wildlife round up........
Swamp Chickens and Voles
Well, we are still hanging onto some of our winter visitors this week with good flocks of Redwing and Fieldfare on the Weald Moors. Buzzards have been courting high overhead putting on some great displays sometimes five or six adults flying together. Kestrel and Sparrowhawk have also been around but a Red Kite was Spotted over the village by the Wilsons which must have been a wonderful surprise.
Flock sizes of smaller finches seem to be diminishing, including Chaffinch, Goldfinch and Linnet. Only small parties of Skylark now on the Birch Moor and some now climbing into the sky on brighter days. They sing all the way up and then parachute down. Long tailed Tits seems to have paired up and large parties no longer troop through the hedgerow.
Great Spotted Woodpeckers are drumming in and around the village. The males are using their favourite branches to hammer home their love messages!
There are a few geese around. The usual Canadian on the Edgmond pools and pair of Greylag on Wall Farm.
The Weald Moors
Crudgington Moor has nearly dried out, shame really. The water has been shifted with the help of a couple of serious pumps, moving the water off the field and into the neighbouring ditch! Whilst it has been flooded, it has been a real treat for bird watchers and of course the birds! This has been a reminder of perhaps how things used to be before the Weald Moors were drained. However, a pair of Shelduck were still feeding in the shallow pool that remained this week.
Cow on the Wall!
Some Lapwings are back on their breeding grounds on Birch Moor but there are still small flocks on the pool at Wall Farm. The usual female Goosander on the Birch Moor Pools and the Coot numbers here have risen to 6. Great to see a single Little Grebe here, its surely got to be a good nesting habitat.
I was lucky to find a hare on Birch Moor. It was long way off for a photo but I gave it a go. By the way if you find a leveret whilst you are out walking, leave it where it is! Young hares just sit in forms in the field and wait for their parents to return.
Garden and Village
There has been plenty of village garden activity, our Song Thrushes still welcoming in the day and there are more Blackbirds contributing to the dawn chorus. Our garden Blackcaps are down to three, two males and a female. Assume some are already on their way back to central and eastern Europe. Our Moorhen disappeared early in the week but we enjoyed our brief visit. They are obviously not unknown in village gardens. Paula uploaded a lovely video clip of one individual washing in the garden water bath. This was recorded last year.
Our Sparrows can't decide on which of the three apartments they wont to nest in! This week after lots of activity in 1 (roadside view) they started looking at number 3 (garden view). I watched them on camera, they struggled in gusting winds to get to apartment 1 and 2 and I wondered if number three offered a little more protection for the careful manoeuvring required to land on the edge of the entrance holes.
Hedgehog visitors have increased from one to two in my garden this week. Janet surprised a very large adult on her way up the garden path one evening, This animal was making use of a hedgehog highway we had created in the bottom of a gate between us and our neighbours. The little hedgehog is still our regular visitor.
Some of you might have seen the request for vole removal on Nextdoor. You will be pleased to learn that the programme for vole relocation is in hand and the first vole is enjoying quieter nights in a beautiful sandstone wall, far away from the traffic on the high street!
Nuthatch has been very noisy this week investigating holes and trying to entice a female to check out the property on offer. I have, at last, heard a Tawny Owl female this week. I was beginning to wonder if our village male Tawny was every going to pair up this year. They need to get busy because statistically the third week in March is the average UK week for Tawny Owls to lay their first clutch of eggs (two or three). They take a month to hatch, how about that for a lockdown!