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Post Info TOPIC: Steve Nelson - Irlam garden (COVID-19 lockdown)


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RE: Steve Nelson - Irlam garden (COVID-19 lockdown)
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Some highlights from the last few days:
Best was the discovery of a Collard Dove nesting in my plum tree yesterday and finding that 2 chicks hatched today. Photo attached.
A baby Wren visited with a parent yesterday and frequently begging for food.
Today saw a baby House Sparrow with a group of adults also regularly begging for food.

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1 Mute Swan flew N over the garden this afternoon

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Dramatic scenes in the garden this early evening. Having just thrown a few kitchen scraps into the garden a few minutes earlier, I heard a squawking noise. I looked out of the back door to see a stunning male Sparrowhawk sat on a Starling on the lawn. It flew off with the bird in its talons. I couldnt help feeling a bit guilty though!

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A summary of the last few days highlights:

Rook sightings are now becoming frequent with a flock of 11 over today (the most Ive seen) and ones and twos most days. This coincides with the increasing numbers found on Irlam & Chat Mosses less than a mile away. They are always seen heading on a straight flight path SE away from the moss or NW towards their feeding fields. I think they are commuting to Trafford somewhere - but not the Wellacre rookery.
Plenty of House Sparrows are active. Still regularly visiting the garden to feed, drink, wash and dust bath. Worryingly though an active nest in the wall of a neighbours house is under threat from building work.
Young Starlings are visiting with parents.
A Sparrowhawk is regularly causing panic
A Goldcrest is singing from a neighbours tree each day.
Blackbirds, Wood Pigeons including a young bird, Collard Doves are all regular.
Unfortunately the Blue Tits definitely havent nested this year.
9 Canada Geese flew low over yesterday.
Plenty of Swifts now feeding and screaming.
1 Sand Martin flew over today.

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Quite an interesting and eventful few days in the garden with 2 garden firsts
First was a Carrion Crow sat on the fence on Friday and second was 2 Mute Swans flying over together this afternoon. I heard the noise from their wings before I saw them.
Today saw the first newly fledged Starlings with 4 arriving with a flock of about 15 adults as I sat in the garden. They were begging for food but also doing a bit of self-feeding. Then some drama as a pair of Magpies arrived and the flock scattered and I watched as one of the youngsters flew straight into the kitchen window! Fortunately it was still able to fly off. They all returned a few mins later.
Also a very independent recently fledged male Blackbird that was gaining its black feathers on its wings and tail but still had its spotty plumage on its breast.
About 12 House Sparrows regularly visit to dust bath, bath in the bird bath, feed and collect nest material. There is a pair nesting in the wall of a house opposite.
The Blue Tits dont appear to be in the box this year after earlier showing plenty of interest.
Other species noted are the occasional Robin, frequent Woodpigeons and Collard Doves and Swifts overhead.

Also the usual 2 Grey Squirrels

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Highlights for the last couple of days:
Newly arrived Swifts were screaming overhead and round the houses today. Fantastic!
A male Sparrowhawk bombed through low this evening at full speed at fence height.
A Coal Tit visited yesterday and was singing in a neighbours tree today- first for a while.
Whilst doing some gardening a tame Robin kept me company.
Numerous House Sparrows continue to visit to feed, dust bathe, drink, wash and squabble each day.

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Recent highlights
Some scraps of stale bread yesterday attracted a flock of 25+ Starling. All in stunning plumage in the sunshine. Great to watch as I sat quietly. Some also gathered nesting material.
A growing group of about 20 House Sparrows regularly come for a dust bath, water bath and food. At least 3 nests in neighbours buildings- 2 under the eaves and 1 in a hole in a wall.
The Blue Tit pair are defending their plum tree that has the nest box from the Sparrows chasing them off every time they land in the tee. Feisty little things they are. Hopefully they will nest soon.
A Sparrowhawk is seen most days
A Rook flew over today.
The Feral Doves have increased to 8 on the roofs but never come into the garden. A few Woodpigeons and3 Collard Dove are regular.
A Robin visited the other day. First for a while. As was a Wren.
A couple of pairs of Blackbirds gathering food.
A Magpie is quick to pick up any food scraps put out.

A Grey Squirrel often runs along the fence.

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Recent highlights from the last few days:

A Sparrowhawk swooped low through the garden this morning.
A Swallow low over this afternoon was a garden first for this year.
A group of 6-8 House Sparrows make daily visits for a dust bath in the flower border
The Blue Tit pair still showing interest in the nest box.
A Great Tit was singing nearby.
3 Collard Doves and a 4-5 Woodpigeon are regular.
A Magpie scans the local gardens from rooftops and visits the garden when kitchen scraps are put out.
A few Blackbirds seem to be collecting food for young nearby.
Occasionally Canada Geese and Mallard fly over.
The bird bath and waterfall attract birds daily for a bath.

Other wildlife
Grey Squirrel
Orange Tip


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Todays highlights
Singing Goldcrest in next doors conifer
3 Collard Dove including pair displaying on the fence
3 Feral Doves on the roof
Blue Tit pair again at the nest box
1 Mallard over
1 Lesser Black-backed Gull low over garden

Also
Holly Blue butterfly seen twice

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Garden sightings for the last few days:

Regular visits from a Magpie, 4 Woodpigeon, 2 Collard Doves, Blackbirds collecting food for young nearby, Wren & Robin.
10 House Sparrows dust bathing occasionally. Some also collecting nest material and seen going into a gap in a neighbours roof.
A Cormorant circling very high like a raptor
The Blue Tit pair still visiting the nest box but less regularly than last week.
The occasional pair of Mallard over but 4 this evening.
2 Canada Geese over

Best of all 3 Pipistrelle bats this evening flying around together. Only ever seen the odd one before.

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2 Canada Geese over
A few Lesser Black-backed Gull and Black headed Gulls spiralling on thermals high up.
The regular daily Sparrowhawk over.
Goldfinch over.
The singing Starling today mimicking Buzzard, Duck quacks and what sounded like a police car siren!!!

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Todays highlights:

The Sparrowhawk made a dash over the garden this afternoon.
Goldcrest singing in neighbouring conifer tree
2 Goldfinch flew over
The Blue Tit pair still bringing nest material to the box
A pair of Mallard flew over
The usual mimicking Starling today sounding like a Herring Gull and a few duck quacks thrown in for good measure. Thats at least 6 different species calls Ive picked out.
The local House Sparrows were busy feeding and gathering nest material.
A pair of Feral Pigeons have arrived on the neighbours rooftops.

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Raptors were the main highlight from today:
9 Buzzards and a Sparrowhawk were all kettling together around midday over the garden.
Another Buzzard flew over later on.
The Sparrowhawk also flew over again mid afternoon.
Best of all a Peregrine spent a couple of minutes soaring overhead early afternoon
The Blue Tit pair continue to bring nest material to the box including feathers.
House Sparrows, Blackbirds and Woodpigeon were also very active.

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There was a hive of activity early on with a flock of about 14 House Sparrows feeding and dust-bathing in the soil.
4 Woodpigeon including the recent almost fully grown youngster that is just starting to get a few white feathers on its neck on one side and still pestering its parents for food but without much success.
Numerous Starlings look good in their breeding plumage. One bird on the fat ball feeder.
A Goldfinch- feeding on the ground- usually only seen as fly-overs
A Wren drinking from a gutter on the garage roof.
The Blue Tit pair with nest material
Sparrowhawk seen twice- once soaring and the second hunting causing panic.
A Lesser Black-backed Gull with a damaged dangling leg
A Grey Heron
Blackbirds having territorial squabbles
Goldcrest heard singing from neighbours conifers.


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Today's observations:

I thought I heard the twittering of a Swallow flying over - then realised it was the Starling mimicking again !
2 Canada Geese over
1 Sparrowhawk circled again
3 Goldfinch
A pair of Woodpigeon displaying
6 House Sparrows
The usual Blue Tit pair back and forth to the nest box and chasing away the Sparrows
1 Buzzard
a couple of Blackbirds

Other wildlife:
Main highlight was a Holly Blue butterfly
1 Orange Tip - male
1 Large White
a few Small Tortoishells and Peacocks

-- Edited by Steven Nelson on Wednesday 8th of April 2020 10:51:39 PM

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A wander into the garden last night to have a look a the super moon I could hear some ducks flying over. They sounded like probably Mallard.

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Some good sightings today:

A Rook flew really low over the back garden today. No doubt one of yesterdays birds.
As did a Carrion Crow later on.
A Sparrowhawk was seen 4 times. Twice soaring high and mobbed by A group of Starlings and twice making a hunting dash through next doors garden causing panic amongst the Starlings.
4 Buzzard over
3 Starlings singing. The usual one today mimicking the quacking of a Mallard! - now the 5th species Ive heard it mimick!
1 Wren showed nicely on the fence.
The Blue Tit pair regularly making visits to the nest box again.
Small group of House Sparrows coming and going.
Singing Woodpigeon

Other wildlife:
1 White butterfly sp
Peacock
Small Tortoishell

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....Also 2 Rook on a neighbours roof. Quite unusual around here. This is a first record for the seen from the garden/house list.

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6 Buzzard over today - 4 together then 2 together together soaring and mewing
A Magpie made two visits
Blue Tit back and too to the nest box
Singing Starling
A few House Sparrows

Also a queen wasp

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Highlights today:

1 Linnet over - garden first
One of the Blue Tit pair (presumably the male) making regular trips every couple of minutes to the nest box for much of the day with food presumably for the female which hopefully is incubating eggs. Both birds were seen on the fat feeder later in the afternoon.
Goldfinch singing from the TV aerial.
Singing Starling mimicking a Buzzard today.
Collard Dove pair

Other wildlife:
An interesting black and yellow Ichneumonid wasp sp. on the patio door. Apparently a few similar species and I couldnt be more species specific.
The frogspawn in the pond hatched a few days ago so we now have hundreds of mini tadpoles.

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The usual singing Starling today mimicking a Kestrel!

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Some of todays sightings

The young Woodpigeon again with its parent and this time being fed by it after constant begging.
2 Buzzard circling overhead.
The regular pair of Blue Tits chasing away the Houses Sparrows.
2 male Blackbirds in a territorial dispute.
2 Herring Gulls calling overhead this morning.
A small group of Starling flying around.



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Ive just realised I havent given a description of my garden so here goes. It is a medium sized, triangular shaped suburban garden with a lawn and a few ornamental shrubs and a plum tree. There are houses to the rear and to the side. Some neighbouring gardens have some mature trees that attract a few birds as well as a couple of Grey Squirrels which make regular visits. . My garden has a small fish pond with a waterfall which is regularly used by birds for bathing and drinking. The pond also has a few frogs and we get frogspawn each spring. I have a few feeders of suet balls, sunflower seeds, mixed seed and peanuts in the plum tree. There are two nest boxes. One in the plum tree that has been used by Blue Tits for the last five consecutive years. The other one is on a fence and doesnt get used. It probably needs moving to a better place. Irlam Moss is less than 10 mins walk away meaning flyover birds are often seen heading to or from the Mosses. A 10 minute walk the opposite way gets me to Princess Park and the Manchester Ship Canal.

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Todays highlights:

The young (almost full grown) Woodpigeon was with a parent on the lawn and pestering it for food. The adult kept turning its back on the youngster.
Pair of Collared Doves foraging under the feeders.
2 Herring Gulls calling overhead

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Highlights from today:

A young fully grown Woodpigeon visited today plus 3 adults.
The usual singing Starling was today pretending to be a Herring Gull. Maybe it was inspired by the two Herring Gulls that flew over this afternoon. My bet is this Starling spent the winter at the coast.
The Blue Tit pair were regular as were a few Blackbirds
5 House Sparrows on the feeders this morning much to the fury of the Blue Tits that kept chasing them off! Theyre pretty fiesty for such small birds.

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The main highlights today were:
2 Buzzard over
3 Goldfinch over
1 Magpie
The pair Blue Tits but not seen to visit the nest box today.
Pair of Blackbirds



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Pretty quiet in the garden today. The main highlight was a Cormorant that flew over and a few minutes later it or another flew back the opposite way again.

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Todays highlights:

1 Cormorant over
1 Buzzard over
Blue Tits again sussing out the nest box
Starling singing again but couldnt pick out any other mimicked bird calls today.
Wood Pigeon and Collard Dove in a turf war of who gets the right to sing from the TV aerial. The Collard Dove was happily singing away when the Wood Pigeon flew in a sat right next to the Dove. The Dove continued to sing until the Pigeon shuffled along towards the Dove using its larger size to intimidate. The Dove flew off and then the Pigeon began to sing from the same spot.

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Today sightings

1 Sparrowhawk soaring high
Pair of Collard Dove
The pair of frisky Wood Pigeons again
Pair of Blue Tits again making visits to the nest box
Blackbird foraging where I had been doing some digging earlier
Goldfinch over
Starling again singing from TV aerial- today mimicking Oystercatcher and Buzzard! Its giving me another idea for a list!!

Butterflies:
Brimstone again
Peacock
Small Tortoishell

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....oh and my first Brimstone of the year.
Plus 3 Small Tortoishell

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Sightings from today:

1 Sparrowhawk in display flight and over the garden.
1 Buzzard came in quite low then went higher a circled around mewing.
Singing Starling from a rooftop doing a cracking job of mimicking a Curlew!
Pair of Blue Tits making regular visits and prospecting the next box.
Pair of Woodpigeons getting very intimate on the fence!



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