Tuesday, 8 September 2009

It's that time of year again...

...when I become a slave to a large flock of Tree Sparrows on Rawcliffe Moss! I know, you've heard it all before. I called at Moss House Farm on my way home from work yesterday to put the first seed of the autumn/winter out and also hang up a couple of peanut feeders. The peanut feeders are a back-up in case the seed runs out at any time during the winter before I get there to feed. This ensures that the Tree Sparrow flock is maintained.

When I arrived at the feeding station track I noticed, well you couldn't help but notice, a large number of hirundines on the telegraph wires across the large field immediately next to the track. There were well over a thousand, most of them Swallows but with a 100 or so House Martins as well. In fact over all of the area I walked I would say that there was over 2,000 Swallows.

Close to the telegraph wires there was a wet flush in the field and the Swallows were flying low over it and drinking and perhaps even feeding. Although I think the 'flash' was too temporary to have attracted any insects.

I walked down the track and put a bucket of seed out and the two peanut feeders.

I will leave it a week now before I check the feed again as it can take a while before the birds find it. Also, hopefully by then the farmer, Phillip, will have cut his field of barley and will have flattened the vegetation down the track with his combine. This makes it far easier for the birds to find the seed.
I don't know whether you have noticed or not but there is a good crop of Hawthorn berries this autumn. Let's hope that we have a good influx of Thrushes to watch feeding on them.

After I had put the feed out I had a walk along the '97' hedge. Incidentally we refer to this hedge as the '97' hedge because a couple of years ago Phil and I caught and ringed 97 birds in two 30' nets along this hedge and the name has stuck. I didn't have much other than 24 Goldfinch and a Siskin over.

I decided to walk along the track to the plantation but wished I hadn't bothered as I was overtaken by the new residents of one of the properties on the Moss with her two f*cking pooches off the lead! She then proceeds to tell me how much she is into birds and I wanted to say "how can you be in to birds walking those bastard things off the lead". So, we now have two more bird scarers on the loose. Bring back the dog licence and make it very expensive I say!

Back towards the car and the only other birds I had of interest were two Grey Partridges and a Blackcap 'chacking' from Curlew Wood.

I am reading the above book at the moment and I can't recommend it highly enough. It is hilarious, educational and above all inspirational. It makes you want to go out in the field the very second you start reading it and look at birds! If you haven't got a copy treat yourself, you won't be disappointed.

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