Monday, 2 January 2017

December review

Little to report in the way of unusual sightings in the last month, but still plenty of interesting behaviour. Dunstall park has done better but I will leave that to Angus.
The parakeets have been scarce during the year but December saw daily sightings between the meccano and the water bridge. There had been a couple of reports of 4 and a pair have been exploring nest holes.  This is not unusual as they nest anytime between January and June.  Also investigating their nests have been the rooks where 10 birds have been seen on 3 occasions in the rookery, more surprisingly the adjacent pair of crows have also been visiting their old nest and even passing nest sticks.
Raven are the earliest nesting of the corvids and it would not surprise me if the birds that breed just into staffordshire are regularly visiting their nests already but the rooks will be driven away by the cold and not return properly for a few weeks whilst the crows don't normally set up until march.
Collared doves are another early nester and they are already actively courting.
Birdsong increased during the month, at the beginning mistle thrush, from the middle song thrush and at the end wren and great tit; whilst robins sang throughout the month.
Most intriguing behaviour was a pair of goldcrest mutually preening. Normally when you see a goldcrest they flit around and quickly disappear but these two remained extremely close together and seemed to be picking at each other. the male constantly displayed his orange crest (as opposed to the yellow of the female).
On the canal little grebe were scarce with few sightings (maybe due to disturbance/tree cutting), although the cold days either end of the month saw 3 birds present. Finally the juvenile moorhens seem to have heralded the new year by acquiring red bills, although one presumably a late hatching only has yellow so far.
All the best for the new year from the local crew.

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