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Post Info TOPIC: BIRD BEHAVIOUR


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RE: BIRD BEHAVIOUR


Sparrow hawk flying low across m61 near to junction 5 , two days on the run. possibly hunting redwing, the trees lining the motorway on my drive from the A580 to junction 5 have had lots of these birds in them.

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Hi Mike.

I've not seen any of the other birds doing it, so far. Maybe that's because it's the sparrows regular patch. The blackbirds are happier under the thicker vegetation where there is less snow.

Cheers

Mike C

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Hi Mike,
the sparrows are doing the same thing in our garden. The blackbirds are doing something similar - bellyflopping in the snow and staying there for a minute or so.

cheers
Mike

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In the catagory of 'bird behaviour I've not seen before' :

Most of our local House Sparrows are dust-bathing in the snow under the bushes around the car park. It's where I've been putting food out for them, so at first I thought it was just forageing activity, but a better look revealed what they were up to. There's a large conifer nearby, which is where they roost, so maybe it's a Roman style sparrow sauna: the conifer's the caladarium, the bushes the tepidarium and the snow the frigidarium! Certainly cold enough to freeze the mites off anything

Also heard what sounded like a sneeze from one of the local Carrion Crows

-- Edited by Mike Chorley on Wednesday 22nd of December 2010 01:25:04 PM

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Thank you for that guys.

This is the first year that we have had Coal Tits in the garden. We usually have the usual Sparrows pigeons and starlings with the occasional vist by the dunnock but this year we have the coal tit and 3 blue tits and spotted a great tit as well

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Saw something yesterday that I have never seen previously and that was a Dipper swimmimg on the surface of a rapidly flowing river, the river Kent near to Sizergh Castle. I have read that they do this but is it common behaviour?

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Great Tits are known to sometimes watch exactly where the Coal Tits are food caching in order to help themselves to the stored goodies as well. smile.gif

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Hello Ian,
this is normal behavior for Coal Tits and Jaysat this time of year, not always in lawns but in cracks in trees as well
Cheers
Mike

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Hi everyone,

Has anybody every noticed whether Tits or birds in general bury seed, as i have observed a Coal tit in my garden picking out the sunflower seeds from the feeders and burying them in different location in the garden

Regards
Ian

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On the subject of Jackdaws - twice at Inner Marsh Farm I've seen and photographed a Jackdaw mobbing Terns both of which happened to be rather rare terns at that. I wonder if it is food related i.e. to mob the gull/tern in the hope of an easy meal, or something else?

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During this evening's gull roost at Pennington there was a group of about 20 Jackdaw swooping around practically at water level, among the gulls. They then flew to a tree on Ramsdale's before moving across the flash to the roost site later. A short while later another group of about 30 Jackdaws did the same, twisting around among the gulls. Other than a few short dashes there didn't seem to be any real attempt to harrass the gulls, other than one Jackdaw breaking away to pursue a Common Gull which took up. As the Common Gull was flushed from rest amongst the roost I doubt that it was carrying any food item. The Common Gull eventually turned and chased the Jackdaw, which re-joined the rest of it's group as they flew to trees on Ramsdale's.

I saw a group of Jackdaws behaving like this among the gull roost last week in a short visit during atrocious weather last week. Other than that I'd never seen this, despite there having been a Jackdaw roost occurring during gull roost counts last winter.

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Mark Rigby wrote:

Absolutely stunning. Must be some sort of camera trickery wink.gif






I thought there might have been a bit of camera tom foolery, but on seeing the video I hold me hands up!! biggrin.gif

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smile.gif Superb, enjoyed seeing that, sat on his arm and hand aswell, excellent

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Absolutely stunning. Must be some sort of camera trickery wink.gif

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How about this for some nice bird behaviour..


http://fair-isle.blogspot.com/2010/11/waxwings-oct-25th-2010-day-well-always.html

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Mike Passant wrote:

Hi Karen,

What a strange thing with your Grey Wagtail.

- Not sure what to suggest really.
I do wonder though as to the cause; - I have seen in Pied Wagtails a tendency from time to time to take exception to reflections in car wing mirrors, and I wonder if the behaviour you note with your bird started with it pecking at the wing mirror(s) with resultant mounting frustration at not being able to see off its imagined rival.
Could it be that a change of strategy has developed from there, with the bird now trying to attack the thing (i.e.vulnerable bits of the car) that it most associates with its "enemy" the reflection?
I wonder if it would do any good, if when the car were parked up, a pair of old gloves were placed one over each of the wing mirrors, then the offending bird might think its rival had been vanquished and cease its attacks?

Cheers,
Mike






We had a Dunnock earlier this year that used to have 'fights' with my wing mirror. We saw it almost on a daily basis for about a 4 week period.

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Hi Karen,

What a strange thing with your Grey Wagtail.

- Not sure what to suggest really.
I do wonder though as to the cause; - I have seen in Pied Wagtails a tendency from time to time to take exception to reflections in car wing mirrors, and I wonder if the behaviour you note with your bird started with it pecking at the wing mirror(s) with resultant mounting frustration at not being able to see off its imagined rival.
Could it be that a change of strategy has developed from there, with the bird now trying to attack the thing (i.e.vulnerable bits of the car) that it most associates with its "enemy" the reflection?
I wonder if it would do any good, if when the car were parked up, a pair of old gloves were placed one over each of the wing mirrors, then the offending bird might think its rival had been vanquished and cease its attacks?

Cheers,
Mike

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A Grey Wagtail has fairly recently started attacking my aunt's car. This consists of the bird constantly pooing on the car and attacking the windscreen wiper, so much so that it has even managed to break one!

My aunt's car is a silver colour and it also attacks her neighbour's car to a lesser extent which is blue, but it leaves my uncle's car alone, which is red.

Other than putting a bird of prey silhouette on the car, which is impractical, or buying a a new car, has anybody out there any ideas of a solution to this problem?

Cheers Karen

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Was walking along a country lane this morning near Handforth - only just outside the southern edge of GM and had already watched a small (c20) but vocal flock of Teal along with 2 Snipe and 5 Meadow Pipits in a flooded field. After a walk a bit further along the lane, I thought I could hear the distinctive calls of adult male Teals coming from above head height in a large dead tree at the side of the road confuse.gif Looked up and a flock of Starlings were present - several of which were perfectly mimicking these Teal calls. I know Starlings are renowned for their mimicry but this is the first time I've heard them "doing" Teal. Brilliant!biggrin.gif Just sets the mind thinking, what purpose such mimicry at this time of year serves....if any?


Cheers,


Bill.

-- Edited by Bill Myerscough on Friday 5th of November 2010 05:01:08 PM

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A friend of my wife witnessed some interesting behaviour by a Blackbird in her garden.It was picking slugs up and rolling them in a nearby pile of seeds, giving the slug a nice coating, before flying off. Looks like the youngsters where getting sesame seed slugssmile.gif

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I have just been watching a Sparrowhawk soaring around Swinton town hall which was being mobbed by up to 10 Swifts. Each Swift dive bombed the Hawk in turn getting very close indeed. Unfortunately one of the Swifts got too close and as it dived in the Hawk turned on its back and managed to catch the bird with its talons. The Swift tumbled to the ground landing on the gardens in front of the town hall about 50m in front of me. It was still alive and as I started to run over to get it the Sparrowhawk dived down and landed on the Swift. Then two of the resident Crows flew down and one of them mobbed the Hawk moving it from the Swift which the second Crow picked up and just managed to fly onto the new offices at the side of the town hall as the Swift was still flapping about.

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Dave Thacker


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i once heard reports of 11 helpers(!) to a single nest. you certainly coundn't call those chicks neglected!biggrin.gif

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Long-tailed Tits carrying small bills full of insect food into nests (usually situated in brambles) have been particularly conspicuous in the last week or so - I have recorded 8 pairs carrying food into nests across different parts of GM between 2/5 and 9/5. Today on my wanderings I came across one pair carrying food into a nest and around a quarter of a mile or so away another nest was found but this had 5 separate adult birds carrying food into the nest in the space of less than 1 minute, plus from the calls being made behind me, at least 1 possibly 2 other birds were waiting to do the same! I am aware that many nests of this species have "helpers" - some statistics put the number of nests with helpers in quite high percentages but this is the first time that I have seen so many birds helping around a single nest! I understand from my readings that many of the helpers might be family members who have failed in their breeding attempts this year but it does make you wonder why they don't rebuild, as only yesterday I was watching a pair of LTT building a nest elsewhere in GM, at a time when most adults are getting ready to bring fledged young out into the big wide world. In fact it should be any day now - my first record of fledged young seen last year was on 9/5/09.

Does anyone have any figures on max numbers of helpers at a LTT nest?

Long-tailed Tit nests.....now what truly awe-inspiring structures they are! jawdrop.gif

Keep atlasing!

Bill.


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I made a quick visit to Brabyns Park in Marple today and watched a Moorhen break and then eat the yolk of a Moorhen egg.
I'm guessing that the bird in question was most likely a male and committed the act so he could have a chance to breed with the female?

Any other theories?

Anthony

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On two mornings in the last week I've watched a chiffchaff feeding on the lawn in my back garden. Anyone know if this is common? I was a bit surprised to see it in the garden at all as I would have thought of them very much as woodland birds. I would also have expected it to be much more arboreal so to see it feeding on the lawn was a bit of a surprise.

As I type this I'm also listening to a song thrush outside the window, who's repertoire includes mimicry of a blackbird alarm call and I think possibly a greenfinch. Near my university accomodation there is one which is a very clear mimic of some sort of car/house alarm, possibly the college fire alarm which is tested weekly!

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Following on from Bill, John and Steven's comments about Jay mimicry on the Stamford boating lake thread. A couple of weeks ago I was walking along the River Roch in Smallbridge and heard repeatedly what I assumed to be a Grey Heron calling from nearby trees.
When I finally located the source of the calls it turned out to be a Jay and I could see its bill opening as the call was made. It just goes to show that recording birds just on call may lead to mistakes!

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I heard a Lesser Black-backed Gull calling over Ashton-in-Makerfield at 23:30ish last night... Seemed unusual.

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A friend of mine who is currently residing in the famous Strangeways motel [ anyone who remembers Mike Harding's folk song will know where I mean] mentioned in his last letter to me that a number of inmates had complained of being kept awake as birds were singing all night. He identified the birds as Robins with a number of Wrens thrown in as well which were singing all through the night due to the very large security lights surrounding the motel making the birds think that it was 24 hour daylight.biggrin.gif

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Many thanks for that info Simon and Phil. Looks like we might have a few insomniacs about - birds......and birders! wink.gifbiggrin.gif

Cheers,

Bill.

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Bill, we have a Robin singing through the night at the moment even in the rain its still at it.

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Our local Blackbirds are singing right through the night too!!

Not unusual especially during the breeding season but light levels can have an effect on them singing, for example street lamps etc.



-- Edited by Phil Owen on Sunday 28th of March 2010 11:04:26 AM

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28th March.

A Robin was singing sing.gif in my Chadderton back garden at 2.15 am BST (1.15 am old time) this morning. I know that this species sings late into the evening and very early morning but not actually in the middle of the night! Maybe this is normal behaviour? confuse.gif Leaned out of the bedroom window to listen and another bird was singing back at it!biggrin.gif

Cheers,

Bill.

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Hi Paul, have spotted buzzards and badgers taking worms like you say but i was just amazed to see a top predater behaving in this manor. one of the pair were at it again tonight this time perching on the crossbar in pouring rain and then every minute or so dropping down to feed . a magpie was sat watching 3 feet further along the bar, i guess you could call it a cross bar challenge .biggrin.gif

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Dave Tennant wrote:

A pair of kestrels hunting a round hindley town football pitch 6 pm till 630, nothing unusual there. one hunted over some long grass at the side of the pitch while the other used the changing room roof as a perch and for at least half an hour swooped onto the flooded pitch landed and seemed to be picking worms from the mud.could there be a shortage of larger prey?.






Hi Dave, Earthworms are supposedly rich in protein,(well at least according to Ray Mears) many larger birds including Buzzards and Herons activly hunt them out, Foxes and Badgers do so too, I imagine it was taking advantage of easy prey on a wet day.

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Dave Thacker wrote:



Getting a meal from carrion is a lot easier especially from road kill and I have seen Buzzards in the road feeding on Hedgehogs, Grey squirrels and Rabbits.hungry.gifsmile.gif







I regularly see Buzzards on or adjacent to the railway lines, feeding on, or waiting for "rail kills". It is not uncommon to see 20+ birds on a return trip to Chester via Delamere or 15+ on a return trip to Crewe via Alderley Edge.

Over the last 10 years or so , they have become far more common and are now seen around Manchester Airport, Romiley to Strines and on the Hadfield line.

Unfortunately, is is also becoming more common to find Buzzards as "rail kills", but I suppose its all relative because they become food for foxes, other Buzzards etc........

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A pair of kestrels hunting a round hindley town football pitch 6 pm till 630, nothing unusual there. one hunted over some long grass at the side of the pitch while the other used the changing room roof as a perch and for at least half an hour swooped onto the flooded pitch landed and seemed to be picking worms from the mud.could there be a shortage of larger prey?.

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Hi Geoff and Mel

I have witnessed Buzzards chasing and catching Rabbits on the mosses over the years. I have also seen them chase Hares but never catch them. Sometimes Buzzards will sit on a post and watch for small rodents and I have seen them hopping around a field chasing and catching the rodents.

Getting a meal from carrion is a lot easier especially from road kill and I have seen Buzzards in the road feeding on Hedgehogs, Grey squirrels and Rabbits.hungry.gifsmile.gif

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Dave Thacker


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Geoff Hargreaves wrote:

Do buzzards take live prey ??




Although l've never seen them hunting myself Geoff, l always presumed they preferred live prey to carrion.

Did you not see the article on the Buzzard that took the Phalarope last year ?

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Whilst chasing the elusive merlin and racking up some borough ticks I bumped into mr thorpe and woosey at rindle rd we saw a buzzard swoop down from a fence post and land almost on top of a 'live' rabbit neither seemed to know what to do next,the rabbit hopped off stage right,the buzzard back to a fence post.Do buzzards take live prey ??

cheers geoffbiggrin.gif

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mm



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See last post
Amazing , Craig but this weekend at Radcliffe recycling centre on Cemetary Rd I heard exactly the same call from a Magpie, I actually thought at the time it might be a call advertising a potential nest sight as it was so unusual.
Cheers Ian

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Whilst out and about today (out of county mostly) I was intrigued to hear a flock of starlings chortling away in a block of low scrub. It was hardly typical starling habitat, and more confusingly I couldnt see any of them. I then realised it was a Magpie, happily sat there mimicing a flock of starlings. I know Magpies are mimics but I've never heard them (or any other bird) mimic a flock of birds.

More bizarrely - I also saw my first young bird of the year - a young Moorhen (and I mean young - 10-11 days or so) on the River Sankey in Warrington!!

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I'm sure that the botanists amongst the users of the forum will have noticed that earlier in the year there seemed to be a mass, widespread flowering of Cordyline species.
More info on this plant species at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cabbage_tree_(New_Zealand)

I assume this mass flowering might have been as a result of a relatively dry '08-09 winter? I understand that these plants are non-native species and originate from New Zealand I think? Anyway, the flowering spikes from earlier on in the year are now loaded with numerous small white berrries. Have noticed that my local Chadderton Starlings appear to have taken a liking to these small berries and a great cloud of birds descended onto the tree in next doors garden on 11/11 and enthusiastically picked off these berries. Had a look through my Birds of the Western Palearctic interactive to see if this had been reported as a food source before and couldn't see it mentioned. From my limited experience I have noticed that Cordylines don't flower in this country in the vast majority of years, so maybe it is just Starlings taking advantage of this years unusual circumstances? I wonder if Starlings in New Zealand (which were introduced there in the 1800s I understand) feed on this food source in this plants native country?

Bill.

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Joey Eccles wrote:

When at Chesire Oaks today i noticed that the resident population of starlings were being severly harassed by the black headed gulls. The gulls would gang up in groups of 3 or 4 and fly really fast at the trees in which the starlings were sited. This of course sent the starlings up and flying about. The gulls would then try to isolate a victim before trying to chase it down. They weren't very sucessful but on one occasion a gull did knock a starling out of the air only for it to regather its bearings and fly to a nearby tree when it was only a couple of feet from the ground. The gulls seemed so energetic and surprisingly fast and agile that at first i thought they were birds of prey. Yet it left me wondering why they did it? Maybe to try and oust the starlings from feeding in the gulls' spot? or possibly it was their predatory nature kicking in as with other gulls, although a starling would put up quite a scrap for a sparrowhawk let alone a bh gull!
Has anyone experienced this before?






Hi Joey,

Much as many of us might like to think that wildlife doesn't have some of the less savoury behavioural traits that we humans have..... well I'm afraid to say that they do! From my limited experience, of the commoner day to day birds, Black-headed Gulls are probably one of the worst "offenders" when it comes to trying to "mug" other birds and steal their hard earned food! I wonder if this is maybe what might have been happening with your Starlings and gulls? I have seen at Piethorne foraging and diving parties of Goosanders moving across the surfaces of the valleys reservoirs and quite often they are surrounded by a posse of yapping, threatening BH Gulls and I have watched them trying to steal food from these ducks. Also, at the same site I have seen opportunistic BH Gulls attempting the same with Great Crested Grebes (unsuccessfully) and Little Grebes (successfully). I have also watched them in very agile and aggressive aerial pursuit of Common Gulls and Jackdaws at Kingsway Business Park, also attempting to steal food - I would guess usually by getting the threatened bird to drop their food at the sheer thought of any attempted aggression! Whilst walking along my local section of the Rochdale Canal on Saturday 7th November 2009, I could hear the sharp alarm calls of a Kingfisher and about 15 Black-headed Gulls were swooping down low over the canal - I would guess trying to scare it into dropping a small fish that it had probably spent a good while waiting to catch! Can't claim to be an expert on these matters but I'm sure I have read somewhere that some species, such as Lapwing and Golden Plover, feed at certain times of the year at night time... possibly to avoid the close attentions of these unwelcome food pirates!

Best wishes,

Bill.


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When at Chesire Oaks today i noticed that the resident population of starlings were being severly harassed by the black headed gulls. The gulls would gang up in groups of 3 or 4 and fly really fast at the trees in which the starlings were sited. This of course sent the starlings up and flying about. The gulls would then try to isolate a victim before trying to chase it down. They weren't very sucessful but on one occasion a gull did knock a starling out of the air only for it to regather its bearings and fly to a nearby tree when it was only a couple of feet from the ground. The gulls seemed so energetic and surprisingly fast and agile that at first i thought they were birds of prey. Yet it left me wondering why they did it? Maybe to try and oust the starlings from feeding in the gulls' spot? or possibly it was their predatory nature kicking in as with other gulls, although a starling would put up quite a scrap for a sparrowhawk let alone a bh gull!
Has anyone experienced this before?

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I heard they bred there, or tried to.

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While picking up my son who had been playing football at the jjb soccerdome on friday evening, i noticed a kestrel sat on top of one of the lamp posts, it was dark but the grass verge below was lit up by the line of lamp posts. I saw this a couple of years ago and had forgotten about it . pressume the kestrel was using the lights to spot prey, is this regular behavior and has anyone spotted a similar thing. Ps this occured at wigan jjb.

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Rob Thorpe wrote:




Being stuck at Penni Flash is enough to drive anyone mad!

-- Edited by Rob Thorpe on Sunday 27th of September 2009 07:32:51 PM




more likely he had the dreaded leg lurgy from pearsons flashspin.gifbiggrin.gif



Touché wink.gif

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Rob Thorpe wrote:

JOHN TYMON wrote:

Rob Thorpe wrote:

John, maybe it's trying to swim but only has one leg wink.gif





couldn't haveconfuse.gifit changed its spinning direction twicebiggrin.gifthink it thought it was a phalaropebiggrin.gif



Being stuck at Penni Flash is enough to drive anyone mad!

-- Edited by Rob Thorpe on Sunday 27th of September 2009 07:32:51 PM




more likely he had the dreaded leg lurgy from pearsons flashspin.gifbiggrin.gif

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JOHN TYMON wrote:

Rob Thorpe wrote:

John, maybe it's trying to swim but only has one leg wink.gif





couldn't haveconfuse.gifit changed its spinning direction twicebiggrin.gifthink it thought it was a phalaropebiggrin.gif



Being stuck at Penni Flash is enough to drive anyone mad!

-- Edited by Rob Thorpe on Sunday 27th of September 2009 07:32:51 PM

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Rob Thorpe wrote:

John, maybe it's trying to swim but only has one leg wink.gif





couldn't haveconfuse.gifit changed its spinning direction twicebiggrin.gifthink it thought it was a phalaropebiggrin.gif

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