Thursday, 11 December 2008

Tree Sparrows Are Ruling My Life, 9th & 11th December 2008

Well, they are certainly taking all of my time up at the moment as I am feeding every other day. But then again it's worth it to supplementary feed these enigmatic, if sometimes frustrating, red listed species.

When I went to feed last Tuesday (9th) it was late afternoon and not the usual time that I call. It was about 3.45 p.m. when I started to walk down the track to the feeding station. The 'moss' is a magical place at dusk and species are observed that you might not ordinarily see earlier in the day or observations made of behaviour that you might not normally observe.

As I approached the feeding station the Tree Sparrows were having a last minute feed before flying off in small groups to roost. They would leave the hedge, climb and head southwest to wherever they roost.

To the east of Moss House Farm is Turnover Hall Farm and close to the boundary with Moss House is a large pond dug by the farmer for wildfowl. As dusk fell numbers of Shelduck and lesser numbers of Teal were flighting to the pond to roost. Normally on a visit here I wouldn't see many Shelduck and very few Teal. Magic.

A late morning visit today showed that Tree Sparrows were still around in good numbers despite the cold weather and I counted 204 at the feeding station. Chaffinch and Yellowhammer were mixed in with them but I couldn't tell how many. Going on the calls there seemed to be more than the recent 1 or 2 Yellowhammers that I have been seeing. I wouldn't normally expect the numbers to build up until after Christmas but maybe the cold weather has brought a few in.

I forgot my apples this morning but luckily there were still a few uneaten ones for the Blackbirds that were feeding on them. Around the feeding station were 10 Blackbirds and a couple of Fieldfares all interested in the apples. Woodpigeons had reduced in numbers dramatically and today I only recorded 36. Although my mid-week visits are short, nevertheless I have still been recording large numbers of Woodpigeons. Interestingly back home in Cleveleys I had a flock of 43 on the 7th heading southwest and presumably on out to see and over to Ireland. Perhaps the cold weather has moved some birds on.

American Goldfinch. One of those random pictures again!

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