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Guest theboltonfury

Any Twitchers (Bird Watchers) Here?

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Guest theboltonfury

In our modest little garden in Somerset we are blessed with a good variety of birds.

Mrs Hedge is very keen on them and reckons she's spotted about 22 different types. I'm a fan of that most common of birds, the robin. Love the little guys.

Without doubt though, the Long Tailed Tits are my favourite. A few appear and flit around on our acer tree, and then they are gone again. They're almost magical in how they move. I feel really honoured by their presence.

We had a flock of bullfinches when it got really cold. I have a garden amongst farmland so get Yellowhammers, wheatears, grey partridge, skylarks as well as coal, great, blue and long tailed tits.

there was a lovely little flock of Redpoll in the birch trees the other day. Tiny little finches, but lovely and a real treat.

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I have the fortune to rent on a pheasant shooting estate where the gamekeeper is very good at predator control, leaving the birds of prey alone and putting out rabbits for the buzzards to distract them.

Never lived anywhere else where the bird life is so diverse and the dawn chorus so loud. Merlins, sparrowhawks, kestrels and owls also abound.

But a load of gannets feeding takes some beating for me.

As an aside, the amazing cliffs at Latrabjarg, Iceland are staggering for 'sheer bird action in the raw' in June and July. Look out to sea and have Plovers behind, skuas above and kittiwakes, guillemots, iceland gulls etc on the cliffs infront, with puffins sitting within a metre, and arctic foxes on the shore below picking up nestlings that plummet to the rocks.

and then there is the E Kamchatka peninsula ....

BTW. I knew a falconer once that used to keep a check on when pigeon racers took their birds to France. He then used to take his birds to the coast as a welcoming party. I never thought that was quite 'cricket'.

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Guest theboltonfury

I have the fortune to rent on a pheasant shooting estate where the gamekeeper is very good at predator control, leaving the birds of prey alone and putting out rabbits for the buzzards to distract them.

Never lived anywhere else where the bird life is so diverse and the dawn chorus so loud. Merlins, sparrowhawks, kestrels and owls also abound.

But a load of gannets feeding takes some beating for me.

As an aside, the amazing cliffs at Latrabjarg, Iceland are staggering for 'sheer bird action in the raw' in June and July. Look out to sea and have Plovers behind, skuas above and kittiwakes, guillemots, iceland gulls etc on the cliffs infront, with puffins sitting within a metre, and arctic foxes on the shore below picking up nestlings that plummet to the rocks.

and then there is the E Kamchatka peninsula ....

BTW. I knew a falconer once that used to keep a check on when pigeon racers took their birds to France. He then used to take his birds to the coast as a welcoming party. I never thought that was quite 'cricket'.

I've never seen a merlin. Would love to though. You highliight a good point though. The world of birds is so diverse. Most people are ok with woodland types, but then you explore waders, ducks, seabirds and it all starts to get very complicated.

Have seen a Ring Ousel though.

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Guest X-QUORK

We had a flock of bullfinches when it got really cold. I have a garden amongst farmland so get Yellowhammers, wheatears, grey partridge, skylarks as well as coal, great, blue and long tailed tits.

Saw some coal tits for the first time at my Mum and Dad's place in Somerset over the weekend, pretty little things in their own way. Also saw plenty of Swallows enjoying the warm, bug-filled evening, always nice to have them back after the winter. We've been visited by litle flocks of long-tailed tits over the winter, they're such great looking birds IMO.

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Guest theboltonfury

Saw some coal tits for the first time at my Mum and Dad's place in Somerset over the weekend, pretty little things in their own way. Also saw plenty of Swallows enjoying the warm, bug-filled evening, always nice to have them back after the winter. We've been visited by litle flocks of long-tailed tits over the winter, they're such great looking birds IMO.

Coal tits are lovely. Just make sure it is a coal tit by looking for the white mark on the back of the head.

Lovely little song too - dooby dooby dooby (you get the idea)

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I've never seen a merlin. Would love to though. You highliight a good point though. The world of birds is so diverse. Most people are ok with woodland types, but then you explore waders, ducks, seabirds and it all starts to get very complicated.

Have seen a Ring Ousel though.

Presently, I have a crow that has taken to pecking the windows incessantly, must be hyper agressive or missing a mate.

Bl00dy annoying at 4.30 am

I have spoken with the gamekeeper <_<

often have a merlin flying along the lane just infront of the car about a foot off the ground.

Don't think I have ever seen a ring ousel.

had a whiskered tern in the back garden though once, it was all alone until about 200 twitchers turned up the other side of the hedge.

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Guest theboltonfury

Presently, I have a crow that has taken to pecking the windows incessantly, must be hyper agressive or missing a mate.

Bl00dy annoying at 4.30 am

I have spoken with the gamekeeper <_<

often have a merlin flying along the lane just infront of the car about a foot off the ground.

Don't think I have ever seen a ring ousel.

had a whiskered tern in the back garden though once, it was all alone until about 200 twitchers turned up the other side of the hedge.

Are they really the size of blackbirds? Just doesn't seem right for a raptor to be so tiny?

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Are they really the size of blackbirds? Just doesn't seem right for a raptor to be so tiny?

Never paid much attention to the size, I would say a bigger wingspan than a blackbird and a slightly bigger body. Definitely a lot faster and impressive when on the attack.

The falconer I knew kept merlins amongst other birds and used to fly them against skylarks as far as I remember. His pointer dog would flush the skylark and he would then release the merlin. A skyward race would then ensue. The skylark always won the race as a merlin will only attack from above, and the skylark could go higher and faster.

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I wouldn't say I'm a twitcher, but I do love watching birds in the garden ...

I'm similar to X-QUORK, I like looking and spotting birds in the garden or when out and about, but have never gone out of my way to do so.

I'm not a huge bird enthusiast, ...

Not a twitcher ...

Not a twitcher ...

Not a birder ...

There's a lot of denial going on here. Maybe we need an HPC branch of Birdwatchers Anonymous.

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Guest X-QUORK

There's a lot of denial going on here. Maybe we need an HPC branch of Birdwatchers Anonymous.

That's the funniest post I've read for a long time.

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Guest theboltonfury

There's a lot of denial going on here. Maybe we need an HPC branch of Birdwatchers Anonymous.

Well spotted sir. That's comedy genius.

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I keep a few runner ducks. One day, whilst gardening and trying not to directly spear a duck with the fork (they are fearless if there's worms to be had), suddenly, they weren't there. I looked round, and the were all crouched down on the ground, making a peculiar, quiet, "ork, ork" noise which I'd never heard before from them. They had their heads canted, watching the sky. I looked up, and saw two large circling hawks, presumably buzzards. So there we are, ork, is duck for awk, if you drop your haitches.

I found it interesting, as 'ork' only applies to circling predators - another time they confused a glider with a large hawk. Hot air balloons get a quite different vocal response, as do ground-based predators.

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I used to go bird watching when I was younger and wish I had the opportunity to go these days.

I'm interested in all our indigenous wildlife and really enjoy the few programmes we get on the TV. Don't know if anyone has been watching Halcyon River Diaries on Sunday evenings. I feel really sorry for Charlie who is doing his best with the underwhelming support from his wife Philippa Forrester - poor chap.

I have a colony of stag beetles under the hedgerow at the bottom of my garden so do a survey each year for PTES. Probably average around 20 sightings each season but last year I didn't see one :(

Just hoping the colony hasn't been lost as they are in real decline.

Also have a couple of bats that fly along the back of the terraces each evening where I live.

Back to bird watching, I had a couple of coal tits in the garden this past winter which was nice because they don't visit often

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Last week I was down near Malaga, very southern Spain. Swallows or swifts or martins were swooping everywhere close to the sea by day and dusk. But which one were they?

Any expert tell me?

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Guest theboltonfury

Last week I was down near Malaga, very southern Spain. Swallows or swifts or martins were swooping everywhere close to the sea by day and dusk. But which one were they?

Any expert tell me?

Not an expert. Swifts are a lot wider in wing span, with longer, slimmer straighter wings. Usually they fly pretty high. Swallows have forked tails and a maroon marking. Martins are a easy one as they look like a swallow but have a bright white back. That's house martins.

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I've noticed lately though... no cuckoo. Went for a long rambling walk at the weekend here in Essex and secretly hoped we'd hear one but no such luck. Haven't heard one for donkeys years (though given we've just moved out of London after 20 years, its hardly surprising I suppose). But my parents down in Dorset haven't either which is strange as I would have thought the habitat down near Lodmoor would be ideal for the cuckoo (reeds/water surrounded by hedges and trees for cover).

Actually, now you say that. The last two times we have been out in the woods doing archery we have heard (not seen) cuckoos, two separate places, Sandy up in Bedfordshire and some woods down the M3 from Guildford.

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Actually, now you say that. The last two times we have been out in the woods doing archery we have heard (not seen) cuckoos, two separate places, Sandy up in Bedfordshire and some woods down the M3 from Guildford.

I glimpsed my first Cuckoo of the year in the first week of May, not seen one for a week or so now.

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Not an expert. Swifts are a lot wider in wing span, with longer, slimmer straighter wings. Usually they fly pretty high. Swallows have forked tails and a maroon marking. Martins are a easy one as they look like a swallow but have a bright white back. That's house martins.

One more detail I forget to mention. I did see mud nests right under the eaves of some houses. The sort I used to see on old farmhouses in the uK

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Guest theboltonfury

One more detail I forget to mention. I did see mud nests right under the eaves of some houses. The sort I used to see on old farmhouses in the uK

Housemartins I would expect. Look for white backs.

I used to see sand martins all the time nesting in a sand quarrry on my old golf course. They were nice.

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Guest AuntJess

I like to watch all kinds of bird life and spend a small fortune on birdfoods for my garden. I witnessed a spectacle of a sparrow recently, taken by a sparrowhawk. the sparrow was screaming and its predator took it up into the high boughs of the tree. All one could see from below was the odd few feathers floating down.

A heron is out on the river just now, picking off the newly-hatching mallard ducklings.

Magpies haunting a tree where my blackbirds are nesting, waiting to grab one.

Pity the strong have to prey upon the weak.

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I like to watch all kinds of bird life and spend a small fortune on birdfoods for my garden. I witnessed a spectacle of a sparrow recently, taken by a sparrowhawk. the sparrow was screaming and its predator took it up into the high boughs of the tree. All one could see from below was the odd few feathers floating down.

A heron is out on the river just now, picking off the newly-hatching mallard ducklings.

Magpies haunting a tree where my blackbirds are nesting, waiting to grab one.

Pity the strong have to prey upon the weak.

Magpies need to be preyed on by us(not enough predators in the wild in the UK, they're weak flyers and would naturally be kept down by peregrines and the like as they're both a mild threat to chicks and a very easy meal)

So go on AJ, do your bit to save the blackbirds nest! ;)

Tip : roadkill rabbit is irresistible to magpies and it's easier to tempt them into a trap than shoot them, they're smart where guns are concerned.

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Guest AuntJess

Magpies need to be preyed on by us(not enough predators in the wild in the UK, they're weak flyers and would naturally be kept down by peregrines and the like as they're both a mild threat to chicks and a very easy meal)

So go on AJ, do your bit to save the blackbirds nest! wink.gif

Tip : roadkill rabbit is irresistible to magpies and it's easier to tempt them into a trap than shoot them, they're smart where guns are concerned.

What?huh.gif No condemnation for the sparrowhawk or heron? Strange this dislike so many seem to show for the magpie. It gets a lot of bad press and I think a lot of it is undeserved. It is no more cruel than a lot of other birds, and killing them IS illegal.

The bird whose neck I most felt like wringing was the heron: Bluddy thing. It picked off several ducklings from one hen's brood over a couple of days. Rotten to behold, but one has to realise that they ALL have young, and are programmed to kill for them, and for themselves.

"Nature red in tooth and claw" - How I wish they - and we - could all be 'veggies', but it would mean we'd be overrun, I guess.

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