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Post Info TOPIC: Pete Berry, Astley Village (COVID-19 garden lockdown)


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RE: Pete Berry, Astley Village (COVID-19 garden lockdown)
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Must be a hatch of flying ants tonight,lots of Black Headed Gulls and Starlings flying around flycatching(or ant catching!!). Many of the gulls in heavy moult with several primaries missing.

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A juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker visiting the fat blocks today.

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Plenty of juvenile Blue and Great Tits visiting the bird table feeding on the fat blocks,and very interestingly some juvenile Coal Tits using the bird table, so they must have bred nearby. Swarms of adult/juvenile Starlings hammering the fat blocks,the bird table isn't this busy in the winter !!!
No sign of any pink stinks in with the Starlings yet,but I'll keep looking.

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A very tame visitor to the garden today,looking for scraps that had fallen off bird table.

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First fledged juvenile Starling of the year on the bird table this morning.

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After spending all afternoon out in the garden getting neck ache ,checking every high flying birds in the hot thermals paid dividends when a "cream headed" Marsh Harrier drifted high over the house,and eventually headed off south towards the mosses. Not only a lockdown tick but a new bird for my full garden list.!!!
Whilst I was sat in the corner of the garden tucked under the ivy out of the sun a Coal Tit came down and had a shower under the dripping hosepipe that's topping the pond up,it was no more than 8ft away,and either didn't see me or was too hot to care. Marvellous!!

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A Goldcrest singing in a neighbour's garden tonight was a new bird for this list as was the Mediterranean Gull that flew over yesterday evening. After checking out every flyover small gull for the last month I was finally rewarded with a Med,at least I don't have to look at any more gulls (well not till the autumn anyway).
The Lesser Whitethroat I found last week singing by the East Lancs road had moved about 200 yds nearer to my back garden this morning, but still not heard it from my garden, you never know it could move even nearer, I reckon another 100yds closer and I'll be able to hear it!!.

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Just had another Peregrine over the back garden, my third ever record for my garden list. Blackcap is still singing away ,obviously likes it here,and the Coal Tit is still a daily visitor to the fatball,wasn't really expecting them to be breeding round here, but assume it must be on territory this time of year. A few more Swift, House Martin and Swallow over the garden, mainly in the evening, and we still have at least 2 young Robins around the garden.

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Just had a pair of Swift over the garden, only my 2nd sighting this spring!! Now 2 young Robins in the garden, yesterday one of the adults brought one of the young onto bird table to feed on the fat in a coconut shell,today both the young have made several unaccompanied visits to feed themselves,you've got to learn quickly to survive.
The Magpie continues to dive bomb the "white boys" every time they put in an appearance, starting to like Magpies more and more.
The Goldfinch, Greenfinch and Bullfinch continue to try and empty the feeders every day ,and the Starling must be feeding young as they're constantly flying off with beak fulls of fat from the coconut fat feeders.

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An hour in the garden was quite productive with still plenty of Goldfinch and Bullfinch visiting the feeders . Well chuffed to see our resident Robin feeding a very recently fledged young, a House Martin and Sparrowhawk over and a new bird for my lockdown list when 2 Sand Martin's flew over.

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Thought I'd have 15 mins in the garden after the rain and had my first SWIFT of the year over the house,also another Chiffchaff singing just behind the house,but no Willow Warbler yet,suppose there's still time for one.
Managed to get a bag of sunflower seeds off a friend of mine who had some spare,that should keep the Greenfinch and Bullfinch happy for another few weeks.

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No new birds yet,still waiting for a flyover Swift,but none put in an appearance as yet,still getting Coal Tit in the garden so hopefully will breed nearby.
Today there was 3 male Bullfinch on the sunflower feeder,first time I've seen 3 male together in garden,unfortunately I'm fast running out of sunflower seeds which is their preferred food,they never go on the sunflower hearts which are in he next feeder. Quite a big passage of Black Headed Gulls heading in a northerly direction early evening ,every night, up to a 100 some nights,presume it's birds feeding on the moss and heading up to Belmont which as far as I'm aware is the nearest breeding colony in that direction.

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Not really had anything go update recently, no new birds,but today had my 1st Holly Blue butterfly in the garden, and in last few days several Speckled Woods have put in an appearance,also a male Brimstone flew into garden .
The Magpie continues to chase off the White Doves,we've actually started to put any left over dog food out to encourage the Magpie to hang around a bit more,as the "white boys" are trashing my veg plot in the search of food.
It's interesting that the Goldfinch feed only on the sunflower hearts,whereas the Bullfinch and Greenfinch only feed on whole sunflowers even though the 2 feeders are next to one another.

-- Edited by pete berry on Thursday 23rd of April 2020 01:46:44 PM

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Just got back from my morning walk and sat in back garden with a brew when an HOUSE MARTIN flew over, that's no.48

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Breakfast in the garden paid off this morning when a JAY flew over,not one I was expecting this time of year ,as I only usually see them in autumn when they're out and about collecting acorns.
A couple of Lapwing flew over the garden as well,and last night as I was catching the last rays of the sun a male Blackcap was picking through the ivy less than 6ft from me,lovely to watch so close. Still at least 2 pair of Bullfinch visiting the sunflower feeders,and plenty of Goldfinch (I'm having to refill feeders daily). I've started putting out some fatball in a feeder and the local House Sparrow population are going mad for them,I'm having to refill that every other day.

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Thought I'd spend an hour after tea sat in back garden while it was still reasonably warm and a Swallow flew over just before I decided I was getting cold and it was time to go in. That's species 46 for my lockdown list.
A few Orange Tip butterflies and a single Speckled Wood through the garden again today.

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Another new bird today when 3 Linnet flew over the garden. Nice views of a couple different Sparrowhawk ,several Buzzard inc 3 in the air together, and a Kestrel over the garden several times.
Also Speckled Wood butterfly flew round the garden a couple of times,first one of the year.

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A new lockdown garden tick this afternoon when 2 Stock Doves flew over, that's a relief,don't have to scrutinise every Pigeon and Dove that flies past the garden anymore!!!
Not seen the Willow Tit for a few days so maybe not breeding nearby this year.The pair of Bullfinch are in and out of garden all day,and a Coal Tit this morning was the first sighting for a few days. Not had a single hirundine over the garden yet,shouldn't be long before they put in an appearance.

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Sitting out in garden after dark last night paid off when a Tawny Owl flew right over our heads about an hour after dusk. The traffic noise from the East Lancs road was quite bad last night,so nothing was heard flying over.

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Sat out in back garden having breakfast earlier and was rewarded with a Blackcap singing away in the hedgerow round the field at the back of the house,which I think puts me on 43 species,got my arithmetic wrong t'other day !
Also 2 Mistle Thrush in the Ash tree at the bottom of the garden are only the 2nd record since lockdown. Planning on lighting chimnera again tonight,got to be some waders flying over soon.
Good birding and good health to everyone.

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It's a mega day with another new bird(no.40) in the shape of a Raven calling and flying over late this afternoon. Think I'm going to be struggling now for many new species, Sat out in the garden till nearly 10pm last night in the hope of a flyover calling wader,no luck ,but the with the chimnera lit and a bottle of red to hand it was very enjoyable even though no new species heard.

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Just enjoying the the sun in the back garden and a Great Spotted Woodpecker has just flown over,first one for my lockdown list.



-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Thursday 9th of April 2020 03:44:37 PM

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First new bird for a few days,a pair of Mute Swans flew over the back garden this morning, other than that it's been fairly quiet,was hoping for a singing Willow Warbler as there's loads about at the moment,but no joy so far.

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Just say out in the garden with my bins for an hour and was watching a couple of Buzzards hunting the fields at the back when a Peregrine flew through the middle of them before disappearing low over the house. Not one I was expecting, think it's only my second record ever over the house. Just one species to get my total up to 40.

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Popped out last night at 8.45pm to look for the Space Station going over,it was right on time.Whilst we were watching it we could here ducks going over,which when I checked Xeno canto as soon as we got back in were Common Scoter.I went out again later,but no sound of any birds.

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Just as I got back from my morning walk and was literally walking down the path a Lapwing flew over the house from the fields over the road.
Species no. 37

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Interesting to see 2 pair Bullfinch in a territorial dispute in the back garden this afternoon, one pair was quickly seen off by the other pair !
Whilst I was out this afternoon tidying up my garden pond a Song Thrush flew over the garden, another new bird bringing my total to 36.
Still no sign of any Great Spotted Woodpeckers yet,I've even put some extra fat out in the hope of attracting them back,beginning to think something must have happened to our resident bird as it was visiting every day till recently.
Good health and take care .

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As I expected no new birds today,there's only 2 more birds that I regard as regular that haven't shown up yet,Great Spotted Woodpecker which is usually seen every day,and Raven which I generally see several times a week flying over the house. Unless something unusual turns up I'll have to wait now till a few summer migrants start to arrive.
I've been doing a bit of phone scoping and attach a couple of pics I've taken which passed a pleasant couple of hours away. Usually when I put pics on from my phone they appear sideways, so apologies in advance if this happens again!!



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My daughter and grandson popped round early evening to drop something off(passed thru the window!!!!) and as I was chatting to them from inside the house a pair of Canada Geese flew over the road just above roof height,another welcome addition to my lockdown listbiggrin
Total now stands at 35

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Decided to put another hour in from the upstairs obs and was rewarded with a Comorant flying south,well worth the effort ,now puts me on 34 species!!!

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No new birds today,but I haven't really put a great deal of effort in. The Willow Tit continues to come in several times a day and will hopefully breed nearby, as it has done in the past when I've seen recently fledged young in the garden being fed by the adults. Also the 2nd time I've seen a Coal Tit today on the feeders since keeping this new list.I
On a note of interest the feral pigeons/white doves which invade my garden in numbers and hoover up any food on the ground(another reason apart from the rats I've stopped putting seed out on the ground)have been sent off on several occasions today by Magpies which dive bomb them and then chase them away.Magpies have certainly gone up in my estimation, hopefully they'll keep it up and drive them away permanently.


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Well,I spent an hour this afternoon in the upstairs obs with my scope,and checked out the 2 weedy fields and also the grassy field I can just about see through the bushes without adding a single new bird to my list. A couple of Grey Herons flew over, plenty of Woodpigeons feeding in the grassy field,but no sign of any small birds feeding on the weedy areas that I'd hoped for. Still it passed a pleasant hour away,and there's always tomorrow to look forward to. Take care and keep safe.

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A late post for yesterday when an imm. Great Black Back gull was moving west late afternoon in a small flock of Lesser Black Backs possibly heading to Pennington roost?
Total now 33 species
Not spent a lot of time looking today due to cold weather,intend to put an hour in later from the upstairs obs(The back bedroom) which overlooks a couple of weedy fields.



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Things are looking up,just sat in back room with a brew when a Mallard flew over the fields at the back of the house,really on a roll todaybiggrin
Total now standing at 32

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Another new bird this morning, a Collared Dove was singing(well if you call it singing!!)from the oak tree in my next door neighbours garden. They were once common in my garden, but since I've stopped putting seed on the ground because of rat problem they've become quite rare and this is the first sighting in a week.
No Buzzard over today for the first time this week ,maybe absence of thermals keeping them hunting from perches instead of thermalling about.
Total species since lockdown down now 31.

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Thought I wasn't going to get any new birds today,but a couple of flying rats(aka feral pigeon)flew over the garden this afternoon bringing my total up to 30. The Willow Tit is still making daily appearances,as are the rest of the regulars.
Perhaps the most exciting thing today was the the frog spawn in my little wildlife pond has hatched into tadpoles !!!picture attached.
Anyway we're still sane(I think) and looking forward to adding a few new birds to my new list in the coming weeks, just worried we run out of bird food ,although I think B&M wil still be open, providing they've not sold out.
Good birding and good mental health to all.

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The only new bird for the day was a Pied Wagtails that flew low over the garden. On the gardening front I've now got all my onion sets planted and because the missus is so bored she's rotovated the rest of my veg plot -bonus-its never happened before,I'm a amazed she knew which way the rotovator went,but I ain't complaining.
Just got to show her how the lawnmower works and I can put my feet up and concentrate more on this garden birdingbiggrin

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Not quite up to the standard of Red Kite, which must have flown over my garden and past Ian's house about 30 mins ago(I was unfortunately not out in the garden when it flew through) but this female Pheasant was dust bathing in my half planted onion patch just now.

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Another successful day in the garden,got half my onion sets planted,and more importantly had a few new species to add to the tally. Probably the highlight was a singing Chiffchaff on the land just behind my garden,also a Coal Tit on the bird fat and a Kestrel hunting over the rough field at the back were 3 of the new species since this started.
I've attached a pic of my back garden and surrounding area just on the outside chance someone might be interested!!
Good birding and mental health to everyone, take care there's a few idiots out there still.



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Opened the bedroom curtains this morning and added another 3 birds to my list. A Crow was flying past,3 Grey Herons were flying over and a Pheasant was in the field behind the back garden.

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What a great idea,it'll make going out in the garden even more enjoyable. My garden faces west and has open fields at rear,together with a number of mature trees in the surrounding area.i have 2 feeders with sunflower hearts and one with sunflower seeds. Unfortunately due to an unprecedented increase in rats this winter I no longer put seed on the ground,which restricts the number of species attracted to my garden(I've lost Brambling,Reed Bunting,Stock Dove etc which seem to prefer seeds scattered on the lawn)I also have several fat feeders inside a cage to keep the other rats with bushy tails(tree) from nicking off with them. Yesterday without really putting in any effort I recorded 16 species,the best of the bunch being Willow Tit which fortunately is still a regular visitor here. Also yesterday were several Buzzard,Sparrowhawk and Bullfinch.Today I added another 4 species inc Mistle Thrush and 3 species of gull. If I keep this up long enough then maybe I'll get the Red Kite over my house which as been on my dream list for many years!!!!



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This forum is dedicated to the memory of Eva Janice McKerchar.