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Post Info TOPIC: David Broome, Tyldesley (Covid-19 Garden Lockdown)


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RE: David Broome, Tyldesley (Covid-19 Garden Lockdown)
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A vocal Bullfinch did a quick circuit of adjacent gardens and the brook this morning. A Moorhen was calling close by on Honksford Brook, unseen as ever in the deep channel. An Oustercatcher was calling and later 2 flew south together towards the mosses. A Song Thrush landed in the Sycamore for a short while.

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An Oystercatcher was calling in flight by the estate this morning and this evening. Food-gathering forays by locally-nesting Starlings are gaining pace. A flock of approx 20 adult were on grass by the brook this morning. One was searching our lawn. I presumed for leatherjackets, but saw it extract a large earthworm. A Song Thrush was singing this morning, a Dunnock sang in our hedge this evening and a Chiffchaff nearby. Two Swallow flew north this evening and a Rook dropped towards the churchyard with a bulging crop.

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4 Swallow went rapidly northwards this morning (two singles and two together), looking like they were actively moving through rather than local nesters. A female Kestrel was patrolling the brook and churchyard area. A Robin was in song just outside of the garden, a Song Thrush singing again early morning. A House Sparrow was nest-building in the roof of an adjacent house. This evening a Mistle Thrush flew in to the churchyard, the first Ive seen since early in lockdown.

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A Redpoll flew over today as we finished fence painting, giving song and flight calls as it went north - species 56.
Up to 4 Buzzard were visible in the air at any one time, with some stooping display taking place. The only birds in song this morning were a mobile Song Thrush, the first I have heard for a while, Dunnock and Wren. Goldfinch was singing in the afternoon. A Linnet went over and a Grey Wagtail. Single Swallows were seen twice this morning, both flying north. A Collared Dove alighted briefly in the garden.
In the Sycamore a Great Tit saw off Blue Tits several times when they landed in the tree. Small numbers of locally-breeding Starling were active. The max count of House Martin today was 6.
At least 2 Red Mason Bees were on the wall of the house again, one of which was sitting in an open wall plug. A White-Tailed Bumblebee queen was searching the borders. An Alder Leaf Beetle landed on the drying washing.

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Not much to report the past couple of days in between working. Nothing much heard or seen during jobs such as fence painting. A Kestrel mobbed a Buzzard during Thursday lunchtime. House Sparrows and Great Tits collecting nest material in the garden, including coarse wool, the Great Tits nest-building in a box on the nearby Sycamore. House Sparrows were happy taking their quota of grass seed and turning top soil, also dust-bathing in it when it was dry in the week. Evenings very quiet, song much reduced. Grey Heron over yesterday and 2 Canada Geese over tonight. While fence painting I eventually figured that a Bee-Eater type call was probably a young childs toy a couple of gardens away...

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A Swallow flew over today, species 55.
Five Buzzard were in the air at once to the east of here. At lunchtime a male Sparrowhawk was soaring high up, being mobbed by a Carrion Crow and their prolonged tussling was spectacular to watch.

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12 House Martin were feeding this evening. A Cormorant flew south and a Linnet went north. A total of 76 Black-Headed Gull were logged moving high north, the max two groups being of 21 and 28. An adult Lesser Black-Backed Gull went NW with an absolutely bulging crop.

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A Willow Warbler sang occasionally in gardens behind us this morning for about five minutes, moving north up the estate.

A few Red Mason Bees were around the back wall of the house just now.

-- Edited by dave broome on Tuesday 14th of April 2020 01:06:12 PM

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No new species heard or seen during jobs in the garden for most of the day. A Pied Wagtail over was the first for a while. Single Buzzard over at least three times, including one drifting slowly in to the wind, directly over the house, giving an awesome detailed view of the underside plumage. I only saw one House Martin, a single bird briefly early morning.

House Sparrows were extremely active all day, the hedgerow continuing the role of magnet and social centre for birds from all over the estate and the neighbouring one over the brook. Sparrows fly in well over the rooftops before plummeting down to the Hawthorns. A pair were mating on a rooftop next to where nest material had been taken in to the roof this morning.

Three Dunnock were displaying in the hedge. A pair of Great Tit collected wool from the garden. A Robin was taking food to young somewhere nearby.

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Hooded top definitely required for intermittent watches this morning in the cold NE wind. A Moorhen was calling nearby on Honksford Brook, a Grey Heron flew south, Linnet over, Dunnock and Wren in song and 2 Canada Geese on the move. House Sparrows were taking nest material in to a roof.

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Lesser Black-Backed Gull were present in the area pretty much all day, rather than just drifting over as they do normally. Up to 10 were vocal and dropping towards a potential nesting site.

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A Blackcap was singing early morning only in the Sycamore by the brook this morning, where a Grey Wagtail went back and forth a couple of times. A vocal Jay flew slowly over NW

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Highlights from Saturday 11th April included 4 Buzzards in the air. One bird indulged in a bout of fantastic rollercoaster display, stooping before sweeping back upwards. The other pair thermalled to a huge height. I always find it hard to estimate the height of birds in the sky. This pair were barely visible to the naked eye, such that I would never have noticed them if I didnt already know they were there. Trying to imagine at what distance on the ground they would almost disappear like that (if they had outstretched wings) it must be quite a few hundred metres? Any thoughts?
House Martin numbers were up to 11 feeding. A Pied Wagtail was the first over for a good few days.
In the evening 2 pairs of Stock Dove flew rapidly north within a few minutes of each other.
Late evening a Dunlin went over.

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It was fairly quiet today during work in the garden, a couple of Buzzards soaring and displaying. One was doing the soaring with both legs dangling thing, which always looks odd.
5 House Martin were over the estate. A total of 5 Meadow Pipit were heard moving north, 2 Linnet went over, a Grey Heron flew south and a Jay north over the garden was species 51 for lockdown from the garden. Probably only the third time in a year that Ive seen one here.

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Common Scoter went east over Parr Brow, Tyldesley last night at 9:33pm. I first heard the wingbeats of a duck species, sounding as though they were flying fairly low overhead, followed by calls a few seconds later of various volumes, as though either a large flock or flocks were passing

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4 House Martin were feeding over the estate at lunchtime and 2 Meadow Pipit went north. Other birds today were a Buzzard mobbed by Lesser Black-Backed Gulls and a pair of Long-Tailed Tit that moved along the hedgerow through the garden.

This evening 3 Linnet went low north together, a Chaffinch was singing out of sight near to the churchyard, just 8 Black-Headed Gull were logged flying north and 6 Lesser Black-Backed Gull NW.

A Magpie pair arrived in the Sycamore overlooking the occupied Magpie nest in a Hawthorn. One Magpie which was inside the nest came out to join its mate. When the resident pair flew up to the Sycamore together, one of the intruding pair moved close up to its mate, leaning in while making a quiet rhythmic prrrr call. After a short stand-off the intruders departed. The residents stayed in situ for about a minute then flew off themselves.

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Late Wednesday morning I could hear large gulls mobbing something, looking out it was 3 Buzzards circling over the street, with a Sparrowhawk above them. At lunchtime 2 Buzzards were circling and a female Sparrowhawk flew west.

In the evening 2 Canada Geese flew over again. A flock of 20 Meadow Pipit went low north, with at least 1 calling Linnet among them. A Grey Heron went south towards the mosses, a total of 42 Black-Headed Gull went north, 7 Lesser Black-Backed Gull went north-west, 2 House Martin were feeding and a Goldcrest was singing not far from the garden near the brook. Late evening 2 Tawny Owl were calling not far away


-- Edited by dave broome on Thursday 9th of April 2020 08:34:07 PM

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This morning what were presumably the same 2 Canada Geese went noisily back and forth a couple of times. A Meadow Pipit flew north, an adult Cormorant went north and a Pheasant called.

There was drama at the Magpie nest in the Hawthorn by the brook. A pair were in attendance, with one of them making a couple of forays. A second pair turned up, landing right by the nest. This didnt trigger as much racket as I would have expected. Instead all four birds were perched close together, facing each other, wings flicking, tails about ten degrees above horizontal, with a persistent and fairly quiet chattering call. A few short chases took place so that it was hard to tell which pair was which. After about five minutes one pair left briefly, before returning. After another stand-off of about a minute they flew off with the explosive rattling call, on to an adjacent roof, still calling loudly there before moving off. One bird was back in the nest by now, the one outside it wiped its bill on a branch as the other pair flew off, presumably displacement behaviour caused by the situation.

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Birds today have included Moorhen calling close to the house on Honksford Brook, thought I heard it yesterday. Regular last summer but absent over winter as far as I know. Species 48 for the garden lockdown list, only 10 of which have actually been seen down in the garden.
Other birds today were a Linnet over, Song Thrush singing this evening, from a few streets away, Chaffinch singing which I hadnt heard for a few days, 3 Mallard over and Kestrel. Late afternoon 2 different Buzzard went south, a female Sparrowhawk drifted very slowly south at a great height, with a male circling to the east. 2 House Martin were feeding this evening.
A pair of House Sparrow were methodically working their way through moss and lichen on a near horizontal branch of the Sycamore. I thought they might be collecting nest material, but they didnt appear to. A male ate a Hawthorn leaf bud in the hedge a couple of days ago.
Two Pipistrelle were feeding over the back gardens and hedgerow at dusk as the super moon rose above the rooftops.


-- Edited by dave broome on Tuesday 7th of April 2020 09:17:17 PM

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Tawny Owl calling behind the garden last night

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2 House Martin were feeding over our estate this morning, lockdown species number 46
Other sightings were 4 Meadow Pipit north
Linnet over
Chiffchaff singing in the Sycamore and ranging along the Honksford Brook corridor
1 Stock Dove low NW
A pair of Magpies were re-building a nest in a Hawthorn, one in the bottom of the nest while the other moved twigs from outside in to the nest

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On Friday evening 2 Pipistrelle were patrolling back and forth along the back gardens and hedgerow from around sunset
Saturday 4th Apr - a small amount of overnight rain had obviously left gutters with some water in them, which was attracting the attention of a succession of bathing House Sparrow and two Blackbirds, apparently paired. The male Blackbird picked up and threw a couple of large twigs from the gutter, presumably searching for prey items. It then tried unsuccessfully to dislodge a larger branch about twice its own length which was dislodged in the top of the downspout. Again presumably an attempt to search for critters beneath it rather than an an attempt to pull the plug out after it had finished bathing.
A Great Tit pair were around a nestbox on the Sycamore, where the male was singing. Later a Great Tit collected a huge clump of coarse wool packaging from a parcel, which I had draped in to the hedge (the wool, not the parcel). What looked like a female Great Tit, maybe the same bird that collected the wool, plucked a couple of strands of dry grass from the lawn. Three Dunnock were displaying in the hedge, wing-flicking and making a quiet, rhythmic call.
A Buzzard was mobbed by Jackdaws low over the rooftops and they also mobbed a passing Carrion Crow. A Coal Tit at the feeders was the first I have seen within the garden during lockdown. A Pheasant called from somewhere out over the fields.

-- Edited by dave broome on Sunday 5th of April 2020 09:33:12 AM

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30 minutes early morning produced 29 Meadow Pipit moving N/NNW and 3 W
1 Cornorant flew W
A pair of Sparrowhawk flew over and then returned the other way, pursued by a Pied Wagtail making a rasping, metallic version of the normal call
A pair of Mallard flew in to Honksford Brook
A Blue Tit was going for it with a stonking session of song in the hedge
Greenfinch still singing, as was a Dunnock in the hedge
A Carrion Crow flying south made a call which I could only describe as sounding like the bark of a small dog
12 Jackdaw over the churchyard
The final sighting of note was a vocal Oystercatcher circling the estate

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Listened last night from 20:40-21:50. No Scoters heard here in that time, the only identifiable sound being a Tufted Duck that called loud and clear overhead

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Reading a Tweet about Common Scoter moving over last night in Lancashire, I decided it was time for the pooch to go in to the back garden. I didnt hear any Common Scoter, but did have Barn Owl, Curlew and a surprise in the form of a Woodcock south over the garden

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On Tuesday 31st March a Kestrel was circling low over the Honksford Brook corridor, 1 Lapwing flew south and a Grey Heron headed towards Botany Bay Wood.

A Meadow Pipit flew north early this morning and a group of three went NNW this evening. Also this evening there was a movement of 131 Black-Headed Gull north in several vocal flocks and a Stock Dove flew north (the first definite one Ive seen from the garden, just a couple of probables with the naked eye previously). A group of 6 Mallard were flying around late afternoon.

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Highlights for Monday 30th were a total of three Grey Heron flying towards Botany Bay Wood early morning, a Collared Dove in display flight, Song Thrush in the Sycamore (only the second during lockdown) and 4 Greenfinch over, one of these or another was in bat-like display flight shortly afterwards

-- Edited by dave broome on Tuesday 31st of March 2020 10:00:10 AM

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A Collared Dove actually in the garden this morning was the first one I have seen down for a while, usually just seen as the occasional fly-over.
A Blue Tit flew down to some bare soil and pulled out dry vegetation of some kind from the ground, moss maybe. I thought it was gathering nest material, but it flew in to the hedge with it and pulled it apart on a branch, so presumably searching for food items? It flew back down to the soil, but as it searched the ground it was flushed by a Great Tit which flew down to the same spot, virtually landing on the Blue Tit before returning straight back to the feeders. The Blue Tit then went and methodically searched the surfaces of a Cherry tree, including the undersides of all branches. A Wren sang briefly in the hedge.

A new species in the garden for me was a Wood Mouse, feeding in a border.

Still surprised when the occasional plane goes over, usually at a great height. Using the free version of the Flight Radar app fills the curiosity of where they are headed to. One lower flight passed overhead and was due in Paris in 43 minutes, having flown from Los Angeles. Im surprised how far away flights are which are easily visible with the naked eye. One heading east on Friday was on the far side of the Peak District, almost to the north of Sheffield. One this morning out of the front of the house was over the centre of Liverpool, bound for Dublin from Doha.

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For the past couple of days a consistent flock of 14 Jackdaw have been taking flight in pairs from the churchyard, appearing noisily over rooftops. This afternoon a flock of 26 were over and around the churchyard briefly before flying off together towards farmland to the north.

A singing Chiffchaff alongside Honksford Brook this afternoon was a new species here this year. While I washed the cars at the front of the house a Buzzard was chased over the brook by a Carrion Crow, flying below roof height as they passed at about 50 metres, a stunning distraction from sponging the bodywork.

More gulls than the past few days were evident today, with several Herring Gulls as well as Lesser Black-Backed and Black-Headed Gulls.

A vocal Linnet flew low north over the garden early evening and a Grey Wagtail went over, the first Ive heard here since last weekend.


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I havent recorded any totally new species from the garden since the start of these COVID-19 blogs, but always interesting to see what is going on out there, as the birds carry on oblivious to events in our lives. House Sparrows are always the main attraction here, the hedge being their motorway through the estate. A flock of up to about 70 was present from late summer through the winter, with numbers dropping recently, presumably as birds have dispersed around our estate and an adjacent one over the brook. Up to around 35 have been present at any one time this week. There is always a lot of movement throughout the day, individual Sparrows dropping in to the hedge from height as they fly over the brook from a neighbouring estate.

A singing Greenfinch has been on regular flights all week. A species I still havent seen down in the garden despite being a regular fly-over.

A Dunnock has been in song along the hedge, occasionally from a roof-top or the Sycamore. There were two displaying in the hedge a couple of days ago.

A few Starlings feed in the garden, up to three present at a time. Regular fly-overs move around the estate and a flock of about 30 went east at dusk on evening this week.

Woodpigeon, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Robin and Blackbird are the other species to have fed in the garden this week. Fly-overs have included Ring-Necked Parakeet, Oystercatcher, Buzzard and a single Lapwing on two occasions. Up to 14 Jackdaw get up from the church, along with Rook on occasion. The Rooks have been vocal at their two nests this week, the sound carrying well with reduced background noise from flights or road traffic. A Sparrowhawk was displaying distantly, flapping to a great height. A pre-work cup of tea outside has produced Meadow Pipit moving north on a couple of mornings. Thirty four species so far, but its not the number that is important. Carry on birding and keep safe folks!

-- Edited by dave broome on Saturday 28th of March 2020 09:14:36 PM

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Working in the public sector I have still been travelling out to work for a fair chunk of the week, but at other times the restrictions have led to me retaining sanity by spending more time than usual seeing what is in, around or over the garden, just below the Tyldesley Banks, a sandstone ridge north of Chat Moss. The small back garden itself is still a work in progress, from the blank green space provided by the house builders. Planting inside the garden is still in its infancy, but there is an established Hawthorn hedgerow along the back, a former field boundary dating back to at least the late 19th century, running towards a brook about 60 metres away. A mature Sycamore, protected by a Tree Preservation Order, is at the end of the hedge a few houses along, but other mature trees are only visible fairly distantly. A churchyard is quite close but as it is masked by other houses, the Rook nests in there cannot be seen from home.

-- Edited by dave broome on Saturday 28th of March 2020 09:36:22 AM

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