21 Feb 2014

Wagtail roost

Having previously noted some good pre-roost gatherings of Pied Wagtails I guessed there must be a big roost nearby. I found it just before Christmas! We'd just left a restaurant on our local retail park and I noticed a tree standing by itself in the car park and surrounded by a metal fence that appeared to be covered in pale leaves. Above the music playing from the food outlets trying to attract people in I heard the call of Pied Wagtails. Closer inspection revealed around 200 Pied Wagtails roosting in this one tree.

Since then we've been to the same restaurant several times and each time I check on the tree - the only time they weren't there was during a very windy spell when they were actually roosting on the ground below the tree! I have no intention of trying to catch and ring any of these birds as the roost is so localised in one tree the whole roost would be disturbed and probably disperse. The birds welfare always comes first.

Last night we went out for dinner and I remembered to take the DSLR to get some decent pictures rather than using the phone.
Photos above taken each side of the same tree and the one below is a close up crop of one of these.

A fantastic sight and whats even more amazing are the people walking past completely unaware of the birds in the tree next to them. Even Mrs W was impressed at my powers of hearing and observation and of course, the birds themselves. Its nice to know that even in this neon lit place that nature has found a home.

Spring is most definitely in the air. Well the birds think so. We've had the first Siskins of the year on the bird feeders and they'll be fattening up to move north to the breeding grounds. The two wintering male Blackcaps have now been joined by a female. During a short ringing session in the garden after work I caught two Blue Tits with the beginnings of brood patches. Another 3 weeks and we'll be getting the first Wheatears and Chiffchaffs through.


DaveE said...

I first noticed a wagtail roost at Cheshire Oaks about 4 years ago. Another good roost used to be in Church St. in Liverpool city centre until Liverpool City Council removed the trees!

Phil Woollen. said...

Thanks Dave.
There used to be a big roost at the Countess of Chester - I'm not sure if its still there. I assumed the big pre-roost gatherings I'd seen locally where heading that way!

Unknown said...

I witnessed this evening the largest,noisiest and busiest flock of wagtails in Liverpool City centre that I have ever seen. Because of the Christmas lights I could not tell what type of wagtail they were. I was just amazed to see the flurry of these beautiful birds. I think they were about to roost within the trees all throughout the pedestrian area by Bold St, Liverpool City centre

Phil Woollen. said...

These will be Pied Wagtails - they roost communally and often in urban surroundings. There used to be a roost I'd see every time I flew back to Manchester Airport terminal 3. They were in a tree just outside the arrivals hall.