Tuesday, 10 November 2015

More grey skies and a moderate breeze this morning, but at least it stayed dry, with the temperature well above normal again.

I visited the lakes first thing this morning, finding a CORMORANT and a GREY HERON fishing, as well a KINGFISHER, but no visiting duck species were present. The male KESTREL was hunting over the adjacent Scrubby Woods, which only had 2 BULLFINCH and 4 GOLDCREST of note today.

Heading over to Migrant Alley and the Greenhouse Grounds, I again saw at least 4 MEADOW PIPITS as I walked across the Ashes Lane Fields. The Alder trees at the Greenhouse Grounds were attracting the SISKIN / GOLDFINCH flock still, with around 75 birds present, mostly GOLDFINCHES, but at least 2 LESSER REDPOLL were mixed in with them. Further along, there were a good number of birds attracted to the sun flower hearts I have been putting along the boundary hedgerow, with a dozen each of GREENFINCH and CHAFFINCH, as well as 5 GREAT TITS, 7 BLUE TITS, a DUNNOCK a ROBIN plus 5 YELLOWHAMMERS and a LINNET nearby.

Out on the sheep pasture at Migrant Alley, there were 187 BLACK HEADED GULLS, careful scanning of of them didn't reveal a Med Gull, but overhead, along with a few HERRING GULLS, my first COMMON GULL (59) of the month was seen flying over. I stayed around the area, mostly sky watching, where I saw the female Kestrel up hunting, plus flyovers from small numbers of SKYLARK, REDWING and FIELDFARE, plus a lone LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL.

This afternoon I spent some time watching my garden bird feeders, 2 NUTHATCH, 2 COAL TIT, and a GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER were a good start, but the SPARROWHAWK made a return, ending my fun!

I took this shot of the Sprawk through the double glazing, and at a silly ISO of 1600, but the image didn't turn out that bad really! Shame about the large screw by the Sprawks foot, I must remember to impale an apple on that!

I at least opened the window for this Great Spotted Woodpecker image, an ok shot, but some light would make it zing a bit more!


Derek Faulkner said...

I wonder how many garden birds that you've fed to that bloody Sprawk over the last year or so.

Marc Heath said...

Brilliant image. Clone out the screw in photoshop.

Warren Baker said...

At 2 a day, could be up to 730 ! No wonder the House Sparrows keep clear of my garden!

Warren Baker said...

Easier for me to go out and physically remove the screw, i'm sure i'll get another chance with the Sprawk!

Derek Faulkner said...

730 - possibly just one bird - multiply that across the Sprawk population and it could be argued that songbirds have a problem, one of many.

Phil Barnett said...

I don't think sprawks are a problem for songbirds - maybe for individuals but not for populations - they have evolved alongside 'natural' predators...domestic cats on the other hand...BTW the way did you see Chris packham getting more that little enthused by sprawks

Derek Faulkner said...

If Sprawks are becoming a problem for songbirds, it could be argued that it's one that we have created - bird tables and bird feeders! Every other garden has them, creating a constant and easy food supply for Sprawks. Where they have to find their food the hard way out in the open countryside a natural balance is probably maintained but we do appear have upset the balance yet again.
Chris Packham's orgasmic purrings were somewhat over the top. "Domestic cats on the other hand" - an un-natural source of no good.

Warren Baker said...

You have a point about bird feeders causing congregations of birds, making it easy for sprawks, but in the countryside the birds congregate naturally around food sources, eg. The siskins and goldfinches on the Alders, or a stubble field full of Pipits and finches, so it isn't much different.

If there are plenty of places to feed, the bird flocks can move on, making it harder for a predator, the problem arises when the same food resource is continually utilised out of necessity, whether that be a garden feeder or a line of isolated Alders.

Its the same old problem.............lack of habitats!

Warren Baker said...

You're right about predation not being a driver of bird declines, the problen goes much deeper i'm afraid.

Derek Faulkner said...

You make valid points Warren.