Feathers and Flight

A red kite in flight

Here at Folly View Let we are keen birdwatchers and I’ve blogged several times before about the birds we’ve seen in our gardens including:

We are also lucky to be able to see a wide variety of birds on the nearby Onny Meadows at the Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre.

Feathers and Flight

To coincide with the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch the Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre are holding a Feathers and Flight event on Sunday 28th January 2018 from 11:00 to 15:00.

This event offer the opportunity to soar above the beautiful Shropshire Hills in a hot air balloon for 90 minutes (depending on the weather).

If you prefer to keep your feet on the ground there is the chance to get up close and personal with a variety of birds pf prey. Chris Neal’s Falconry Birds of Prey will be providing flight displays and the chance to photograph these truly wonderful birds.

Red Kites

In this part of South Shropshire we are often treated to the sight of Red Kites.

The photograph of a Red Kite (Milvus milvus) at the top of this blog post was taken by Tim Felce at Gigrin Farm in Wales and is used under under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Spring has Sprung

A Chiffchaff - Latin name: Phylloscopus collybita

A Chiffchaff – Latin name: Phylloscopus collybita

The birds are gathering moss, dog fur and twigs for nest building.
The Chiffchaffs are chiff chaffing, chaff chiffing.
The Housemartins and Swallows have arrived and are flying around together.
The blossom is out on the fruit trees and the Wistreia has lots of buds ready to burst.
The Wood Anemones are flowering which means the full force of Bluebells is not far behind.
I’ve seen Comma, Small Toiseshell, Orange Tip Butterflies.
A huge White Tailed Bumble Bee has buzzed round my hall trying to find a way out.
A Queen Wasp came in the kitchen for a visit, thankfully it went straight back out.
The Sun is beginning to have some warmth in it, although there is still a nip in the air.
Hettie and Dillie are going and sitting on the grass enjoying sunning themselves.

The image of the Chiffchaff is from Wikimedia Commons and is included under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Sightings on the Onny Meadows

Female Goosander

Female Goosander

While walking Hettie (Border Terrier) we saw a Goosander on the River Onny. I have been informed it was a female as it had a brown head and grey body, the males have almost white bodies.

I saw a Goosander on the Onny Meadows last Winter as well but did not see a male one then either.

I have also been told that the dabducks (Little Grebe) have returned and are on the ponds at the Onny Meadows. I heard them last Spring but didn’t get a confirmed sighting, they have a very distinctive ‘Cackle’.

Little Grebe

Little Grebe

 

The image of the Goosander is by N P Holmes and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

The image of the Little Grebe is by Jason Thompson and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

The Big Garden Birdwatch 2017

The RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch happens this weekend, 28th to the 30th January. It is the World’s largest wildlife survey.

To take part all you need to do is download your free Big Garden Birdwatch pack from the RSPB Website and spend an hour watching the birds in your garden.

Did you know, 8,262,662 birds were counted in 2016 and 519,000 people took part in the UK?

The top birds of 2016 were:

  1. House Sparrow
  2. Starling
  3. Bluetit
  4. Blackbird
  5. Wood Pigeon
  6. Goldfinch
  7. Chaffinch
  8. GreatTit
  9. Robin
  10. Long-tailed Tit

I was pleased to see the Long-tailed Tits in the top 10 birds as they are my favourite birds. I was surprised that Robins were at number 9 and Wrens were not in the Top 10, as they are always busy little birds in our garden.

There is lots more information on the RSPB website.

Happy Bird Watching.

Puffed Up Winter Robin

Puffed Up Winter Robin

The image above is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

More Bird Watching

The Fieldfares are still visiting our garden here at Folly View Let to feed on the windfall apples. I have counted up to eleven of them there at one time, along with their pals the blackbirds – and as you can tell I have been doing more bird watching.

I would have liked to photograph them but they are so jumpy, if I even turn my head slightly to look at another bird they are off. So I try to keep perfectly still and enjoy watching them while they are still here.

They will be flying back to their breeding grounds soon in Scandinavia and Northern Europe. By mid February will have flown and will not be back until Autumn.

There is plenty of bird life to look forward to. I love listening for the first Chiffchaff, watching for the first Swift who is one of latest Summer birds to arrive from overseas. The winter flocks of Goldfinches and Long-tailed Tits will disperse while they are breeding in the Summertime.

While they are here I will enjoy our Winter visitors a while longer.

Long-tailed Tit

Long-tailed Tit

The image above was taken by Magnus Manske and is used under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.

Watching More Birds

We have a few apples trees in our garden and at this time of year share some of the wind falls with the wildlife.

Most mornings when I open the curtains there are several birds feeding on the apples. I peaked out the other Morning to watch the the Fieldfares along with a bird I haven’t seen for a year or two, Blackcaps.

Blackcap

Blackcap

 

I first spotted the male bird with his black cap and found the female up in the birch tree. The females have chestnut brown caps but otherwise look like the male.

The birds that add a bit of brightness on these dull days are the Bullfinches. The male really adds some colour with their pink waist coat and although the females have a taupe coloured waistcoat the white flash of their bottoms always makes me look for them. We only seem to have a pair, my parents have seven visiting their garden near Oswestry.

I was pleased to see we have a pair of Nuthatches visiting. I often see them singularly but the other day a pair landed in the field maple by the stream when I was returning from walking the dogs.

The wind falls are also a favourite of Dillie (border terrier number two).

Nuthatch

Nuthatch

 

The photograph of the Blackcap above was taken by Tony Hisgett and uploaded by Magnus Manske and is reproduced under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) licence.

The photograph of the Nuthatch above was uploaded by and is reproduced under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) licence.

Watching the Birds

I love watching the birds at this time of year, I like watching the birds anytime of year but they are more visible with the leaves having fallen. This morning the Fieldfares came to feed in our Holly tree, they were flying back and forth between there and the pine tree. They are always interesting to watch.

I was watching a Blue Tit this morning going along a branch of the greengage tree finding bits to eat. When I went out with Hettie (border terrier) we disturbed a small flock of Long-tailed Tits and their hangers on.

The flocks of Redwings and Fieldfares have been around for a while, they do seem to be a lot bigger than the last few years. I do love seeing them flying  round particularly in the early evening when they are off to roost.

Fieldfare

Fieldfare by Teresa Reynolds

I have seen a Jay eating the apples from next doors fruit trees. There are lots of Blackbirds around throwing leaves around and the Wrens are busy in the undergrowth.

There are plenty more birds to see but these are some of my favourites at this time of year.

Folly View has a bird book and binoculars for our visitors use.

The photograph of the Fieldfare above is by Teresa Reynolds and is taken from Wikimedia Commons.