Thursday, October 23, 2003

Buzzard nailed at long last on to the garden list! And none of this scoping Morborne Hill from the upstairs window malarkey. No. One big bird sat in the field opposite the house - well and truly nailed! Buzzard makes it species no 87 since moving in on 30 Nov 02, and leaves me only three species short of my target of 90 species by 30 Nov 03.

Garden birds have been slow this week with numbers surpressed as most species having dispersed over the surrounding farmland now that the harvest is in and stubble fields are holding most of the birds. Driving back from the post office this morning a large flock of passerines wheeling over a roadside field soon found me watching around 450 Linnets.

New in certainly, as I ain't had a sniff of a finch flock this size around the fen in recent days. They were fantastic as they wheeled around, like Knots over an estuary, suddenly settling, feeding manically before springing skywards again. Although nervous feeders, none of the other birds using the field seemed wary, so I think this too pointed to them being newly-arrived. They had chosen a stubble field which had been fine-tilled which just breaks the topsoil, revealing loads of seeds and invertebrates. The field was jumping with birds including three Golden Plover, Rooks, Jackdaws, Starlings, Skylarks and Pied Wagtails.

Further along the fen and a single field held over 300 Feral Pigeons. I've never seen this sort of number anywhere in the fens before so where have they come from? Mikey Weedon suggests they may have been displaced from the recently-demolished Baker Perkins factory, but that would surely only remove their roosting site, and not affect their normal feeding pattern. Would it?

Back in the garden, what few birds there were had to take the daily raids by a male and female Sparrowhawk. Both left empty-handed as the Leylandii fortress did its job. It's bloody good fun watching the hawks fly in almost slow motion along the hedge making leaps, feet first, as they try and reach their intended prey.

It's been a good week so far, with the garden's second Brambling (on Monday) and second flyover Canada Goose record!

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