Highest number seen in the garden at one time
Blue tit 5
Coal tit 12
Great tit 4
Long-tailed tit 10
Starling 1 (this is the injured bird which looks to be getting better it can now fly up into the trees but the wing is still noticeably drooping)
Also seen Nuthatch, Great spotted woodpecker and the ubiquitous Phesants and luckily two Buzzards flew through the woodland bordering the garden. Behind the house there is a flock of about 50 Starlings. Also early this morning saw a wagtail but could not tell which type. The Rabbits have started to venture into the garden to nibble on new shoots starting to emerge I will have to get out the chicken wire cylinders, to protect some of the more vulnerable plants.
Have recently caught and dispatched a couple of rats who had moved into the barn presumably after sheep feed. Unfortunately the rubble filled walls of the barn are continuous with the walls of the house so there is no barrier to them being able to get into the roof space. When we first moved in we had quite a large colony establish themselves in the roof that took some shifting.
Another justification for controlling rats is they have an impact on the small mammal population, I am not happy about using poison because it also poisons Woodmice and Voles which in turn also poisons Owls and Kestrels.
16th Jan on the way to Clitheroe saw a flock of about 60 Lapwing presumably on one of their reconnaissance flights from the coast. 17th Jan the Great spotted woodpecker is drumming on the tin plate capping a telegraph pole. Raked all the leaves off the gravel meadow and gave it a quick mow to knock back some of the grass and rush and both to help reduce the fertility of the soil.
Went to a talk on Cross hill and Salt Hill nature reserves Clitheroe by Phil Dykes. The rich diversity of wildflower species was an eye opener and now a firm promise to myself to pay these two sites much more attention. The talk was hosted by Clitheroe Naturalists and there hopefully will be a guided walk lead by Phil in the summer.
This sudden cold spell has made the feeders even busier. The wounded Starling is still with us and can fly a bit, it managed to get about 30cm off the ground today.
Not sure if it is related to the cold weather but we haven’t seen any Starlings flying over the house for a few days. Also today saw a Buzzard in the Ash tree by the gate, this is the closest we have ever seen one to the garden.
Very simple to do sometime between 28-30 January watch the birds in your garden for an hour and record what you see. You can get full details and a free pack from https://ww2.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/activities/birdwatch by post or you can download it.
Currently in our garden we are getting Blue and Great tits, Coal tits, Chaffinch, Nuthatch, Longtailed tit, Robin, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Dunnock. We also have lots of Phesants!
In the woodland outside the garden we regularly also see Tree creeper, Tawney owl, Jay and Magpie and in the fields Starlings Fieldfares and Redwings as well as Crows and Rooks. Above us we see Buzzards, Ravens and recently Kestrels.
The injured starling is still about and is starting to fly a bit so fingers crossed for it making a full recovery.
A great help is this BTO collection of youtube videos on how to identify birds, the good thing about these is they show you how to tell the difference between easy to confuse species. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLE3B611F475AA00AF
Had a quick look around for wild flowers in bloom yesterday and found none. A look round the garden found the following garden plants in flower Dame’s Violet (Hesperis matronalis) Primrose and Wallflower both garden varieties. Over the last couple of weeks a male Sparrowhawk has been a regular visitor sitting on the bird table, in a vain hope his dinner would come to him. Not seen him for a couple of days which is fortunate for an injured Starling that appeared the garden three days ago with a drooping wing and unable to fly. Talking of Starlings every few days large flocks fly directly over the house on their way to roost, possibly they are part of the roost at Blackpool. As they regularly fly directly over the house and sometimes low enough to hear the wing beats, we wonder if our house is used as a landmark. The sound of a flock of Starlings overhead is possibly one of the most magical sounds in nature along with the buzz of insects in a meadow. Went for a walk on Boxing day but the only thing of note was a Hare we disturbed.
Going back to Starlings we have a small flock that feeds in the fields behind our house and we see varying numbers of Redwings and Fieldfares about the fields and hedgerows.
The Friends of Bowland have published their programme for 2017 you can download it from their website www.friendsofbowland.org.uk.