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Showing posts with label birds. Show all posts
Showing posts with label birds. Show all posts

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Returning Summer Bird Migrants

Slowly, the summer bird migrants are returning. Already in Devon there are wheatears, sand martins and swallows. At first just the odd one, whereas by mid April, many will be commonplace once again.

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Love in the air?

These 2 collared doves obviously think it is spring already! They were together on a tree in the orchard next door. Until 1955 when their range expanded westwards, they were very rare in the UK. Nowadays they are very common.

Monday, 28 January 2019

Black Headed Gull

This black headed gull was on next door's TV antenna earlier. You can almost see it thinking, "now where shall I go for lunch?".  It has been a bright, very cold day here. We just got back from a winter walk.  

It is already somewhat lighter in the early evening. I guess it stay lighter by almost an hour since mid December. Snow expected this week!

Monday, 12 June 2017

Bird table visitors

Every day we get jackdaws on our bird table. They are quite big birds, but quite fun. This one is busy tucking in to kitchen scraps. We now get quite a variety of birds. I think they know there is free food on offer!

The starlings love the fat balls. A refill on Saturday was totally empty on Sunday. 

We get a smaller variety of birds here than at our old home. There are fewer smaller birds, although I think this is true widely. We do see blue tits, great tits and long tail tits as well as other smaller birds, but fewer than might be expected.

UPDATE 4th July 2017 0825z: The fat balls go quickly. We have had big and small birds eating these and the food on the bird table.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017


Well, today was more promising. A bunch of swifts eating insects high in the sky, a sparrowhawk and a buzzard nearby. All spotted from the breakfast table at around 0730z.

UPDATE 1220z:  For the first time this season there were about 10 swifts overhead screaming on the wing. Oh joy, really.

Thursday, 4 May 2017


According to Facebook, I saw my first swifts of the season on this day last year. As yet, I have still to see one this year, but I think I spotted a red kite out of the lounge window earlier. It was some way off and I cannot be 100% sure. There are plenty about over here now, mostly near roads and motorways.

See .

Sunday, 23 April 2017


We get a few of these dunnocks (aka hedge sparrows) on our rear lawn. Mostly they lurk in the undergrowth, but they come out onto the grass. We get far fewer small birds these days, although we have a robin in one of the nest-boxes and I saw another robin feeding a young one yesterday on the lawn.

Saturday, 1 April 2017


Certainly swallows (birds) are being seen in increasing numbers in Devon. Cattle egrets are also being increasingly seen. The cattle egret sightings remind me of the first  little egret sightings in Devon 30-40 years ago.

I suspect several species will become far more common in the years to come e.g. bearded tits, bee-eaters. At the same time, some will be lost. Back in 1955 to see a collared dove in the UK would have been amazing. Nowadays they are one of the most common birds in our garden.

See .

Sunday, 29 January 2017

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch

In all, 10 unique bird species seen, but some very commonly seen birds were not seen in the hour from 3pm to 4pm. I twice tried to submit my results to the RSPB, but on both occasions it told me there was an error.  On another page it said I had submitted the results! CRAP.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Long-tail tits

There are fewer small birds around these days in our garden and generally, but some have become more common in recent years. Great tits seem more plentiful and here in East Anglia the long-tail tit is the most common tit to see and hear. Only just a few moments ago there was a flock of long-tail tits on the lilac in the garden next door when I was sweeping up leaves.

See .

Among the larger birds there are more magpies locally. Going to work, I saw not one in nearly 40 years, although now they are plentiful. Little egrets can be seen all over the place but they were rare before the late 1980s. Buzzards are now widespread in East Anglia whereas they were once a sign we'd reached Devon. Since their reintroduction, red kites can be widely seen again.

There is no doubt that we see different birds these days.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Garden Birds

Young Starling
We have lived at our bungalow for 3 years now. We see fewer small birds than at our old house despite lots of cover and an orchard right next door. Here we see a young starling on the seed feeder. I am sure there are more starlings than a few years ago. Also great tits and long tail tits seem more plentiful. Starlings are greedy birds, but lovable.

Friday, 25 March 2016


There are probably another 6 weeks before we see the trees coated in fresh green, the blossom well out, and fields of yellow rape.

Already the first sand martins are returning to Devon and there has even been a report of a returning swallow in Devon. It will probably be into April before I spot swallows up here in East Anglia. Usually I see my first swallows here April 7-14th. Swifts are not usually seen (by me at least!) until the end of April.

See .

These returning migrants bring joy to my heart: long after I am gone they will still be doing this journey as their ancestors have done for thousands of years. I admit there have been times when I never thought I'd see this spring.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Summer bird migrants arriving

The wheatears have started arriving back in Devon and soon it will be martins and swallows. The long winter will soon be behind us.

See .

The image below is not on this site but at the link below. You may have to wait for it to load. The link to the image will be removed if a problem.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

RSPB Garden Bird Count

The annual UK RSPB garden bird count is any hour in the last weekend of January. I have been doing this for years. You just choose a spot and count the maximum number of each species seen in the hour. It can be surprising. When done, I submit results to the RSPB online. It is always a great pleasure and you do not need to be an expert birder to do this. Each year, the RSPB get a great deal of data.  Some years I see very little. Some years I have seen up to 11 different species.

Most times you will see quite common birds, but occasionally you may see something unusual. It is the number of the ordinary birds seen that tells the real story.  If you can, grab a coffee and sit down, look out the window, and count the birds in your garden or park.  I am sure, like me, you will enjoy it.

See .

Saturday, 25 July 2015


This evening, in a further attempt to beat my giddiness, I went for a decent (for me!) walk. One of the joys of an English summer evening is seeing swifts on the wing high in the sky and hearing their calls - a high pitched scream. To me, this is the sound of summer. Their wings are scythe like and they spend most of their lives on the wing.

They arrive late (around the end of April) and go before summer is done. It an ephemeral sound that they make. When you hear it, it is truly late spring or summer. Soon the summer migrants will head south to warmer skies and we will be joined by migrants from the north such as whooper and bewick swans from the high Arctic and Russia as well thrushes like redwings and fieldfares from Scandinavia. To them we represent warmth and mildness!

For now I am content to hear those swifts, although they will soon be on their way. Hopefully, I'll still be around for their return in the spring. Seeing the first swifts in late April brings joy to my heart. The cycle of life that has happened for thousands of years goes on. No doubt this cycle went on when we still lived in caves and when Roman soldiers walked these lands and this cycle will still be going on long after I am dust again.

See .

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Swallows in East Anglia

The barn swallow has been seen in S.Devon since mid-March, but here in East Anglia they are later arriving, at least in significant numbers. There may have been the odd ones earlier this month.

Today April  23rd, I had my second view this year (first last week) and my first close-up view, close to the River Ouse in Ely. The return of swallows from S.Africa, crossing continents and deserts to reach here, lifts my spirits. Even more so when the swifts arrive in a few more weeks' time.

 "All's well with the world" as Robert Browning said.

See . But numbers are declining.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Birds in Mill Close

Compared with our old place, there are far fewer bird species at our newer home next to Burwell windmill. Although I can hear great tits I have seen none on the nut feeders in my garden.

Surprisingly, there is a pair of red leg partridges that seem quite tame and which wander around the garden and the close. There are plenty of pigeons and collared doves, but very few small birds.  In the recent RSPB bird count I only saw 1 species (wood pigeon) in the hour whereas at the old home I would see 10-12 species each 1 hour count.

The newer location is not quite as rural but we do have orchards and allotments very nearby, and a garden with plenty of bushes and trees. There have been muntjac deer and rabbits next door but not seen these in our garden yet.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Blackcaps here

This morning we had a blackcap on our bird table. This is a largely migratory bird and I suspect this one had just arrived in from further south in Europe or Africa and was hungry.  It's the first time I recall one actually eating from the bird table. Summer bird visitors are starting to arrive now with the first barn swallows likely to be seen in southern England in the next few weeks. It is around mid April before they appear in any numbers in East Anglia. When the swifts arrive and scream through the evening sky you know summer is really here but that is a couple of months away.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Garden Birdwatch 2012

Every year for many years now I've taken part in the RSPB's Garden Birdwatch. You are asked to count the maximum number of each different bird species seen in your garden, or in a park,  in any one hour.  My house backs on to a lane and then open meadows with a good number of deciduous trees so I usually manage to see an interesting variety of the smaller birds. Last year the long-tailed tit (see left) was the big surprise with no less than 12 seen together. Occasionally we get a treat when a sparrow hawk, green woodpecker or spotted woodpecker appear, but so far never in the hour I am doing the count. Anyone can take part for any hour over this weekend and you do not have to be a Royal Society for the Protection of Birds member.