Wednesday, 11 February 2015

A Review of January 2015

A view over the Duckmarsh

January has been a cold month, but in between the snow and high winds there has been some great opportunities to get to The Avenue and do some birdwatching. This 16.5 hectare site has produced a fabulous range of birds in this winter season so far, from Goldcrest & Blue Tit to Yellowhammer & Buzzard. One of the highlights throughout the month has been the good numbers of Buntings & Finches on site, Yellowhammer, Bullfinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch & Reed Bunting. Mixed flocks of around 100 birds can be seen on site at any one time.

 On Sunday the 4th of January we had our first ringing session which produced over a 120 birds, but the numbers of individual species is encouraging news, both visitors and residents alike. 13 Bullfinch, 7 Greenfinch, 3 Willow Tit, 13 Yellowhammer, 20 Great Tit & 21 Blue Tit. Other birds caught were Goldcrest, Dunnock, Robin, Goldfinch, Jay, Reed Bunting, Long-tailed Tit, Chaffinch & Wren.

 The bird tables & feeding stations have been regularly topped up throughout the year but more intensively in the harsher winter months, this gives the birds a regular top up when natural food is harder to come by.

 A fabulous 50 bird species were seen by the 6th, that had rose to 56 by the end of the month along with 2 mammals, Fox & Wood Mouse. For the first time we have had a record of a Chiffchaff in January, it was first seen in December 2014, it's great that it has stayed around, insects and small spiders are its main diet and it seems to be doing well and finding plenty to eat.
Fox has a good scout around the Reed Beds

 On the 13th I had a trip down memory lane and decided to go for a walk around one of my childhood patches, Williamthorpe Ponds. It was good to see that plenty of birds still visit this old Coal Board reservoir that's now looked after by Severn Trent Water. It's not as wild a place as when I used to go, nice footpaths, well trimmed hedges and tidy woodland are now the norm, maybe one of the reasons I stopped visiting. It did add a few birds to my year list though.
Treecreeper at The Williamthorpe Ponds

 I took a trip to Ladybower Wood on the 20th to clean out the 50+ boxes I look after there, Pied Flycatcher & Redstart are our targets there but we get Blue & Great Tit using then too. This year we also put up some open fronted boxes in the hope of helping some of the good numbers of Spotted Flycatcher we had seen in 2014. A real treat while sitting having our lunch was watching a Peregrine soaring overhead, I had it in my binoculars when it started to stoop and I followed it all the way down, I was very surprised to then see what it was chasing, a Sparrowhawk. What a thrill.
The view from the top of Ladybower Wood
 The 25th saw our first volunteer work party of the year and 12 wonderful people turned out on this cold and sunny day. I took one volunteer, Lynne, to clear debris from the river which took about 30 minutes, we then went to join the others that were pulling up Willow & Alder saplings from our wetland meadow. This is a laborious back breaking job, but at the end of the work party when everyone is aching and covered in smelly mud, we all feel a great sense of achievement.
Saplings & Gauze is burned to prevent any regrowth

With such a great start to the year I’m really looking forward to what the following months will bring.

Here is a list of my 2015 birds so far:

Mute Swan (1) - Canada Goose (2) - Barnacle Goose (3) - Wigeon (4) - Gadwall (5)
 Teal (6) - Mallard (7) - Shoveler (8) - Pochard (9) - Tufted Duck (10) - Red Grouse (11)
Pheasant (12) - Cormorant (13) - Grey Heron (14) - Little Grebe (15)
Great Crested Grebe (16) - Sparrowhawk (17) - Buzzard (18) - Kestrel (19)
Peregrine (20) - Water Rail (21) - Moorhen (22) - Coot (23) - Snipe (24)
Black-headed Gull (25) - Lesser Black-backed Gull (26) - Herring Gull (27)
Woodpigeon (28) - Collared Dove (29) - Barn Owl (30) - Tawny Owl (31)
Kingfisher (32) - Green Woodpecker (33) - Great Spotted Woodpecker (34)
Magpie (35) - Jay (36) - Jackdaw (37) - Rook (38) - Carrion Crow (39)
Raven (40) - Goldcrest (41) - Blue Tit (42) - Great Tit (43) - Coal Tit (44)
Willow Tit (45) - Long-tailed Tit (46) - Chiffchaff (47) - Nuthatch (48)
Treecreeper (49) - Wren (50) - Starling (51) - Blackbird (52) - Fieldfare (53)
Song Thrush (54) - Redwing (55) - Mistle Thrush (56) - Robin (57) - Dunnock (58)
House Sparrow (59) - Grey Wagtail (60) - Pied Wagtail (61) - Meadow Pipit (62)
Chaffinch (63) - Greenfinch (64) - Goldfinch (65) - Bullfinch (66) - Yellowhammer (67)
Reed Bunting (68)

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