Monday, 27 February 2017

Things are looking up

A good weekend in the valley mainly focused around the neglected northern end.
Friday afternoon produced a raven flying at tree top height, and calling, in a NNE direction over aldersley canal junction. A few minutes later what was presumably the same bird made the reverse trip.
The weekend produced 9 grey wagtail sightings. Difficult to know how many birds were involved a minimum of 4 seen in 2X2 at water bridge, but 2 at Oxley were probably one 2 and 2 at the pre fabs could have been the others. If so this would suggest passage birds heading towards their upland breeding sites but hopefully we will have breeding success again in the valley.
Two stone chat, presumed to be female were on the Lupin field.(the rough ground below the Oxley carriage sidings). Wonder how long they had been there. Similarly with a very active chiffchaff just north of oxley viaduct which is not an unusual wintering spot.
The rooks seem to have moved a little south perhaps due to the high winds with regular counts just into double figures.
Great spotted woodpeckers are much more obvious than of late (as are nuthatch) with a pair excavating at the regular spot by the water bridge.
Also in their regular spot were a twittering group of about 10 siskin on the railway line by the coachyard.
Finally the parakeets continue to be seen but am not sure what is going on, a pair have been noted but early doors there was a three some with 2 possibly young birds snuggling up  together on a branch and the 3rd not seeming to have a ringed neck although it may have had a little black under the bill.  It certainly did not have the bright pink bill and pink collar of the regular male as seen today.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Signs of Spring

Birds signing is a classic signal of an impending springtime, as is the recently blooming crocus and snow drop. But this time last year the daffodils had been out for a while.  Actually some birds have already been in song for sometime.
An early morning visit on a bright sunny day this week was rewarded with much song especially in the paddocks.  Song thrushes dominated with at least 9 in the middle sector reflecting decent breeding in the previous 2 years.
Dunnock were also well represented.  Strangely one bird, by the old bridge, has been singing for about 3 weeks but now many others joined in.
Not many robin's which seem to start a little later in the morning but they have been signing all winter.
Another winter singer can be the wren but this year they seemed to go quite before Xmas and have only recently started, but not full song.
Another curiosity is the blackbird which in the mid section does not sing till April but in the last week Geoff and I have each heard a signing bird in a street garden.
Chaffinch has joined the party as have many great tots.
As far as wintering spices are concerned Redding are still with us, normally the flock only comes together in high wind, fog or late in the day and numbers 40ish.  This group's frequents the mid section and dispersed around the adjoining gardens.  Another larger flock feeds with fieldfare at the southern end.
My recent visit gave me both siskin and red poll.  Flocks around 20 of two species which have been scarce this year.
Two spices more associated with breeding appeared towards the end of January, a chiffchaff by Wightwicl lock and a female blackcap visiting 2 gardens in Crowther rd.
Otherwise a wasp on friday whilst the gulls behaved as if they were catching insects and the parakeets bursting out of an ivy covered bush right in front of me whilst the ground was frozen.
What we haven't been seeing is kingfisher and greywagtail which may sought warmth further south and in the town centre respectively.
Finally on Friday afternoon at least 6, probably 7 or even 8, buzzards were soaring very high between Oxley and Newbridge.