4 Nov 2013

A quiet weekend at home in Chehsire

A quiet weekend spent around the house and local patch - mainly because I screwed up my dates and should have been ringing waders with SCAN in N Wales! Whether my sciatica would have stood up to humping canons and heavy nets around is another matter though.

Saturday morning was spent clearing fallen leaves and putting them into the compost bin or piling them under the bushes to provide a habitat for wintering insects. I put a couple of small mist nets up and managed to catch a few birds including three male House Sparrows  - one of which was a retrap from August last year.

They really are stunning little birds when seen close up and its hard to believe we weren't allowed to ring them in the 70's when  I first trained. If we had been able to do so we'd have picked up the danger signs of a species in trouble much sooner. I'm trying to increase the number of pairs on our estate by making boxes and encouraging neighbours to let me put them up on their houses. Two more have recently been installed.

A juvenile female Greater spotted Woodpecker and two Goldfinches were also ringed along with a first winter Dunnock and the ubiquitous Blue & Great Tits.

Interestingly 2 Goldcrests and a Chiffchaff appeared in the garden just after a short shower (I'd already put the nets away by this time). They must have been moving through and become forced down by the rain. The only other significant garden record was a flock of 200 + Jackdaws over early afternoon. This seemed to coincide with a big movement being reported at other sites in Cheshire.

A walk around the fields Sunday afternoon was very unproductive. Where have all the birds gone?
Apart from at least 6 Buzzards the only birds present in any numbers were the  pre-roost flock of 80+ alba Wagtails in a field of winter wheat. These were coming to a puddle to bath and drink so I stood in the fading light and took a few photo's.

The weekends birding ended with me standing in the garden at dusk listening to the 'chink' 'chink' 'chink' of Blackbirds as they assembled before going to roost.

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