9 Dec 2013

Tidying up after the storm

With the gale force winds we've had recently we were lucky to get away without major damage to the house and garage. There was still a fair amount of tidying up to do in the garden as it was knee deep in fallen leaves and branches! Finishing early Friday and wit ha couple of hours daylight left I managed a quick walk around Stanney Woods with the highlight being a Woodcock flushed from deep cover as  I sneezed. This bodes well for the January Footit challenge:

Last year I had great fun doing this and its a good way to work off the Christmas excess poundage. Rather than driving to a local 'patch' it gets you back to basics exploring the area within walking distance of where you live. With our local environment being a mix of suburban housing estates, improved pasture and arable fields along with a smattering of ponds and woods I recorded 60+ species last January and aim to beat that this year.

Saturday morning dawned clear and bright and as I peered out of the bedroom window I found three Blackcaps sitting in one of our birch trees. 2 males and a female were just sat enjoying the sunshine. We get wintering Blackcaps most years but these are earlier than usual.

Whilst carrying out the domestic chores I put a mist net up in the garden and was rewarded with this stunning male Sparrowhawk. Its bounced out of the net a couple of times over the last two years but this time I was on hand to secure it albeit at the expense of a few bits of flesh and some blood.


A real beauty. A good selection of birds were ringed including several Goldfinches. These can sometimes be quite tricky to age this time of year but I had this bird that showed a very clear distinction between its moulted adult type greater coverts and retained juvenile greater coverts making it a bird of the year Euring age 3.

Another good garden record was a fly over Peregrine Sunday afternoon. Now that would be a catch!

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