Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Marshside and Hesketh Out Marsh

Today I decided to visit Hesketh Out Marsh RSPB reserve in Lancashire for the first time, whilst also paying a visit to Marshside RSPB reserve in Southport on the return journey.  My mistake was to arrive at Hesketh Out Marsh at low tide, and so there were very few birds around. However, the area (which is a large salt marsh) did seem full of potential with a nice sheltered viewing area, so a future visit is a certainty. The only birds I saw here today were:

Hesketh Out Marsh RSPB
  • Marsh Harrier
  • Shelduck
  • Mute Swan
  • Chaffinch
Whilst at Hesketh Out Marsh I met two birders who had just come from Marshside RSPB and who said it was packed full of birds.  So, with very little to see here, I didn't stay too long and headed off to Marshside, where I saw the following birds:

Marshside RSPB

  • Pintail
  • Teal
  • Mallard
  • Shoveller

  • Black-tailed Godwit
  • Redshank
  • Little Egret
  • Greylag Goose

  • Shelduck
  • Curlew
  • Lapwing
  • Skylark ?
  • Canada Goose
  • Wigeon

  • Black-headed Gull
  • Great Black-backed Gull
  • Coot
  • Grey Heron
  • Pink-footed Goose

Saturday, 26 November 2011

North Wales and Anglesey

Sarah and I took a short two-day birding break to North Wales and Anglesey on this, the windiest weekend of the year, when we saw the following birds:

Snow Bunting on the beach at Kimnel Bay

Kinmel Bay (in a sandstorm)
  • Snow Bunting
  • Dunlin (Still debating whether they were Sanderling)
  • Redshank
  • Oystercatcher
  • Cormorant
  • Common Gull
  • Herring Gull
  • Greater Black-backed Gull
Conwy RSPB
  • Curlew
  • Little Egret
  • Teal
  • Coot
  • Moorhen
  • Mallard
  • Black-tailed Godwit
  • Blue Tit
  • Starlings
  • Mute Swan
  • Wild ponies
Menai Straits
  • Ringed Plover
  • Turnstone
  • Redshank
  • Mallard
  • Rock Pipit
  • Curlew
  • Carrion Crows
  • Starlings
  • Unidentified redhead duck
Malltraeth (from the Cob)
  • Pintail (32 both male and female)
Penrhos Nature Reserve, Holyhead
  • Brent Goose
  • Curlew
  • Greenshank
  • Ringed Plover
  • Unidentified white duck, possibly hybrid
Cemlyn Bay
  • Wigeon
  • Shelduck
  • Coot
  • Great Black-backed Gull
  • Herring Gull
  • Mallard
  • Oystercatcher
Cemaes Bay
  • Oystercatcher
More photos to follow ...

UPDATE: Unfortunately I have deleted the photos from this trip by accident - stupid me!

A Tusken Raider (one of the Sand People) from Star Wars

Monday, 21 November 2011

Rindle Road and Astley Moss

Kestrel coming in to land
This was the only usable picture I managed to take this afternoon, mainly because I'd not changed my exposure compensation settings from a previous day, and so they were nearly all overexposed.  However, this one has not turned out too badly.

I started off down Moss Lane where the first bird I saw was a Kestrel (not the one above) sitting in a low tree right next to the road.  I stopped the car and had look through my binoculars before reaching for my camera - of course as soon as I wound the window down to take a shot, it flew off.  

Further down Moss Lane there were 200-300 Starlings gathering for an early roost at around 2:30pm.  They lined up along the telephone wires in the fields south of the lane, and occasionally a group would descend on the field. Further groups made the numbers swell until there was no space at all between the two main supporting telephone poles.  

I had a flashback to a scene from Pixar's short animation called 'For The Birds' and all it needed was a buzzard to come and sit in the middle of the line to ping all the starlings into the air!  Then suddenly all the birds took to the air and flew together in a formation resembling a puff of smoke - a wonderful sight! I saw them again later in trees on the opposite side of the lane. 

There were also 20-25 Carrion Crows in a tree in the fields north of the Lane.  There was not much else down here except for a flock of 30-ish Pigeons (including one very white one), a couple of creaky male pheasants and a stream of traffic to-ing and fro-ing from Turf Nest Farm at the end of the lane.

I left Moss Lane and headed for the feeding station at Rindle Road.  On the way back I saw the Kestrel again (I assume it was thew same bird that had flown back) and had quick look through my bins, but I didn't bother trying to take a photograph. 

On arriving, I parked up and went for a walk towards the level crossing where I was met by a horrible sight in the field just before the cottage - there were 14 small carcasses in various states of decay strung up along a barbed-wire fence next the the small stream.  At first I thought they were rats, but there were no long tails. Next I thought they might be bank voles but their paws and claws didn't seem right. Then it clicked, they were moles and the poor creatures had been hung by their snouts on the fence.  By the look of it they'd been there a while, with some of them seemingly scavenged by local animals. 

When I got home I used the internet to find out that this is called a 'gamekeeper's gibbet' and it was done to prove that the gamekeeper was doing his job and so that he could get paid.  The only other time I'd seen this practice was in the Yorkshire Dales some 20 to 25 years ago - in this day and age it seems barbaric that it's still done by some people.  Does anyone know if this is still legal?

I returned to the feeding station to discover that some new bird feeders had been hung in the bushes along the track, but they were almost completely empty - I thought to myself that I must bring some seed for them next time I come.  There were six Collared Doves sitting in the tallest tree, a few Blue Tits and a male Chaffinch in the bushes but apart from that not much else.  I decided not to stop, but to go into Rindle Wood in search of a Treecreeper which I 've seen only once before and here as it happens.

After walking through the wood and seeing nothing but a few Woodpigeons, I emerged at the far end to the sound of a flock of Long-tailed Tits in the trees at the edge of the pools.  After spending some time trying to photograph them but with little success, I turned round and saw another Kestrel perched on top of a distant aerial.  I tracked with my camera it as it flew off over Astley Moss and disappeared, but none of the shots were any good - I hate moving birds!

After this I walked a little further along the edge of the pools and saw a Yellowhammer perched high up on top of one of the dead silver birch trees.  After taking a few shots also I noticed a Buzzard perched on a tree top on the far side of Astley Moss.  I took a few record shots, but it was too far away for anything decent.

I was just about to head back to the feeding station, when the Kestrel reappeared in the distance over the Moss.  In a series of hovers it gradually got nearer to me until I managed to take the only decent picture of the day (shown at the top of this post) when it landed on one of the dead trees. The sun was setting and the light was failing fast, but that makes the picture quite an atmospheric silhouette.

Finally I made my way back to the feeding station where I came across six Fieldfare in the tall tree, as well as a Willow Tit, several Tree Sparrows, a Great Tit and two Blue Tits.  Nothing new today, but a nice little list for an hour and a half in the area.  

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Tyldesley Garden TitFest

Now if that title doesn't get me a few more hits from Google, nothing will!  The reason for the titillating title is that today we had more tits in our garden than at any one time ever before.  This was mainly due to a flock of 20-25 Long-tailed Tits passing through our single Hawthorne tree and feeders.  As ever the flock only stayed for a minute or so, but they left a couple of Blue Tits, Great Tits and a single Coal Tit behind as they left.

No time for any pictures, but a great sight on a sunny November afternoon.  Turned out nice again, hasn't it?

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Leighton Moss RSPB

After checking the weather for the last couple of days, I finally got round to going to Leighton Moss RSPB reserve in Lancashire for the first time today.  I'd been meaning to go ever since I got my RSPB membership in February, but even though it's only around 60 miles away, I'd never managed it until now.

In this quick posting I'm just going to list ALL the birds I saw today, and when I've sorted through the hundreds of photos I took, I'll add some of the better ones.  Here's the complete list, pretty much in the order in which I saw them:

Visitor's Centre Area (including the feeding station)

  • Chaffinch (male and female)
  • Blue Tit
  • Nuthatch
  • Greenfinch
  • House Sparrow
  • Mallard (male and female)
  • Pheasant (male and female)
  • Blackbird
  • Magpie
  • Robin

Lillian's Hide
  • Teal (male and female)
  • Pintail
  • Shoveler
  • Coot
  • Mallard (male and female)

Public Hide
  • Cormorant
  • Marsh Harrier (2 in the distance)
  • Bittern (very briefly but clearly)
  • Gadwall
  • Teal
  • Shoveler
  • Mallard
  • Coot
  • Moorhen
  • Black-headed Gull
  • Mute Swan

    Lower Hide
    • Marsh Harrier (good view)
    • Coot
    • Moorhen
    • Gadwall
    • Pheasant (male and female)

    Allen Hide
    • Lapwing
    • Little Egret
    • Shelduck
    • Redshank (lots)

    Eric Morecambe Hide

    • Spotted Redshank
    • Carrion Crow
    • Merlin
    • Peregrine Falcon
    • Pintail (male and female)
    • Wigeon (male and female)
    • Starling
    • Grey Heron
    • Black-tailed Godwit (hundreds)

    Unfortunately the Bearded Tits didn't show while I was there today.  But out of 33 species seen, I did add four new birds to my year and life list, so that's not bad for my first visit here.

    On the way home I dropped in at Hest Bank and in the rapidly descending twilight at only 4:15pm I saw a Grey Heron, Curlew, Lapwing, Gulls and possibly some Redshank on the beach.  A great day out and I'll be back soon!

    Saturday, 12 November 2011

    Greenfinch in Our Garden

    When Sarah and I woke up and looked out of the bedroom window this morning there was a sorry looking ball of greenish fluff sitting on our window ledge. On closer inspection it seemed to be a young Greenfinch and it didn't look too good. 

    We could press our noses right up to the glass and it didn't fly away, so we supposed it must be injured.  The sun was shining very brightly and it was probably warming itself on the ledge, but it's eyelids were often closed and Sarah even thought it might be blind in one eye.  I went downstairs to get my camera and naturally when I returned it had gone, in spite of having been there for the last 10 minutes.

    We thought that would be the last time we'd see the bird and either it would fly away to pastures new or a cat would get it if it couldn't fly properly.  However, it reappeared on one of our garden feeders a little later in the day and so I managed to get some photos then.  It looked much better now and could at least fly short distances between our feeders in different places in the garden.

    After a short while it disappeared altogether and we haven't seen it since - I just hope our two cats didn't get it.

    Friday, 4 November 2011

    Moses Gate Country Park

    The highlight of my short trip to Moses Gate today was a beautiful Grey Wagtail.

    Tuesday, 1 November 2011

    Bits and Bobs

    I've only been out a few times times to Rinde Road and Pennington Flash since my last post, with nothing much to report except the following sightings at Penny:
    • Kingfisher - sat on the branch in front of Pengy's Hide just long enough for me to get my camera ready, and then flew off just before I pressed the shutter.  Sarah had a good view of her first Kingfisher through the bins though.
    • Great Spotted Woodpecker - these are fairly regular visitors to the feeding station at Bunting Hide but I hadn't seen one for quite a while before today. The light was poor and so were most of my pictures, but the colours on the Woodpecker's plumage were stunning.
    • Great Crested Grebe - looked like a young perhaps first or second year bird and seemed very unconcerened as it came up very close to Horrocks Hide.  It was more bothered with the nearby Coots than the people.
    • Pochard - this was the closest I've got to a Pochard as it too came quite close to Horrocks Hide.
    • Goldeneye - I saw this solitary female Goldeneye on a visit to East Bay Hide, which I don't visit very often. 

    • Mark Cain - it was nice to meet up with Mark again and have a chat about our birding exploits.
    The Lapwing have also returned to the spit in great numbers, although on one visit there was almost nothing on the spit - the most empty I've ever seen it.

    Monday, 29 August 2011

    Hest Bank, Morecambe

    Today Sarah and I went for a drive up the motorway to Hest Bank near Morecambe.  Sarah had been wanting to see the Judges' Lodgings and Courtrooms in Lancaster Castle for ages and so the deal was that we'd go and do a spot of coastal birdwatching first at Hest Bank, and then come back into Lancaster later.

    When we arrived at Hest Bank it took a while to decide exactly where the RSPB site was - in fact we never did find it!  We crossed over the railway line at the level crossing and parked up in the free car park overlooking Morecambe Bay, before returning to a small cafe for a cup of coffee and to ask for directions to the RSPB site.  After asking several people seems no-one round here knows where it is either!  It seems as if the RSPB may own an area of the shoreline here, but there is no actual visitor information or focal point.

    After a coffee and a cake in the cafe, we set off for a short walk along the salt-marsh shoreline in search of birds.  Here's what we saw that we could identify:-
    • Curlew
    • Oystercatcher (in their hundreds)
    • Great Black-backed gull
    • Herring Gulls
    • Swallow
    • Starlings
    There's nothing I like better than hearing the sound of curlews calling on the shoreline and today I wasn't disappointed - we saw at least eight of them here.  I did want to positively identify some Knott or Dunlin but although I think I did see some, they weren't clear enough for me to be absolutely sure.

    By the way, the hour guided tour around the Courtrooms and prison cells in Lancaster Castle was excellent, but lack of time meant we only got a brief glimpse of the Judges' Lodgings.  Strangely, Sarah didn't complain too much about this, probably because we'd had a good day out.  No pictures today though - it was a bit too dull and windy for most of the time.

    Friday, 26 August 2011

    Rumworth Lodge

    Today I decided to try my new tripod out at Rumworth Lodge in Bolton, a place I've often driven past but never visited before. I wasn't impressed when it took me three attempts to find the right place to turn off the main road and park in the tiny parking area!

    When I did get down to the 'viewing area' I was soaking wet from walking through the long dewy grass, but the location looked very promising. There were two islands on one side of the lodge and these seemed to have been gravelled for ground nesting birds. After setting up my scope, my first sighting was of a Grey Heron catching and eating a fish. There were also lots of gulls about in two shallow patches of water to the left and right of the two islands, mainly juvenile Black-headed Gulls but also a Great Black-backed Gull with a possible large juvenile too.

    After scanning the water past the two islands I spotted a Great Crested Grebe sleeping on the water, and a Little Grebe and a Cormorant on the far side of the Lodge. There were also quite a few Swallows skimming the surface of the water catching flies as well as two parties of Mallard, one consisting of nine ducks and the other consisting of seven. I also caught a glimpse of what I think was a group of four Snipe in silhouette flying over the lodge.

    I wasn't entirely sure of where I could go to view birds here and so I stuck to the 'viewing area' next to the fence - unfortunately this made it difficult to see past the two islands in the lodge and so I did walk a little further to the right to get a better view. This revealed two further Great Crested Grebes on the water in the distance.

    After an hour or so the weather started to turn to light rain and I decided it was time to go but, just as I was setting off, I spotted another birder walking down to the Lodge. I always like to have a chat with other birders where possible to gain some local knowledge of a site and so, after my usual greeting, I asked him about where it was possible to walk around here. The birder was Steve Almond, a name I had frequently seen on the Manchester Birding Forum for Rumworth Lodge and he very kindly showed me around part of the site, poiting out some good viewing spots.

    Steve told me he only goes birding around Rumworth Lodge, which is his local patch as he only lives a few hundred yards from it - he likes it mainly because it is largely underwatched and he doesn't run in to many other people as he rambles round on his own.

    Well, Rumworth Lodge seems to be a great place for birding and I'll definitely be back when the season for passing migrants hots up later this month.

    Wednesday, 24 August 2011

    Pennington Flash

    I was just getting back into birding this week and got off to a good start with an excellent sighting of a Kingfisher from Teal Hide at Penny. As I arrived at Teal Hide I was alerted to the bird being chased briefly by a Magpie by another person viewing who was even more excited about seeing it than I was. I hurredly set up my camera and managed to fire off a few shots of the Kingfisher sitting on a post surveying the water before it flew off. The pictures are not dead sharp but they're the best ones I got of a Kingfisher to date.

    The other highlight from Teal Hide was seeing a pair of Green Sandpipers searching the scapes for food. Other birds included a HeronGadwallTealMallardCoot, and Moorhen as well as numerous Magpies and Wood Piegons.

    There was not much else about today at the other hides apart from the usuals although I later found out that a female Pintail had been seen.

    Wednesday, 17 August 2011

    Normal service will be resumed shortly

    Due to the pressure of work, I've not posted here since our three baby Blue Tits fledged in May nearly three months ago. I've done relatively little birding since then and certainly nothing worth posting about. Well now that the work is done, I'll be posting again shortly.

    Sunday, 5 June 2011

    YouTube Test Videos

    I've been experimenting with putting some of my Blue Tit videos on YouTube. These can be enlarged to full screen by clicking on the control in the bottom right of the control bar.

    Thursday, 2 June 2011

    NestCam Update: STOP PRESS

    An Empty Nest Box

    That's it - they're gone!  When I got up later than usual at 7am this morning the nest box was empty and there were no signs of Wills, Kate or any of the chicks in my back garden.  They must have left early this morning, because all three were sleeping in the nest when I went to bed at 12pm last night.

    I was very happy that three chicks had fledged but quite sad to have missed it both live and on camera - I don't have any video recordings of them actually leaving.  Anything you see from now on will be recorded highlights of the last few days in the nest box and soon I'll be removing that.

    Although I would like to see them again, I do hope they don't hang around for long in my back garden because the score is currently 3-0 to our cats - trying to keep them away from birds is nigh on impossible.

    Good Luck chicks, I hope to see you again in my nest box next year.

    Later that same day ...

    After spending a long time looking, I did get a glimpse of Wills and Kate and two of their chicks in a Willow tree in my next-door neighbour's garden.  They were quite hard to spot due to the tree's hanging branches which are now fully leaved, but the parents taking in food gave them away.  At times the fledglings seemed to practice short flights between a Hawthorne in my garden and the Willow tree.  Wills and Kate also returned briefly to the fat balls on my feeding station. but shortly after were gone and I haven't seen them since.

    Wednesday, 1 June 2011

    NestCam Update

    Well things are really hotting up now.  The three chicks are very active and food is in constant supply by Wills and Kate.  Kate has been encouraging the chicks towards the nest box hole by holding food in her beak and not letting go of it and they've been looking out of the hole a few times today.

    The chicks have been doing a lot of preening, wing stretching and fluttering and so I reckon that they are ready to go.  It could be today although it's a bit late now, but it will probably be early tomorrow, so watch this space.

    Tuesday, 31 May 2011

    NestCam Update

     Today I rigged up an external camera to view the birds from outside the nest box and that's why there are now two images on the live video stream.  Unfortunately I won't be able to leave it out overnight or in bad weather as I haven't managed to protect the power supply from getting wet safely enough for my liking.  I'll probably put some recordings on the left side when the live camera is not available.

    The three chicks seem to be doing pretty well and are now getting on top of the nest material quite frequently.  They are stretching and fluttering their wings quite a lot and I don't think it will be long before they fledge.  Hopefully the external camera might catch them as they leave the nest for the first time.  Currently all three are huddled together and seem to be asleep and I have a feeling they might be gone by tomorrow night.

    This morning was quite stressing for Sarah and me as one of our cats (Millie) briefly caught a baby House Sparrow and had it her mouth for a while.  Luckily Sarah saw it happen and was out like a shot to rescue it.  After locking Millie up in the house, I managed to get the sparrow into a box where we had a look it.  At first it seemed OK but then Sarah discovered it had a puncture wound on its back.  It did attempt to fly across the lawn but didn't seem able to take off, so we kept it in the box for a couple of hours with some ripped up newspapers, mealworms and seed. 

    We did ponder taking the sparrow to the vet but in the end didn't think they'd have much time for it.  Anyway, after a couple of hours we went back to the box and it had gone - as the cats had been confined to the house duriong this time, we'd like to think it flew off by itself having recovered from its ordeal.

    It's going to be really hard ensuring that the cats don't catch our fledgling Blue Tits.

    Saturday, 28 May 2011

    NestCam Update

    It's been a pretty depressing week here in the Big Birdie House and I've been avoiding posting until things settled down.  We're down to just three live chicks remaining from the original eight that hatched and I've watched much of it unfold on the NestCam. There was a period when a chick was dying every day and I really thought we were going to lose all of them.  At times when I looked in the nest there were no chicks in view at all and I thought they might have been taken by another bird, even though the entrance hole is quite small.  It seems what is happening in our box is a common theme happening in nest boxes all over - I know of another Blue Tit nest which started with nine live chicks and is now down to just three, with some chicks dieing that were feathered and quite advanced in their development.

    The dead chicks have sometimes remained in view for a day or two before vanishing.  For a while I wasn't sure if they were being pushed under the nest by Wills and Kate or if they were being carried outside.  One day I thought I saw Kate carry out what looked like a small leg bone and after talking to someone else it seems that the parents do break the dead chicks up in the nest and remove them in stages if they can't carry them out whole.

    Well on the bright side, we've had three chicks for the last few days and they seem to be doing OK, although one does seem a little smaller and weaker than the other two.  There's certainly no brotherly or sisterly love in the nest environment - the strong survive and the weak die.  It even seems that one bird actively prevents the others from being fed by standing on them or putting its wings over them.  And Kate the female bird doesn't seem to be able to share the food out evenly either - one chick in particular gets fed more than the others.

    All three chicks now have feathers and their eyes are open so they look like proper little Blue Tits. They spend most of the day hiding under the nest matreial until the parents return with food. They're also making quite a lot of noise at times, with one chick cheeping after another in sequence. The largest bird occasionally pops out and tries to get on top of the nest.

    I'll be trying to set up an external camera this week to get ready for the chicks fledging and leaving the nest box which should be sometime soon - if this is successful there'll be another live image available to see.

    Sunday, 22 May 2011

    NestCam Update Update

    Just a quick update on what for the most part has been a quite depressing day.  I thought that there were only six live chicks this morning, but actually I was wrong, there must have been seven.  However, during the course of the morning I saw a chick die on the NestCam.  Seeing this made me wonder about this whole NestCam thing and whether I want to witness the struggle for life live on camera like this.

    The dead chick was much smaller than the others and struggled to get fed when the parents came with food. At one point one of the other chicks seemed to put a wing over its neck when it was straining to get fed and it never recovered from that.  It lay on the nest floor for a while without moving and although it did move again at some point, I later found it lying motionless and it didn't move again.  I don't know what will happen to the dead chick, whether they'll be able to take it out or if it will just stay at the bottom of the nest.

    So then I thought we were down to just five chicks as they have been out of view for most of the day due the overhanging nest I mentioned in the previous post.  For most of the day I only ever saw five mouths at once and so I assumed this must be right.  However, my mood has lifted a little now as I've just managed to count six live chicks and they all seem OK.  One must have been hidden in the nest this morning or perhaps it was too weak to get out into the open.

    So that's good news with which to end I suppose, isn't it?

    NestCam Update

    Yesterday was a worry for us as there were many times in the day when there didn't seem to be much sign of life the nest box.  However, it now seems that the nest material has been undercut at its base and that the chicks are staying tucked under the overhanging edges out of view for most of the day.  The nest is very deep now and even Kate almost disappears when she sits in it.

    This morning I've counted only six chicks popping up for food, and so we might have lost another one since Friday.  If it is staying under the overhang, it's not getting fed and there was a very small chick yesterday which always seemed to miss out at feeding time.

    I used the internet to investigate what might be happening to the missing chicks and here are some possibilities: the nest might have been raided by a Magpie, Crow or even a Woodpecker, but this seems unlikely as the hole seem too small for them to get in.  Fleas might suck a chick's blood and cause it to die, but Kate is constantly checking the nest and removing unwanted stuff.  Another male bird might have entered and killed a chick to establish it's territory or gain control of the nest.  But what seems most likely is that the last born chicks are much smaller and weaker than the first born and they can't compete for food when the parents present it to them.

    There's nothing much we can do about any of this except to let nature take it's course - infant mortality is very high in birds and that's one reason why they lay so many eggs.

    Friday, 20 May 2011

    Nestam Update

    It's been several days since my last post because not much has been happening except for the usual routine of feeding, removing poop (and presumably fleas) and sitting on the nest.  That was, until yesterday.  The sad news is that we can only count seven chicks now when there had been eight alive a couple of days ago. 

    The last egg did seem to take a long time to hatch and the chick was obviously a lot smaller than the others - perhaps it couldn't compete for food in the rough and tumble of the nest.  We don't know if it's the last chick than has died or another one, but we're fairly sure it's gone and it looks like it might not even be in the nest any more.

    Of the remaining seven, six seem about the same size and pretty active but there is another one which looks a bit smaller and it seems not to get fed as often.  Hopefully it will survive as the parents are doing their best in terms of looking after their brood.

    Monday, 16 May 2011

    NestCam Update

    I didn't have time to post this morning before going to work, but I could only count seven chicks.  However, the last remaining egg wasn't in view either, and so I was hopeful that it might have hatched.  At work I had trouble logging on to my NestCam, so I had to phone up my wife Sarah who was at home to reset the WebCamXP server.  When this was done the picture came back, but I still couldn't see eight chicks.

    All eight chicks present and correct !

    Anyway, I've just looked now as the chicks are active and currently being fed and I'm pretty certain there are eight mouths popping up when Kate calls them to receive food.  And the egg is nowhere to be seen, so that's really good news.

    Sunday, 15 May 2011

    Today in My Garden

    You lookin' at  me?

    Today I saw the following birds in and around my back garden in Tyldesley, Wigan:
    • Blue Tits (obviously!)
    • A Coal Tit
    • Greenfinches
    • Goldfinches
    • House Sparrows
    • A Blackbird
    • Collared Doves
    • Woodpigeons
    • A Magpie
    • Starlings
    • A Great Tit
    • Swifts (over)
    • Black-headed Gulls (over)
    Here are some pictures I took from my garden today and a couple from last week - the light was very poor today and so the pictures are a little grainy:

    Greenfinch at the top of a neighbour's tree

    Goldfinches on my feeder
    Female house sparrow on my feeder
    A very shy Coal Tit
    A noisy Starling
    Swift over my garden
    Swift silhouette

    A frog in a tree, but not a Tree Frog though
    Here's the Dandelion, now where's the Burdock?