Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Good Question 19 - Name the Bird

It's Quiz Night Tuesday

Tonight's question is a name the bird one, so here we go. What is this bird?

I was just going to put in the first picture, but I thought that might be a bit too tricky. So you have 2 pictures of the same bird.

I think quite a lot of you will get this one right. Douglas McFarlane won the last quiz, but I had to eat his prize (a slice of my birthday cake). It tasted really nice Douglas!

I am hiding all comments until the answer is revealed tomorrow, good luck.

And the answer is:

A male Golden Eye ( I knew I should have just posted the first picture)!

Monday, 24 February 2014

The Annoying Stick!

On Sunday I visited Marbury Park  to see what was about, I saw plenty of birds and got some great pictures. This picture below of a gorgeous Nuthatch could of probably been one of the best pictures I had ever taken if it wasn't for that pesky stick! The sun was out all day shining behind me, straight onto the birds allowing me to get some fantastic shots.

I like the Nuthatch below just popping his head in to the sun and as you can see if you look closely this bird is ringed on it's right leg.

I think this Nuthatch was a male because of the rather reddish, chestnutty flanks, these birds are always nice to see especially in the sun light.

The wood was filled with bird song on Sunday, one species which was singing included a Robin belting it's song out loud and proud.

As you can see this Kingfisher picture is rather blurry, as it was flying rather fast. There were in fact two of these stunning birds flying back and forth into one dense bush with fish in their mouths.

I was surprised to see only one Reed Bunting feeding on the feeders; this male imparticular was frequently visiting the floor and the feeding tray.

To be honest there wasn't much on the mere, however the Great Crested Grebes were displaying to one another which was nice to see (couldn't get a picture because they were to far away, apart from this solitary one that came quiet close).

A nice end to the half term holiday, especially as I got to see the Bittern again. Come back on Tuesday night for a great mystery bird quiz question.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

A Golden North Wales for Half term

It is coming up to the end of my half term, however it has definitely proved worth it. The majority of the week I was at my Grandma's in Wales; unfortunately though we only got one trip out to Conwy , but I still got to see lots of birds. Winter in Wales is always spectacular and although no snow was on the ground where we set foot, the mountains were covered in it, showing off some fantastic views.

It was the only day of the week that luckily did not rain, and not overcast either. The sun was out allowing me to get some fantastic scenery pictures.

Considering this Golden Eye was a long way away, I am pretty pleased with my pictures. This is the first time I have ever seen one at RSPB Conwy so it was really quite nice.

These birds always seem to make me more happy inside, with their mesmerizing colors and splendid water acrobatics.  

It wasn't just waterfowl we saw that day, plenty of waders including these gorgeous Curlews all huddled up together. 

I did manage, even though it rained most of the time, to fit in a bit of ditch digging with my Grandpa; seeing one or two birds including a solitary Red Kite and a few Buzzards circling over head.

I didn't manage to see the Great Grey Shrike this time, but I bet it was in that Scrub lurking somewhere. Never mind I'll catch it another day.

So a perfect week which is not completely over yet. I can't wait to tell you about today's Nuthatches, but that's going to be another blog post.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Trail Cam's First Night Out

Since it's just been my birthday, I got a few nice presents, one of my favorites was my full HD trap camera I used as soon as I could and boy did I get some perfect footage.  I was surprised I didn't capture any footage of cats, but it was all  foxes.

On the first night of trying it I thought there were two different foxes but I'm not quite sure so it would be good if I could have some help.

This is the first one......

This is the second one... quite a bit larger I think and as Georgia Locock pointed out it seems to have a black mark on the side of it's neck.

I tried it again last night, and again got some great footage, this time the same fox visiting the field the whole night, first appearing at 11pm and it's last visit was at about 5am.

I can't wait to do it set the camera trap again, but off to Grandma's now for half term and to hopefully get some Great Grey Shrike news for my next blog post.

I hope you all have a great week.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Winter Thrush Spectacular

Due to the weather and not being able to go ringing again today, me, my mum and my dad (brother at a sleep over) all decided to go for a walk on my local patch. Before even travelling a 100 metres a huge flock of a mixture of birds took off from the fields including a flock of 100+ Redwing, a flock of 100+ Fieldfare, at least 50 Linnet and about 50 Starling. It wasn't us that originally spooked the birds; in fact a large female Sparrowhawk sped underneath the commotion, but didn't get her lunch. 


The Fieldfares seemed to be feasting on the worms, getting a good meal out of them, especially this one! 

The Fieldfare and the giant worm!

 It wasn't just the Fieldfares out hunting in the rain, plenty of Redwing were having a good go at feeding as well. Linnets were also scattered across the field in separate little flocks panicking every time something bigger than them flew by (notice the Linnets in front of the Redwing).

Redwing and Linnets

My mum wanted some bread to feed the ducks, however every time we tried to chuck some bread into the river the wind blew straight back into our faces and onto the path making a perfect lunch for this Carrion Crow. It followed us for quite a way down the path, but maybe because I was leaving a little trail of bread for it.

 On the far side of the river bank were some Long Tailed Tits feeding gracefully among the trees (one of my dads favorite birds).

Long Tailed Tit

 The heronry had a little bit of damage done to it from that awful storm on Wednesday night, adults were  flying back and to with large sticks to make repairs, but overall it is still doing well. 


Now speaking of nests, I came across a half built Magpie nest. The male and female were continuously flying back and to to the nest with sticks.

Magpie nest

The farmers sheep were out in the field joined by lots of Black Headed Gulls (some with a completely black head) this particular sheep went for a drink in the river.

 As the rain picked up we started to head back and before long came across this Little Grebe floating  effortlessly across the water. On the same stretch of water a very dull Kingfisher flew by squealing in flight.

Little Grebe

 The main purpose of the walk was yes to enjoy all the countryside and wildlife, but we were also doing a patch count; all together counting 31 individual species of bird, a perfect day.

The tree tunnel

The full list of sightings today was BHG, Fieldfare, Redwing, Linnets, Pied Wagtail, Sprawk, Magpie, Cormorant, Carrion Crow, Little Grebe,Coot, Moorhen, Mallard, Mute Swan, Canada Goose, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Wren, Buzzard, Blackbird, Chaffinch, GSW, Nuthatch, Wood Pigeon, Heron, Jackdaw, Pheasant, Kingfisher, Goldfinch, Siskin and Starling.

By the way there will be a blog tomorrow about my  first experiences with my new trail cam that I got for my birthday (full HD) I can't wait.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Turning 12 Today

This is just a quick birthday post before I eat my way through a special tea.  

Yesterday, the last bird I saw as an 11 year old was a beautiful little Blue Tit getting blown about in the storm. 

This morning, the first birds I saw were a group of Magpies screeching to me from our Hawthorn tree. And then my 10,000 Starlings did their morning fly by which was as amazing as ever to watch. I am sure they made a 12 shape murmuration for me.

I have had some amazing presents. My best friend Sam has adopted a hedgehog for me and I got the BTO Field Guide to Monitoring Nests and a new camera trap for the garden. It's a good job it wasn't my birthday yesterday as I don't think I would have got chance to blow my candles out!

Amazing day. We are going to do a walk with everyone again soon, but when the weather gets a bit better and things dry up a bit. I hope you are all okay after all the storms.

From Findlay

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Good Question 18 - BTO Bird Atlas

It's Quiz Night Tuesday

It's been a little while since the last quiz so here it is back again.

Tonight's question is:

Approximately how many schools participated in submitting date for the (fabulous) BTO Bird Atlas 2007-11?

Whoever is closest wins a slice of my birthday cake on Thursday.

And of course we have to have a bird picture, so here are some Great Crested Grebes from Marbury last Friday.

According to the Bird Atlas, there has been a 22% increase in Winter range size since the previous 1981-84 Atlas, so a good news story for this species.

Good luck with the quiz. I will post all your answers and the actual answer tomorrow.

And the answer is:

Well on page 90 of the Bird Atlas it says at least 20 of the observers were schools. If there were a lot more than this I am sure Dawn will correct me.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Marbury Murmuration

Again this morning well over 10,000 Starlings have flown in a big murmuration group along the River Weaver. I have watched them through my bedroom window every morning for the last 4 weeks.  The group looks too big to be the Marbury Starling roost, so I wonder where they are coming from, any ideas anyone?

This was a video I made of the Marbury murmuration at the end of last year. I thought you might enjoy it.

Linking to Sky Watch Friday

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Another High Tide at Parkgate

This Winter there has been a reasonable amount of high tides around the coast, especially at Parkgate, the bird paradise I decided to visit again. The tide was supposed to be over 10m again along with a storm surge, it certainly proved right! There was soon a huge flourish of waders trying to avoid the high tide rushing in; they were soon followed by the rapters (I saw a Hen Harrier, 2 Short Eared Owls, Kestrels and a solitary Sparrowhawk). The Lapwings in huge numbers were the most frequent bird, however there were large flocks of other waders as well.

A large flock of Redshank constantly flew back and to across my gaze, soon taking to the sky properly escaping the high tide almost completely covering the marsh. Just before the tide had almost completely come in I felt a bit of pressure on my shoulder. I turned to around and found it was Mike Buckley a real pleasant surprise,we stayed chatting and observing the marsh for a good few hours until it was time to go (we ended up giving him a lift home).

It wasn't just waders that were disturbed in the high tide. Plenty of over waterfowl  were seen as well including Pintail, Pochard, Wigeon, Gadwall and plenty of Mallard (a male and female in the picture below).

My favorite wading bird out of all the wading birds species was showing really well, normally lifting from the marsh solitary but sometimes in groups, this was indeed the CURLEW!!! 

There were plenty of gulls about as well as waterfowl and waders, however in this picture all you can see is Black Headed Gulls (the one directly in the center of the picture is the only one out of all the gulls to have a Brown head). I have asked Dave McGrath about his and he said the brown head in winter can be to do with hormones, day length and probably diet too.

A Greater Black Backed Gull stood out from the rest with it's huge wings casting shadows on the marsh.

 As me, my mum and Mike Buckley walked back to the car we saw a beautiful Kestrel fly by the side of us with a rodent of some kind in it's beak

 However out of everything we saw today the highlight bird has got to be the Water Rail just hunched up against the marshy grass, absolutely stunning and the first time I had ever seen one for long enough to study it closely. It was right by the path waiting for the tide to go back out.

A fox was on the prowl as well before the tide came in and by now was looking rather wet and sorry for it's self. Maybe not for the fox, but for me a perfect end to a great day. 

If you haven't been here you really should try and go.