Wildlife Round Up (WRU) Late December2021 – Early January 2022
The Weald Moors stretch away to our east starting with Birch Moors just bordering the University and finishing with Sleap and Wrockwardine Moor. Between them we have the Longford, Tibberton, Kynnersley, Rodway, Crudgington, Cherrington, Tibberton Moors. These are our local peat lands much of it now drained. However, through the middle of this land runs the Strine and the Strine Pipe and there still some areas holding water throughout much of the winter.
These areas attract the interest of many birds, particularly during the winter months. Recently we have seen large flocks of Teal and Widgeon, in their hundreds some days! Two pink Footed geese were seen on Tibberton Moor recently (Pete and Martin) We also have seen a small gathering of Shoveler, a very splendid looking duck
We have also seen large flocks of Lapwing but very few Golden Plover this year. They can usefully be found on open fields at this time of year. If you see the Lapwing lift hight into the sky and continue climbing its usually a sign that a Peregrine is about. Other records from the Weald Moors (Neil) include 400 Lapwings, 800 Redwing, Woodcock and huge flocks of Starlings. The Weald Moors are also are a good place to see flocks of small birds. This month we have recorded a flock of over 300 Reed Buntings, 30 Corn Bunting (Pete and Martin) which is really quite staggering. There are always good flocks of Skylark across the Moors and large flocks of up to hundred on Birch Moors. If you want to see a Grey and Pied Wagtail then visit the Sewage works on Birch Moors. You will usually find half a dozen Meadow Pipits here to. The Little Grebes have been on the fishing pool here most of the winter with a maximum count 5. They were confined to the edges of the pool when it most of it iced up in recent weeks. There are always Mallard and a few striking male Goosander to see here
I watched a large flock of Woodpigeon being deliberately attacked by a Carrion Crow on Cherrington Moor recently. The crow was unsuccessful but made several attempts to pin one down before flying up into a nearby tree. I have never seen Carrion Crows do this before! A pair of Stonechats were keeping us company on tree planting at the Wall and another pair appeared as we walked back from the Fruit and Nut planting at the back of HAU last weekend. People are still reporting a large group of Linnets, up to about 150. There are also good groups of Chaffinch to be seen at the Rockhole. We are still getting plenty of Owl activity with Little and Barn Owl seen in the area around the University (Scott) and the Tawny Owls, male and females calling most nights in the village in the last few weeks. I am pleased to report that a Tree Creeper has been seen in a local garden(Paula). We have only one record of a garden Great Spotted Woodpecker lately. My regular visits by these birds have completely gone and I wonder if they had a poor breeding season in 2021! Blue Tits have been inspecting nest boxes throughout this month and the House Sparrows have been busy at our apartment box in the last few weeks. The great Tits are checking out the holes in are old Apple Tree Male Blackcaps, Long Tailed tits, Nuthatch and Stock Dove are daily visitors. Pond Lane is always a good place to see Goldcrests, their tinkling high picked call is a give-away if you can hear it! We have a very strange looking Goldfinch in the garden at the moment with lots of white on its head. (see photo)
Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and Buzzard are resident and have been seen on most walks around the village lately. I have also seen several Peregrines, particularly on the Weald Moors but sometimes over the village. Seven adult Mute Swans flew over the village on the 7th January Well, spring is not too far away now and the Snowdrops are already out in the garden. A single Primrose flower appeared from a plant below our sandstone wall this last week and I found a small Cow Parsley in flower below a hedge near the Rockhole. Song Thrushes have been singing a lot recently! I listened to two male birds competing in Newport town centre on Friday when I was out early to go to the market.
People have been found hare coursing on the Weald Moors in the last few months, often on a Sunday. One Vehicle and usually three men and their dogs. They often park down the field tracks or even on the fields!! Don’t approach these people. Record any detail as you walk away and then, when out of site, ring 999. This is the recommended course of action. Apparently hare coursing is an increasing and serious rural crime linked to betting and money laundering.
Thanks to all to all those who have contributed to this edition of Wildlife Round Up and if you have anything to report then please email me and I will try to make sure it in included in the next WRU.
Thanks Jon firstname.lastname@example.org