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Post Info TOPIC: Chris and Vicky Harper, Dukinfield (COVID 19 Garden Lockdown)


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RE: Chris and Vicky Harper, Dukinfield (COVID 19 Garden Lockdown)
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Work and other commitments has meant less time in the garden of late. However this morning Swift was by far the commonest bird seen from the bench. 

Blackcap continues to sing his heart out, Willow Warbler distant now. Many Goldfinch feeding today with male and female Blackbirds all day too. 

Goldcrest payed a visit too today. Heron, Canada Geese and Mallard flying over Dukinfield. 

Jay right over the garden on Wednesday. 

Lockdown list finished at 53 then. 

Unless we have a second spike.



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Swifts right over the house first thing and this afternoon. Apart from that, a quiet cool and windy day.

Did have a new butterfly yesterday which I forget to mention in the shape of a female Green Veined White. 11 species now.



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First new addition in a couple of weeks with a Tufted Duck finally nailed on number 2 reservoir at Audenshaw before the haze set in. 53 for the garden now.

Many lesser Black Backed Gull were in the air this morning too, with 7 Swifts gaining height fast.

Highlight for me was the Starlings playing 'bash a rat' seemingly popping up in the air stealing insects one by one in random order. Must have involved about 6-10 birds in total.

A Swallow flew fast North, a single House Martin was around bottom Dukinfield, and a Peregrine was active.

Main song now coming ftom the Goldcrest, Blackcap and Robin



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Another quiet one, but Goldcrest still vocal, and the first Nuthatch for 3 weeks. Swifts still flying around early on, with the Blackcap song for company. 

Had two similar experiences to other bloggers today:

First was watching a male House Sparrow doing an excellent impression of a Spotted Flycatcher from next doors tree,

Second was watching 3 balloons drift over Guide Bridge mill all tied together. One red, one white, one blue.

A VE day release no doibt



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A quietish day but still great to see some lovely birds including:

Peregrine and Sparrowhawk over
Swift in good numbers
Also singing on and off Goldcrest and Willow Warbler

Out of interest we set up the camera trap near the garden pond. Some images Ive included below.

-- Edited by Vicky Harper on Thursday 7th of May 2020 07:55:58 PM

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House Martin over this morning, with up to 6 Swift flying around.

A few hours sorting the front garden produced a flyover Peregrine, Greenfinch singing (wheezing) for a good 40 minutes, Canada Goose and many Lesser Black Backed Gulls.

Chiffchaff seems more vocal currently. Willow Warbler and Blackcap now singing less frequently. 

 



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Not too much time to be in the garden today, but the brute of a female Sparrowhawk went through at 4pm freaking everything out.

Attached a picture of the front garden Cuckoo Flower 



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A couple of Pipistrelle Bats flying around last evening was nice to see.

Up early...ish for dawn chorus day. Blackcap was dominating all, with Dunnock and Blackbird the main rivals. 

7 Swift were over Dukinfield on and off most of the morning, with aerial mating seen. 4 Sand Martin flew low over the garden coming up from the Tame.

2 Great Crested Grebe could be seen on number 2 reservoir at Audenshaw with excellent light this morning. Unfortunately water too low to see into numbers 1 and 3.

House Sparrow investigating an older nest box with them having established a great dust bathing area under the conifer. 

Wood Pigeon getting twigs off next doors Damson tree and flying off.

Mid morning a Peregrine flew strongly over Stalybridge, a Cormorant was over the M60, and 3 Swallow bickered over.

After tea an hour gave a lot more Swift sightings, a few House Martin joining them, and best of all a female Sparrowhawk almost hit my head as I was refilling the seeds. I could feel the air from it's wake....brill.

In the front garden it's nice to see Cuckoo Flower in the un mown bits.

Fox, Badger, Wood Mouse and Squirrel continue to entertain us from the trail cam footage. Along with too many cats...grrrr.

No new additions but a cracking day and first where all 4 aerial feeding migrants were seen.



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The Blackcap and Willow Warbler continue to sing away on and off all day. Bird of the day was a single Rook going back and forth giving great views as it flew low over the back garden.

Feeders very quiet at the minute, although Bullfinch pair there most mornings. 

Hedgehog poo near the hedgehog box.....here's hoping.



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Most of the day working, but did manage a grainy shot of the Wood Mouse at the feeding area last night. 



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A great hours scoping from the garden this morning. Nothing new to add to the list but highlights included:

4 Swift feeding high over Audenshaw
1 Peregrine flying over City Tower (Manchester)
1 Sparrow hawk
Buzzard being mobbed by crows over Ashton area
1 Swallow flew over the house at 14:00



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A quiet hazy day today, but still we have the Willow Warbler and Blackcap singing away. The Fox and Badger continue to sneak around in the night. 

Goldcrest was also singing today for the first time in a while.

Heron, Mallards and Canada Geese flying around as usual.

No raptors today....so far.



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Had a lucky break this morning as I followed a Little Egret flying west towards Audenshaw reservoir at 08.45 today.

Garden lockdown list now up to 52.

2 Sand Martin flew low over the house at 15:00. Other than that a pretty quiet day.

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Another relatively quiet day but the Willow Warbler continues to flit around the top of the garden calling on and off all day which remains a delight.

A couple of Grey Heron and a Cormorant were flying over Stalybridge this morning. 

Also snuck a picture of  Comma on a duck.



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Saved the garden birdwatching for this afternoon. Big mistake.

Moorland fires smoked out the view for a lot of the day. Second picture shows bank of smoke over South and East Manchester. 

Managed a good image of the Speckled Wood before the ash rained down though. 



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Most of the day in the garden today and was well rewarded.

Camera trap revealed mammal number 6 in the shape of a well fed Hedgehog. Chuffed with this target species. Lets hope it finds the newly made house. Pic attached. 

Early birding caught the worm too. A couple of Linnet flew over the front garden making species number 50 for the lockdown list. A scan from the very top of the garden revealed a Peregrine plucking prey on the top of our nearest mill chimney.

All this to the sounds of Blackcap , Willow Warbler  and a vocal Blackbird. See pic with Tameside College behind it.

House Sparrow collecting feathers and taking to it's nesting spot a few doors down. Us next year?

Best was yet to come as at 10.10 our first Common Swift of the year flew strongly North, followed by another at 11.45 and a third at 12.15. So 51 species and a new bird for the year.

3 Speckled Wood was a new butterfly too this afternoon. 

Overall a cracking lockdown day.



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That's not good David. Sorry to hear that. 

Today was so quiet compared to yesterday. 

Highlights were the Coal Tit's feeding around the chimney and a Grey Heron flying through the sunshine over Audenshaw. 



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Chris Harper wrote:

The bad news is the camera trap caught the fox sneaking past with a Blackbird in it's mouth....grrrr.





Had you set up your camera trap a mile or so to the north east, in my garden, you would have been treated to the sight of Reynard wandering past with four headless chickens! The lawn looked like someone had emptied out a duvet onto it this morning.....grrrr indeed.

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Great start this morning with a Raven over at 9am.

At 10 a Swallow went right across the roof heading North  followed straight away by the Willow Warbler flying into the tree behind me and the bench. A Common Buzzard then flew over 2 doors down. Camera rushed shot attached. 

Best, however was this afternoon at  3.15. Looking up the back garden instead of over towards Manchester as usual we saw a different bird over Gorse Hall. Quickly put down our tea and lifted the bins to see a Curlew flying North. It even called once too.

We are only a mile from Hobson Moor but never had one as a flyover before. So a Covid and garden tick to boot.

49 species now. 

The bad news is the camera trap caught the fox sneaking past with a Blackbird in it's mouth....grrrr.



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Hope not David. Plenty of food here in Duky.

Small White was a new butterfly for the lockdown list today. 

No new birds again but a nice Peregrine vs Feral Pigeon battle across Tameside this afternoon. Pigeon won.

Two Common Buzzard towards Ashton Moss. 

Chiffchaff singing for first time in a while and both Willow Warbler and Blackcap very vocal. 



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Chris Harper wrote:

2 passing Mistle Thrush were the best birds this afternoon. Distant Peregrine over Manchester again.

Picture of last night's fox...well 6am.





I woke up to a headless hen this morning. At a mile and a half away, this fella probably not responsible?

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2 passing Mistle Thrush were the best birds this afternoon. Distant Peregrine over Manchester again.

Picture of last night's fox...well 6am.



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Male Tawny Owl called last night at 20.45.

Overnight camera trap revealed mammal number 5 of lockdown in the shape of a fox. Try and grab a picture off it later.

Lesser Black Backed Gull landed on the roof this morning and both Willow Warbler and Blackcap calling. Other than that pretty quiet. 



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Badger again at 2 and 5am this morning enjoying the peanut butter. 

Goldcrest on 2 occasions today and 3 Sand Martin over early this morning. 

Long Tailed Tit pair getting bold now. Feeding just behind me as I scope...see photo.



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Really busy day today. Nice surprise this morning was a Badger on our camera trap. Only the second night of using it so chuffed. Photo attached. 4 mammals now.

No new additions to the list birdwise but some great activity.

Greenfinch was displaying over the conifers. Coal Tit continues to bring nesting material into the wall. 

A House Martin was over the garden low heading North at 16.30, closely followed by a Swallow.

A Rook flew low over towards Stalybridge, and a Herring Gull too.

Both Willow Warbler and Blackcap were in the garden this afternoon, and the Wren belting it out from the top of the Sycamore.

A distant Sparrowhawk went into full hunting mode near Audenshaw. The second pair of Magpie's continue their building  (picture with Audenshaw reservoirs in background)

Great afternoon for butterflies too with lots of Holly Blue, a Large White and female Orange Tip added to the list.



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No new additions today but nice to see three Buzzard in the air at one time over Guide Bridge. Two were displaying with talon locking. A new addition to our butterfly list was an Orange Tip.

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Managed a scoped shot of one of the local  Magpie's on lookout from near nest site. At least 2 sites viewable from the bench. 



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The probable swallow from a few days ago turned into a definite today with one flying past the front of our house. Taking the new lockdown total to 47 species. Also seen was a Buzzard circling in the direction of Manchester City centre. The Willow Warbler was singing in the trees in front of our house and Blackcap singing over the back garden.

-- Edited by Vicky Harper on Tuesday 14th of April 2020 07:42:54 PM

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Very quiet today. Blackcap singing away this morning and many Lesser Black Backed Gull flying past. 

Back to the Winter coat 



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Birds of note from today. 2 House Martin and 2 Goosander flying over Audenshaw at 9.35. Blackcap and Willow Warbler heard at regular intervals throughout the day. Apart from that a quiet day.

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Below is the best I could manage of the Coal Tit at the nest site. I love how the plumage blends with the wall.



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Apologies for the sideways photo yesterday. It shows the fire pit lighting up the garden.

Had 3 sessions scoping today. This morning tracked a House Martin flying across Tameside and was delighted to see 3 back in Dukinfield this afternoon.  Unfortunately can't see their nest from the garden.

This afternoon saw very little with the haze.

This evening from 7-7.45 was good. A single Goosander flew into Audenshaw, where 100+ Gulls were circling. 4 Canada Geese and a Cormorant flew near it too.

Tracked a Sparrowhawk fly over the house towards Guide Bridge. A Hirundine and Starlings mobbed it. Couldn't quite make it out but a possible Swallow. 

Lockdown list now 46 with 2 possibles.



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Enjoyed a fire pit Friday evening which bought our 3rd mammal species of the lockdown in the form of 2 Pipistrelle Bats. First time this year and pretty sure they nest in the roof space but hoping for more with the bat boxes.

Meteorite towards Oldham at 21.00 was very bright.



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Again no new additions to the list, but found the Coal Tit's nest in a gap in the wall. Regularly in and out this morning. 

Blackcap and Willow Warbler both singing away on and off all day. Willow Warbler in front garden for 5 minutes which is a first. 

Pond becoming increasingly used for drinking in the evening. 

Sparrowhawk over Ashton



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No new additions to the lockdown list today but was still great to hear the local Willow Warbler singing away this afternoon. 

Common Buzzard was also scoped catching a thermal near Ashton Moss and drifted over the Etihad.

Coal Tits appear to be nesting.

Main task was paving under the scoping bench. See pic.



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A nice surprise this morning as I was scoping was a Blackcap in the garden and a Willow Warbler singing just over the garden fence. Also had the Mistle Thrush singing away again.

Our lockdown list now up to 44 species.

-- Edited by Vicky Harper on Wednesday 8th of April 2020 08:00:48 PM

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Looking over Stalybridge/Dukinfield from the front garden just can't quite see Bayley Street where the Sand Martin are, however looking today have realised we can see them if they fly high up.

This they were doing this morning, taking the lockdown list to the meaning of life..42.

Otherwise a quite day in the garden, probably as we were out planting a lot.



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No new additions today but 3 Greenfinch on the feeders was the first since we moved them, including a male looking stunning in the sun.

Female Kestrel again over towards the golf club. 



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Up early this morning for a walk along the Tame. It was great to hear then see a Mistle Thrush in the garden. Had flyover before but not in the trees.

A session on the bench this afternoon gave great views of a female Kestrel from above gliding over heading towards Dukinfield golf course.

Very little this evening but have realised I can see Winter Hill TV mast, which I'll look at more from now on. 

41 species now. 



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Great day for the lockdown list now we have our bench up and can scope across East Manchester. 

Had a Common Gull flying near Audenshaw, and whilst looking at the town centre for the Peregrine Falcon 2 Cormorant flew past. On number 2 reservoir 2 birds were close to each other, diving and coming together so I'm putting them as Great Crested Grebes displaying. Feel free to put me right.

A look from 7 tonight produced a Peregrine flying towards the Arndale tower and when I had nipped in Vicky had a possible Osprey flying over Oldham.

So up to 39 species with 1 possible.

Getting a little addictive.



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Thought we may of heard a Scoter at 10pm last night but because it wasn't overhead I'm not counting it. Could have been a distant dog yap.

2 Rooks flying low towards Ashton bought the list to 35

Used telescope for 1st time in the back garden. Nothing new but has potential....see photos. View towards Manchester and the middle of Audenshaw reservoirs.

Grey Heron came into close neighbours garden today. Hoping it lands near for a picture. Great Tit checking out the Sparrow terrace was nice.

Vicky managed a couple of the more common visitors and one of the hedge where the Owl was yesterday evening. 

 



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Attempted a Scoter listen last night without success at 10pm. Hats off to those that lasted more than 5 minutes. Patience and layers next time.

2 Sparrowhawks today was the highlight until half an hour ago when a Tawny Owl flew across the back of the garden towards the tall conifer hedge.

Heard it call around New Year but this is the first sighting.

Up to 34 species.

Might try to scope Audenshaw tomorrow see if anything is viewable. Prepare for a dodgy digiscoped image. 



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Feeders getting busier slowly but surely again after their new positions.

Only addition to the lockdown list today was a Jay over the back fence in Gorse Hall grounds. Have had them in the garden before but rarely. 

Up to 33 now.



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Feeders now up and running again. A new bird for the list was a vocal Nuthatch, which we usually see most of the Winter, but this is the first time for a few weeks.

2 Mallard flying around Stalybridge were seen from the front garden taking the list to 32.

Put 2 bat boxes up as well so fingers crossed 



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Song Thrush and Chiffchaff singing away this morning but highlight was a Common Buzzard drifting low East being mobbed by the local racing pigeon flock. 

Our 30th lockdown species 

Deep clean of all feeders and stations today so some of our regulars looking lost. Changing their positions tomorrow which we're looking forward to. Little things....



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Managed a quick snap of a Goldfinch in the garden today collecting nesting material.

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Just a single edition to the list today in the firm of a close fly by Herring Gull. Now 29 species. 

However a Wood Mouse under the feeders was a nice mammal lockdown tick. Up to 2 now after an earlier Grey Squirrel.  



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Great morning so far. Goldcrest and Greenfinch in the garden.

Flyover Lesser Black Backed Gull and Heron

Front garden views of Collared Dove and Starling

Up to 28 now 

Pic of the Greenfinch on Nyger attached 



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Added Wren, Chiffchaff, Chaffinch (gorgeous male) and House Sparrow to garden list this morning. And flyover Canada Geese, Sparrowhawk and Feral Pigeons. 

So 22 now

Two piccies of the garden (back and front) attached.



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Our house is in 'top Ducky' with a smashing view across Manchester from the front, and the back leads into Gorse Hall. 

It's quite steep with a small pond near the top.

Tidy in places but messy in others.

Feeders busy today with 3 Bullfinch, 3 Long Tailed Tit, Coal Tits and a Song Thrush underneath being the best.

List for thus week is 15 so far



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