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spuggies and jackdaws and hedgehogs and frogs

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8 minutes ago, Wiltshire Warrior Dragon said:

Brimstones seem to be the first ones around here (ie South Wiltshire)  yesterday, I too saw a peacock.

I see reports today of the first swallows in Hampshire - a couple of solitary birds.

Brimstones don't seem to be as common in these parts so far. 

The coming days' winds and temperatures don't augur well for butterflies and other insects that have been on the wing in the last week.

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7 minutes ago, longboard said:

Without wanting to appear as a bit of an obsessive, I saw there was one reported a wee bit north of here yesterday, perhaps above the better part of Keighley, and it was heading further north.

You mean Keighley has a better part?

Only kidding; I like the place.  My wife is less enthusiastic, but then she is from Skipton....

I am reminded of that spoof, Art Deco railway poster, with the caption "Keighley.  That scary place on the way to the Dales"!

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1 hour ago, Wiltshire Warrior Dragon said:

You mean Keighley has a better part?

Only kidding; I like the place.  My wife is less enthusiastic, but then she is from Skipton....

I am reminded of that spoof, Art Deco railway poster, with the caption "Keighley.  That scary place on the way to the Dales"!

Keighley has some cracking Edwardian & Victorian architecture, but lacks the economic engines to drive legitimate prosperity forward currently.

I have spent time there regularly in recent years.

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Out on the bike today during my "lunch break" (this working from home could be worse). Chiff-chaffs are definitely about and skylarks making themselves known too. No sign of any hirundines around here so far. Got a really good view of a kestrel that was hovering over the road verge as I passed underneath.

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In the late 1970s, my the fiancée (now wife) and I were spending a few days with my mum in Bristol.

We had an epic day out while there.  We rose early and headed to central Wales.  Eventually, in the late afternoon, on a back road in the hills a little inland from the west coast, we achieved our ambition.  Soaring above us was the UK's rarest resident bird of prey...the red kite!

How times have changed.  The other day, looking at the daily list of Hampshire bird sightings, I was struck by no fewer than nine reports of red kites at or very near to the south coast.  They have progressively spread southwards from the Chilterns project.  OK, they still merit a mention in the opinion of those reporting them to the Hampshire website, but for how much longer, I wonder.  They are a bit like little egrets in that respect, except the egrets didn't have a helping hand from the RSPB.

it set me wondering.  Do any readers/contributors to this thread live in a locality with doesn't have red kites?  Are there any such areas of England now?

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On 28/03/2020 at 13:18, ivans82 said:

Starlings have started gathering nesting material in West Cumbria and like other posters Brimstones are about . 

Our garden feeder is well populated with starlings, they are like a bunch of teenagers squabbling.


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7 hours ago, Wiltshire Warrior Dragon said:

In the late 1970s, my the fiancée (now wife) and I were spending a few days with my mum in Bristol.

We had an epic day out while there.  We rose early and headed to central Wales.  Eventually, in the late afternoon, on a back road in the hills a little inland from the west coast, we achieved our ambition.  Soaring above us was the UK's rarest resident bird of prey...the red kite!

How times have changed.  The other day, looking at the daily list of Hampshire bird sightings, I was struck by no fewer than nine reports of red kites at or very near to the south coast.  They have progressively spread southwards from the Chilterns project.  OK, they still merit a mention in the opinion of those reporting them to the Hampshire website, but for how much longer, I wonder.  They are a bit like little egrets in that respect, except the egrets didn't have a helping hand from the RSPB.

it set me wondering.  Do any readers/contributors to this thread live in a locality with doesn't have red kites?  Are there any such areas of England now?

There are still many parts of England where they don't breed and raise young. Unlike many birds of prey they are pretty social and this affects their ability to spread geographically. Here in the Pennines Red Kites fly in periodically, presumably from the reintroduced population in Harewood, which ain't a huge distance away, but they haven't bred successfully in the area AFAIK...

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11 hours ago, longboard said:

There are still many parts of England where they don't breed and raise young. Unlike many birds of prey they are pretty social and this affects their ability to spread geographically. Here in the Pennines Red Kites fly in periodically, presumably from the reintroduced population in Harewood, which ain't a huge distance away, but they haven't bred successfully in the area AFAIK...

Thanks for an interesting perspective, Longboard.

Beyond me, to the south-west, I am not sure how far they have got either; that was in the back of my mind as I posed the question initially.

There was a plan to introduce them into an urban setting, on Tyneside, but I cannot recall whether this has ever happened.

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| suppose it was bound to happen any day now.  Hampshire's first cuckoo report of the year; it's from near the M3 at Farnborough this morning.

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On 20/03/2020 at 09:44, ivans82 said:

Heard/saw my first Chiffchaff of the year yesterday , 4 days earlier than last year and 10 days earlier than the year before ,can`t deny global warming is having an effect .i

Hadn't heard one this year until a few days ago. Now they seem to be everywhere.


Old Faithful we never lose at Wembley

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On 23/03/2020 at 11:52, Wiltshire Warrior Dragon said:

In the garden, the bullfinches were very vociferous yesterday; we had at least three calling simultaneously.  For such a boldly and brightly coloured bird, their call - though distinctive and hence easily recognisable when you have taught yourself it - is really very thin and insipid.

One visited our garden the other day. Never seen one anywhere in Hull before never mind in our garden. Wonder if the reduction in traffic and air pollution levels is leading some species to be a bit more adventurous. 


Old Faithful we never lose at Wembley

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Robins nesting now , saw first Peacock Butterfly today along with first Willow Warbler , eight days earlier than last year .

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Osprey sightings are now occurring with some regularity in Hampshire, as they arrive from Africa and head north up the country.  Some opt to hang about for a few days, typically at an inland lake where the fishing is probably pretty easy, or at the estuary of one of the rivers emptying into the Solent or Southampton Water. 

So, remember, look up!

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3 minutes ago, Wiltshire Warrior Dragon said:

Osprey sightings are now occurring with some regularity in Hampshire, as they arrive from Africa and head north up the country.  Some opt to hang about for a few days, typically at an inland lake where the fishing is probably pretty easy, or at the estuary of one of the rivers emptying into the Solent or Southampton Water. 

So, remember, look up!

There have been at least two sightings of osprey so far this week in Calderdale and at least one last week.

Small numbers of swallows have been seen. Willow warblers have started to arrive around here over the last few days also.

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4 hours ago, ivans82 said:

Robins nesting now , saw first Peacock Butterfly today along with first Willow Warbler , eight days earlier than last year .

it's great to see this stuff. i saw half a dozen peacock butterflies on Sunday and the same number of peacock birds! I think peacock butterflies are one of the species which overwinters as an imago, and the ones we see early in Spring are usually these ones, rather than ones which have been developing this year and have emerged from eggs, caterpillars or pupae... 

 IIRC small tortoiseshells and brimstones are the same. I'll have to look it up.

Keep your eyes open for bats. Some warmth and still weather really brings them out.

Edited by longboard

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Got house sparrows nesting in one of my dry verges , wrens in the Ivy , lots of blackbirds knocking around , I'll have to be careful not to disturb anything this year 

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Found a wren and a Hedge Sparrow (Dunnock) nesting while out today  . Apparently the Ospreys have been back at Bassenthwaite Lake  , came around 10 days ago , unfortunately wont be able to watch them this year .

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We have Bluet&ts in our box again this year, I have heard a knocking sound and discovered its the birds sorting their nest out.

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Seen my first Swallow this morning , Blackcaps here now also . Chaffinches begun nesting and a couple of Roe Deer were grazing quietly on one of the paths .Great Spotted Woodpeckers looking very smart in their  summer plumage .

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On 08/04/2020 at 16:49, longboard said:

it's great to see this stuff. i saw half a dozen peacock butterflies on Sunday and the same number of peacock birds! I think peacock butterflies are one of the species which overwinters as an imago, and the ones we see early in Spring are usually these ones, rather than ones which have been developing this year and have emerged from eggs, caterpillars or pupae... 

 IIRC small tortoiseshells and brimstones are the same. I'll have to look it up.

Keep your eyes open for bats. Some warmth and still weather really brings them out.

Was cycling home just as it was getting dark on Wednesday evening. Had a barn owl and several bats for company.

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Old Faithful we never lose at Wembley

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28 minutes ago, Ullman said:

Was cycling home just as it was getting dark on Wednesday evening. Had a barn owl and several bats for company.

Reminds me of bouldering years ago at Caley Crags and Otley Chevin, getting buzzed by pipistrelles when it was coming dusk.  Fun times.

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Been sorting out my garden during the enforced ' holiday ' 🙁 , shifted a load of timber , during which I had to relocate 2 frogs ( one a big slippery ###### 😀 ) and a 2 1/2 inch common lizard 

Edited by GUBRATS

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Pleased to see a Coal ###### on the bird feeders, they were regular visitors until we cut down our Pine trees a few years ago, I think they use them as cover and as a source of food. Saw my first Orange Tip butterfly this year as well. As yet no Swallows or House Martins, the Martins usually nest under the eaves of most houses in our street.

Coal t*t. 😂

Edited by Moose

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