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Post Info TOPIC: Tony Koziol, Stockport (Covid-19 Garden lockdown)


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RE: Tony Koziol, Stockport (Covid-19 Garden lockdown)
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Bird number 26 appeared at last today in the form of a Feral Pigeon, now before lockdown at least four were in the garden almost every single day and then when you want them to make up the numbers they disappear, this one was better late than never.

Up to six Swifts have been regulars over last two weeks.



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After being spoilt by the Spoonbills and Avocets yesterday at Audenshaw it was back to garden bird entertainment this afternoon.

There have been no new lockdown birds however lots of the regulars, House Sparrows and their youngsters are increasing each day, Blue Tits have also been active  and a Coal Tit has been collecting food and flying off then returning almost straight away so likely there is a nest close by. After a short absence one Dunnock is back but only the one.

An interesting observation already mentioned elsewhere on the forum has been House Sparrows climbing up the brickwork and taking insects, in our case they climb/cling to the garage wall, eight is the most we have seen do this. My suspicion is that they were taking grit, we have observed them doing this over the years and we now leave grit sand out for them which they visit fairly regular.

We also have a male Blackbird which thinks he is a Hummingbird! He takes off almost vertically to reach a suet block and literally hovers for a split second before pecking at the block. He performs this several times before he gets tired, ten efforts on the trot is the most witnessed and he will do this most days or he did as we have now run out of the blocks and fat balls can't entice him to perform the same action.



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No sign of the novelty pheasant today, it obviously took offence at being given a title unbefitting to its noble status.   



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Today we have had the first two juvenile Starlings arrive, being fed by adults as well as foraging and watering on their own.

The novelty Pheasant is still here.



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First juvenile Carrion Crow was around this afternoon. House Sparrows with young again.

Lady Amherst's Pheasant still here from 14.00 until 19.30.

20 Wood Pigeons took flight at about 20.01



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A very interesting day in more ways than one.  Firstly, we can now move around a little bit more and visit some of our favourite sites.

Secondly, from around 11 am we had a very unusual visitor to the garden in the form of a juvenile, male Lady Amherst's Pheasant.  We are not aware of any bird collections in the immediate area.  The bird was still here until 7.40 pm then it suddenly made a short flight.  We are not sure where it has gone.  It is good to know that it can fly as we have a resident fox and numerous cats that visit the garden so it's survival through the night was not guaranteed.  

It fed around the garden for a long time and visited next doors garden.  A very unusual but welcome addition to the lockdown list.

 



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A brilliant juvenile Blackbird this afternoon along with young House Sparrows feeding and watering on this windy day, otherwise not much happening.

Yesterday we found two Lesser Black-backed Gulls around the corner looking as though they were planning to nest on the chimney stack of a local house, will check on them tomorrow.



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No new birds to report but some nice observations, a male Blackbird has almost taken over the bird bath with water being splashed all over the paving.

The two young Robins are still being fed by an adult and one young House Sparrow has now joined the flock being fed by its mum !

Regarding House Sparrows a pair have been taking flies above an ornamental plum tree and they are totally adept feeding on the wing magnificent to watch today for nearly two hours on and off.

Finally Swift numbers rose to four today with the most welcome screeching and screaming breaking the eerie silence, even my non birding neighbour commented on the noise.

 



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Well at last number 25 in the form of a super Swift over the garden and circling around albeit for just a minute or two before disappearing NW this evening. A couple of years ago a pair tried to nest at a house just 100 yards away but I suspected foul play by the homeowner made them move on.

The young Robins were here again being fed by an adult.

 



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There are no new birds to report but we have had two juvenile Robins turn up this evening with an adult close by.

A female Sparrowhawk came through and disrupted things which went quiet for a few minutes on the feeders.

The vixen visits every evening but no evidence of cubs.



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At last some new lockdown birds to report albeit late;

Friday afternoon, number 23 a Starling was collecting redworms from the lawn.

On Saturday number 24 when three Mallards flew over NE.

House Sparrows still remain the main visitors.

A Large White and Speckled Wood butterflies have been added to the list which now stands at 5.

The fox continues to visit every night looking for scraps probably not long before some cubs appear.



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House Sparrow numbers up to 20 in the last few days and a lone Collared Dove continues to visit the garden plus our usuals.

The fox comes right down towards the patio just twenty foot from sofa, this is now becoming a regular event.

A species of mining bee is burrowing into the lawn both the fox and Magpies  are taking an interest in the holes made.

Today a new butterfly came into the garden and almost flew into us, a most welcome Speckled Wood.

No new birds so still at 22.

Whilst working at a local garden last week a Robin found a small caterpillar on my trousers ran up and picked it off just above my boot. Later in the day I came across a sleeping Hedgehog a very eventful day, not bad being a gardener.



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Lockdown number stuck on 22. Not a lot happening out of the ordinary, House Sparrows active, Blackbirds were using the bird bath yesterday. A Robin has been using the garden chairs to sit on.

At 13.10 today a fox turned up briefly.

A while later a positive ID of a Holly Blue as it rested on a Camellia leaf.

 

 



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House Sparrows active most of the afternoon, visiting the feeders on a regular basis.

Most of the observation however has been directed towards two Coal Tits that have been almost non stop since 17.00 on the feeders, they have really put in a real shift.

It is noticeable that the main feed being consumed is seed based along with mealworms, fat balls and suet blocks remain untouched as do the apples.

Butterflies have absent today and who can blame them in that cold NE wind.



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Over the last couple of days nothing new on the bird front. Our usual visitors but in lesser numbers.

Butterflies have been fluttering through but never resting, male Orange-tip then a possible female or Small White.

Yesterday either a Common Blue or Holly Blue came through.

A single Red Lily Beetle which although looks very nice I would prefer if it feasted elsewhere.



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Thursday 9th:

A good start with the female Sparrowhawk flying low over the hawthorn hedge left to right at 08.15.

Rest of the afternoon nothing new to report.

In the evening the pipistrelles turned up along with the fox.

Friday 10th;

A quiet day all in all until mid afternoon when a Lesser Black Backed Gull flew over making number 22.

An hour later a pristine Collared Dove was feeding on the lawn under the feeders.

Pipistrelles made usual appearance.

For tomorrow can't find justification for a long walk to Hazel Grove looking for a Green Hairstreak but working down there on Mondaybiggrin



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A good start this morning with bird 21 of lockdown  in the form of two Canada Geese over at 08.00 and that was the end of that.

The Grey Heron was around again.

Cath saw a Buzzard being harassed by a couple of crows when she went for a stroll at 19.30 around the block but not observed from the garden or house so we didn't count it.

Fox appeared again at 19.45 doing its garden round.



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Same as yesterday here, no new birds. Our usual visitors keeping us entertained though.

Heron flew over twice this morning was which much appreciated. Its flight looks so prehistoric, Pterodactyl springs to mind.

Peacock and comma butterflies active around the garden.

A fox turned up at around 18.00, a little early  but nice to see it in better light conditions as its normally just before dark when it shows up.

Two pipistrelles  above the leylandii then disappeared.



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Another very quiet day.  No new species to record.  Visitors today:  House Sparrows, 2 Blue Tits, 2 Coal Tits, 3 Blackbirds, 5 Wood Pigeon, 4 Magpies and a single Robin.  

A check on the compost heap produced 3 common frogs.  Two of them were the usual olive green colour with dark markings and the other was an orangey red colour with dark markings.  Being aware that there are colour variations, it was nonetheless a pleasant surprise to find this one.  I had heard of others being almost black although i have never witnessed this myself.



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No new birds in the garden today however we knew we would bottom out at around 20 which is where we are at. One bird we can depend on though is the Feral Pigeon not sure where they are though as not one has turned up yet.

A lone Peacock butterfly was around for an hour or so, always welcome.



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Another quiet day in the garden however bird number 20 turned up in the form of two Starlings which are not uncommon but not until after fledging.

Usual species around with House Sparrow 10, 2 Goldfinch, 4 Blackbird, 2 Blue Tit, Dunnock, 4 Magpie and 6 Wood Pigeon.

One squirrel disturbed  proceedings this morning by tipping a feeder over.

Early evening a Pipistrelle  was active will we sat out reflecting on our cancelled trip to the Highlands but at least we have our health.

Tomorrow we plan to walk and see the returning Sand Martins down at Heaton Mersey and I might even hear a Chiffchaff!



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The longest time all week I have spent at home for the net result of one Herring Gull at 19.22 for bird 19 of lockdown.

Tried last night for the Common Scoter but my tinnitus is so frustrating.

What did happen yesterday was that just after 20.00 the whole Wood Pigeon roost took off when our road starting the NHS clap.



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No new birds to report today so as predicted our numbers are bottoming out until the hirundines return.

The House Sparrows have returned for some reason with c20 using the feeders. No sign of Goldfinch.

 



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The morning started very well with a drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker somewhere in front of the house across the road.

This afternoon lock down bird number 18 in the form of a Carrion Crow was struggling to balance itself in the top of the Silver Birch at the bottom of the garden.  

The four Goldfinch continued to show. 

As we sit here typing a fox is looking in through the window.

 



-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Wednesday 1st of April 2020 07:59:35 PM

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Work today was in north Manchester.  Not much sited apart from some very noisy starlings.  One particular bird gathering nesting material and making it's way under a customer's ridge tiles.  

Lunchtime we sat watching the feeders and totally out of the blue lock down bird no 17 turned up in the form of a very plump nuthatch which stayed around for about 5 mins before flying off.  No further sitings of the bird through the day.  A rare visitor to the garden but in the last week, this is the third siting. 

The goldfinch were very active flying around the garden.  I initially thought there were 3 birds and then a 4th appeared all of which were spending a lot of time in the silver birch.  Very pleasant to see as again they are not too common in our garden.  

Fairly quiet for the rest of the day with sitings of the usuals and then again, at around 6 pm, the grey heron flew over this time from the back of the house maybe heading towards the river Mersey.  

Some thoughts turned to the blackcaps that we've had over the years, in particular 2018/19 winter's male which seemed to feed exclusively on mealworms whilst this winter's female preferred initially fat balls, then moved onto a suet block.  I was just curious whether this is typical.  However, photos have appeared with blackcaps feeding on apples.  Is it a case that they would feed on whatever is available and the easiest to obtain?

 



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After ending on the high of the Sparrowhawk yesterday not a lot of expectation existed.

Work took me to Marple, why didn't I call in at Etherow a few weeks ago for the Marsh Tit? That would have been a new GM sighting, ah well.

Afternoon saw me again working in our garden.  All was very quiet apart from the wood pigeon, magpie, jackdaw, house sparrows and usual tit species.  After finishing work in the garden I sat down looking out of the window and bird number 15 appeared - a lovely dunnock foraging under the feeders at around 3 pm. 

A few hours later at around about 6 pm, flying over from the front of the house to the back, a large silhouette appeared.  The unmistakable shape of a descending grey heron appearing to be landing in the far neighbours garden.  We were unaware that there was a pond there.  This may need a little investigation.  This gave us bird number 16.

All in all, today seemed to be a very quiet day.  



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The wind from the NE still with us today so still chilly. Travelling to work this morning a Ring Necked Parakeet flew over near to the garden I was working at just down the road from home.

Once home the stars from yesterday the Goldfinch actually dropped onto the feeders and in total three of them entertained us, one in particular was gathering nesting material from around the garage guttering, possibly old webs.

Early afternoon meant work on our garden and a new lockdown bird (13) a Robin  turned up whilst Cath worked at the top end.

Thinking that this was it for the day at around 17.45 I saw a brown shape near the top of the hawthorn hedge and then it came into full view a female Sparrowhawk giving us number 14. She then proceeded to harass a couple of House Sparrow in the hedge one of them flew out, she followed as quick as a flash,only to reappear several seconds later, unsuccessful for her ! Undeterred she danced and manoeuvered herself on the hedge to try and flush the remaining House Sparrow however she was to fail again as our neighbour was walking down the garden and spooked her, so off she flew.

See what tomorrow brings as our garden numbers are almost bottoming out to somewhere between 15 and 20



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Omitted from yesterday two Comma butterflies.

No sign of the female Blackcap since Monday 23rd, this is about a week earlier than last year when they left us in April.

Much cooler today with a fresh breeze from the NE most of the day with the odd drop of rain.

Most House Sparrow seen today got to around 15

Species garden lockdown count now 12:

 Number 9, Collared Dove

10,  Goldfinch ( not a regular so nice to see two of them together several times during the afternoon)

11, Long Tailed Tit

12, Great Tit ( this is now the four tit species we have on a regular basis)

One frog disturbed in the compost heap.

2020 bird total for GM is 54, UK is 75

 



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Brief description of our garden 60 yards long x10 yards wide which is 70% lawn. The left hand side as we look from the sofa is a mature tight Hawthorn hedge whilst the right hand side is a 5 foot wooden fence. There is some bamboo and a 15 foot apple tree at the top end whilst a 55 foot Silver birch is in the top left hand corner of a neighbouring garden. We have a 20 foot cherry and a 30 foot Leylandii three quarters the way up the garden. We have a variety of shrubs and bushes namely Buddleia,Berberis,Camellia and Snowberry and there are lots of plants in the borders. The focal point is a Magnolia which is very close to the Hawthorn hedge which gives the birds great cover and security within the Magnolia there are numerous feeders sited.

An area is left "wild" this area is also used for composting which attracts hibernating frogs.

Over the years we have had Fox cubs playing on the lawn with adults being almost resident at times.

Five years ago we observed two Hedgehogs together sadly we have not seen any recently.

Butterflies and moths are often seen albeit the butterflies are easier to identify than the moths at the moment.  We have bats, in particular pipistrelles and noctules.

Over the years 50 or so species of birds have been sighted or heard. Suffering from tinnitus my hearing is poor for example the pting of  a Bearded Tit sounds like a bike changing gear !! Teecha techa of a Great Tit sounds nothing like that to me so Cath is my ears.

This is an overview of our wildlife facility.   

Our star visitor has to be the blackcap from December until the end of March.  They have visited the garden for the last 5 years.  This year the female has been seen almost on a daily basis.  Last year a male was the main visitor that was then joined briefly by another male and finally a female.  

Birds seen today: 

1.   House sparrow

2.   Blue tit

3.   Blackbird

4.   Wood pigeon

5.   Jackdaw

6.   Magpie

7.   Coal tit

8.   Nuthatch (today was the first time that 2 appeared)

 



-- Edited by Tony Koziol on Friday 27th of March 2020 05:47:56 PM

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