I have added at the bottom a few more that I have seen but which are not recorded as breeding here.
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Additional species recorded in or over the area during the 2010 breeding bird survey:
|A pair of Mallards, I'm watching out for ducklings!|
Lesser Black-backed Gull
In addition I have seen: barn owl, two egrets, grey wagtails, corn buntings, wheatear and a large flock of golden plovers passing through.
In my garden, I have also seen a redpoll one hard winter.
So there is plenty to spot and enjoy in the different seasons.
|Two Little Egrets|
Seemingly unconcerned by the traffic roaring past so close, these birds were feeding contentedly until I spooked them, then they took flight and gave me a dazzling air show like a string of beads just burst, their white underwings flashing in the bright sunshine as they tumbled down the sky. A truly magical sight.
Whitethroats are my favourites in spring-time as they can easily be seen taking short flights from one spot to another in repetitive fashion. This makes it easy to photograph them too as you can focus on the spot they have just left ready for when they come back!
I feel so privileged to see these summer visitors year on year so close to the buslink just a stone's throw from home. This one is perched on a pile of dead twigs left by the clearance for the road works. Their favourite nesting area was the hawthorn scrub on the Shanley Land which has largely been removed. Now the copse has almost disappeared as well, I wonder where they will find a safe place to nest this year? And will they come back next year?
So far this year I have regularly heard Garden Warblers, Black Caps and Chiff-Chaffs, but no Willow Warblers. Perhaps the north winds have delayed them, or has the clearing of the willow trees along the stream deterred them? I do miss their sad descending warble.
There are plenty of starlings feeding in the garden but now that the woods backing onto Wheatfield Road have been largely cleared, their roost has shrunk considerably. In winter several small flocks gave a delightful murmuration display before settling down for the night. Will they still roost there next winter?
Of the field birds we will lose many species when the houses are built. The biggest loss will be the skylarks. For me there's nothing better than the song of the lark to lift the spirits. Meadow pipits abound on the Shanley Land, and the call of the partridges in the long grass is frequently heard in the background. Linnets sit on the power lines, dropping down to the ground to feed. Yellowhammers can be seen all year round, and recently a couple of corn buntings accompanied me on my walks along the stream.
|Yellowhammer surveying the scene|
In winter fieldfares and redwings eat the fruit remaining on the bushes. Wrens, robin and blackbirds love to feed along the stream and a grey wagtail is often seen feeding in the stream. By the bridge, I was always greeted by a robin in a tree now cut down which was his territorial marker.
I have only ever seen a great spotted woodpecker and bullfinch on my garden feeders, never beyond the garden fence. The woodpecker's habitat is already decimated and I haven't heard him drumming for several years.
One mystery I would like to clear up is where do the swifts nest that visit every year? If they nest in Chalton Farm then that's bad news for them and us as it's in the middle of the road site. I love to hear them screaming and watch them chasing across the sky from my window while at work - a great distraction! I wonder if we should make sure they stay by putting up swift nesting boxes.
Of the gulls I think the least said the better, as their raucous sound tends to drown the gentler songs of smaller birds. Gulls are attracted inland by the abundant fast food left by humans on pavements. However, they did once give a spectacular flying display around the black poplar, apparently catching moths as they took flight from the top of the tree. A never-to-be forgotten experience!
Living close to a semi-wilderness also means having predators around, like sparrowhawks, kestrels and buzzards. I opened my curtains one morning to find myself staring straight into the face of a sparrowhawk barely 12feet away! That moment I was glad I wasn't a sparrow! Sparrows nest in the eaves and no doubt its attention was slightly above my head. We locked gaze for what seemed like minutes.
When I hear a bird call, I can't help picking up my binoculars whatever I'm doing, and going to look for it. I am not a birdwatcher who counts sightings, or one who has to see a certain number of species each year, although that is important in order to find out what is happening to our British Birds. My interest is more in going out to see what I can hear in 'My Patch', whether common or rare, and observing its beauty and learning about its behaviour and habitat.
We've already lost tawny owls and cuckoos, more often heard than seen, and now more species will be lost to this area. When the fields have gone under houses, wheatear and golden plover will not be able to stop there to refuel on their long flight south. When there are cars along the buslink, I wonder if the warblers will continue to delight with their spring songs, or if I will be able to hear them above the noise of traffic?
Above all, what I love about watching wild creatures is when they know I'm watching them and watch me back without flinching and I daren't breathe lest I break the spell. That eye-to-eye contact is a magical moment that is worth getting up early in the morning and waiting for. I always go out with an open mind and come back refreshed and thankful for all I have seen, even if I saw the same species the day before. I just want to know they are still there and will still be there tomorrow and the next day and the next year....
|Nest in the saved hedge|