite he has been missing for ten days or so, the (or a) blackcap is back in the sycamore tops flitting after insects, watched him for ten minutes! thought he had gone to germany.

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Old Friday 4th May 2018, 19:03   #100
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nothing new and much hudden behindcthecfresh green growth but still a daily delight as the blackbird fledglings come out more and more and busy mother bustles

she feeds them lots of slugs after wiping the slime off assiduously so i looked them up -
90 calories per 10 g with 10 to 20% protein and lots of minerals, mmm tasty?
also plenty of toxins and bacteria for humans which are also in slime trails so handle with care and wash your greens well ...

i wish i had a camera to hand - the old cat next door decided to limp over for a drink from the birdbath and i noticed when the blackbird 'pinked'. no exaggeration, in the one tree just above were the blackbird, a dunnock, a great tit, a robin, a wren and two goldfinches all waiting and watching like little coloured dolls lined up!

the wren's tail was twitching in a way i havent seen before, right forward over its rump, more than the usual upright position. the wren is also going up much higher in the bigger trees than usual as the tiny grape-bunch like sycamore flowers are full of nectar. or so i suppose.

the goldfinches are clever too, the first dandelion clocks are forming behind tight-closed green sheaths, the goldies peck into them at the base and extract nutritious, moist seeds without the fuss of the fluff.

one magpie patrols along the hedge base every day, i watch it look and listen, but the laurel hedge is a good tight one so no eggs or youngsters on the menu unless it wants to risk its splendid tail feathers on snags. a wonder of shimmering mauves and greens and purple blues against that soft matte-black and clean white.
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