wildlife round up........
Peregrines and Hares
Well, this is going to be a quick run through because there is just so much happening and so much to see and hear. Here is a summary of what I have seen with notes added in from Neil, Steve, Paula, Marion, Brian and others. It is a flavour of what you might see in your back garden or on walks around the village using our local footpaths, tracks and lanes etc. We also cover, as usual, the Weald Moors which are literally on our doorstep.
Let’s start on local walking areas. The numbers of Fieldfare and Redwing are still good but finding them is more difficult. The fields at Caynton produced some sizeable numbers in amongst the Oil Seed Rape. But the old Ash and Oak trees covered in Holly berries were proving very good sport for the Redwings. Here also, the first of three Beautiful Grey Wagtails this week locally. Found my first Dandelion and Lesser Celandine in flower on the banks of the Meese and the Bluebells won’t be long.
My Second singing Chiffchaff, a small insignificant sort olive coloured Warbler. I would have liked to have said my first migrant. However, the truth is I have been recording Chiffchaff locally through the winter including in my garden and at the Sewage works on the Edgmond side of Harper. It is most likely to be one of these birds although the BTO say the first Chiffchaffs arrive back by 28th February, so maybe!
I am still finding Teal on the Meese and Strine when usually the pools at Wall farm are the top place to see these small ducks. Stonechat are still being seen locally but not by me, this time.
The Weald Moors
Further afield on the Weald Moors there have been some brilliant things to see. The flooding on Crudgington Moor has been keeping us entertained with a flock of first year Mute swans, anything up to 90 lapwing, one or two Great White Egrets, 28 Pintail Duck (one my Favourites) and good numbers of Shelduck. Neil, I believe has also seen one or two Gold Plover here. There were two Grey Lag Geese on the floods this morning and yesterday a Curlew. Two or three buzzards are using the area to feed out in the wet areas of the field, presumably finding whatever has been washed out by the flooding. With Buzzards moving about on the flooded area all the other birds are frequently moving which makes for very dynamic and noisy scene. The large number of Black headed gulls here make a significant contribution to this noise and I noticed one adult already with a fully black head (this is lost during the winter, non-breeding months, of the year). Wonderful.
Flooding and ditch - Crudgington Moor
In the early morning on Rodway Moor I watched a fox walk a track alongside the Pipe Strine and then across the water on a fallen log. It stopped to watch me and laughed, knowing full well that I had camera in my hand and if it had kept walking straight, it would have walked straight into my camera lens and some great photos!
Tibberton Moor and Wall Farm have good numbers of Skylark and a flock of Linnets of around 50 birds. I watched a Peregrine relaxing in a field of Winter Barley here in the late afternoon and a Hare cleaning it ears very thoroughly sitting only 10 metres away. By the way don’t be surprised to find a Peregrine Falcon sitting on the ground! I know it seems odd that the master of the air should do this but this is very common. Its not really bothered about sitting in Trees, cliffs yes, because cliffs offer a suitable vantage point to watch dinner go by!!
Lapwings here are already back on territory in the winter wheat/Barley. We still have good groups of Skylark, Meadow Pipits, Linnets and the odd Reed Bunting on the field around the horses at the back of HAU.
Hares have featured this week. Paula has already shared her sighting of hares on Facebook. I have seen another Hare at Caynton. So keep your eyes open there is a very good chance of seeing them locally.
While I think about it some people who are reading this are probably thinking there are no Moors around here!! The word Moor in Shropshire speak means a wetland area. The moors were originally peat fenlands.
Garden and Village
In the village, five Song Thrushes welcome in our day, sometimes a little too early!. They take over from the male Tawny Owl that has been doing the night shift! This is a record number of singing male Song Thrushes for Edgmond (at least in my time here) and let’s hope they find partners and the population continues to grow. (remember no slug pellets!). In the little wooded spinneys around the village and in the village itself, you can hear Stock Doves cooing. I can’t describe the noise, so you will have to look that up! They are hole nesting doves and often are overlooked. On my walk yesterday over the Weald Moors I found a group of them that had made use of the holes between a pile of stacked logs, big logs, maybe 6-8foot long.
The number of Blackcaps visiting the garden have stated to fall. The max record was 7 and now it is down to 2 males and a female, so I guess they have started moving back towards Central Europe. Meanwhile those from southern Europe are on their way back here!
Our unexpected visitor click HERE
A pair of Siskins have been using the feeders regularly this last week. Out of the blue, two Moorhens just walked out under the garden apple tree. They are taking advantage of our ground fed bird food (no wheat, no barley, none left, no mess!). I have no idea where they have come from and its nothing to do with having a pond. They would have to take turns to sit on our pond! They have been visiting now for three days, scuttling under the hedges if alarmed, and taking advantage of our small pond to wash and drink. A first ever for our garden.
Keep your eye on your bird boxes at this time of year. Denise had a camera in hers and it was delightful to see a Blue Tit roosting in it. I forgot to clean out my sparrow apartment and the hen is now doing it for me. Sorry Sparrow! The boxes get visited by all sorts of birds. Great Tits are busy knocking chunks out the new House Sparrow apartment! Blue Tits have been prospecting every box in the garden including the old House Sparrow apartment box. The House Sparrow hen is removing old nest material from her chosen nest box and the male is taking new nest material into another one of the three holes in the apartment. They will get it right eventually.
Male Great Spotted Woodpeckers are drumming on their favourite trees(drums) around the village especially up towards the church. This is an interesting way to attract a partner! Nuthatches are already in courtship and prospecting nest sites urgently; they are very early breeders.
Finally, spring is here and it has been great to welcome back our village hedgehogs from their winter sleep. The badgers are out and about to. As Anne nicely put it, ‘let’s hope the badgers and hedgehogs don’t meet’!
Click on this image to see our small hedgehog, the first to arrive in 2021.