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spuggies and jackdaws and hedgehogs and frogs


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I see a report that there were no fewer than eight hobbies hawking over the water at Fishlake Meadows on the northern edge of Romsey in Hampshire earlier today (the town, incidentally, was 'Kingsmarkham' in the TV Inspector Wexford series)  This must have been an incredible sight. 

I have been lucky enough to see a single hobby on a few occasions.  For a split second, it is easy to think you are watching a swift, given the hobby's speed through the air, swept back wings and - by bird of prey standards - small size.

Apparently, the inventor of the table soccer game, Subbuteo, wanted to call his new pastime 'Hobby', but wasn't allowed to register that as a trade mark.  So, being a bit of an ornithological buff, he did the next best thing, and used the hobby's scientific Latin name - well part of it - falco subbuteo, which I think means 'falcon under the buzzard', which I take to be a size reference, but don't know for sure.

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On 03/05/2021 at 17:58, Les Tonks Sidestep said:

Llyn Brenig osprey platform rebuilt. Video of the moment the old one was cut down in the report

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-56969855

I couldn't watch the video, I was too sad about the story. Hopefully it will be a happy ending.

This morning my chilly walk with the dog was heartily warmed up by the presence of about a dozen housemartins buzzing around 'Paul's Pond' at Breary Marsh in north Leeds.

I saw jays dashing around while the blackbirds and song thrushes belted out their calls. I was then joined nearby by 2 courting treecreepers, about 6 pairs of mandarins and then, surprisingly, a few lapwings dancing, singing and generally showing off above the adjacent farm.

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The southern cathedral peregrine news is that, at Winchester, three of the four eggs hatched.  Winnie has given up sitting on the fourth, which now lies forlornly at the corner of the nesting tray.  She and her mate, Chester, are both now leaving the nest to feed the ever growing trio of chicks.

Meanwhile, at Salisbury, it is also the time in the breeding cycle where both parents must leave the nest in search of food; here, there are four chicks.

Here are the webcam links:

Peregrine Falcons : Live Web Cam Stream | Salisbury Cathedral

The Peregrines Return in 2021 - Winchester Cathedral (winchester-cathedral.org.uk)

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4 hours ago, Wiltshire Warrior Dragon said:

The southern cathedral peregrine news is that, at Winchester, three of the four eggs hatched.  Winnie has given up sitting on the fourth, which now lies forlornly at the corner of the nesting tray.  She and her mate, Chester, are both now leaving the nest to feed the ever growing trio of chicks.

Meanwhile, at Salisbury, it is also the time in the breeding cycle where both parents must leave the nest in search of food; here, there are four chicks.

Here are the webcam links:

Peregrine Falcons : Live Web Cam Stream | Salisbury Cathedral

The Peregrines Return in 2021 - Winchester Cathedral (winchester-cathedral.org.uk)

Chicks at Wakefield too

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On 02/05/2021 at 19:09, my missus said:

has anyone seen any frog spawn yet? one of the grandkids has asked me to get some i have been to all the usual spots but found nothing, is it still to cold?

We have spawn and now have tadpoles in our pond.

Visit my photography site www.padge.smugmug.com

Radio 5 Live: Saturday 14 April 2007

Dave Whelan "In Wigan rugby will always be king"

 

This country's wealth was created by men in overalls, it was destroyed by men in suits.

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3 hours ago, Robin Evans said:

Got a wren in the garden.... made up wi this

yes we have a wren it just started building its nest in what was a blue ###### box, last years brood were forever falling out as there wasn't enough room for them all.

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Through the fish-eyed lens of tear stained eyes
I can barely define the shape of this moment in time

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9 hours ago, Robin Evans said:

Got a wren in the garden.... made up wi this

Wrens are so lovely to have around. I saw one in the park this morning, bustling around the twigs and leaves. Quite an unusual sight but just ace.

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19 hours ago, Robin Evans said:

Got a wren in the garden.... made up wi this

 

9 hours ago, Leeds Wire said:

Wrens are so lovely to have around. I saw one in the park this morning, bustling around the twigs and leaves. Quite an unusual sight but just ace.

I always think one of the most the amazing thing with wrens is their singing.  You here this amazingly load, strong song and, when you realise it is a wren, you marvel at how such a small bird can sing with such volume of sound.

Apparently, in 'old money', they weigh about a third of an ounce - incredible!

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On 02/05/2021 at 20:47, Leeds Wire said:

First swallows of the year at Wheldrake Cricket Club, just south of York, yesterday 🙂

Saw a few at Thornwick Bay yesterday as well as the thousands of gannets, razorbills and kittiwakes with a couple of fulmars into the bargain along the cliffs at Bempton. The puffins haven't turned up in great numbers yet but there was the added bonus of a barn owl and a couple of wheatears on the cliff top.

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Old Faithful we never lose at Wembley

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14 hours ago, Ullman said:

Saw a few at Thornwick Bay yesterday as well as the thousands of gannets, razorbills and kittiwakes with a couple of fulmars into the bargain along the cliffs at Bempton. The puffins haven't turned up in great numbers yet but there was the added bonus of a barn owl and a couple of wheatears on the cliff top.

You probably know this already, Ullman, but another Bempton speciality isn't a seabird at all.  Around the car park and visitor centre, you should look closely at the spuggies.  House sparrows have a grey top to their head, but here there are also tree sparrows, which look almost identical, but have a lovely brown top to their heads, which makes it easy to distinguish them from their much commoner cousins.

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3 hours ago, Wiltshire Warrior Dragon said:

You probably know this already, Ullman, but another Bempton speciality isn't a seabird at all.  Around the car park and visitor centre, you should look closely at the spuggies.  House sparrows have a grey top to their head, but here there are also tree sparrows, which look almost identical, but have a lovely brown top to their heads, which makes it easy to distinguish them from their much commoner cousins.

Funny you should say that, we did see a tree sparrow just as we were parking up in Flamborough. Forgot to add the little feller off the list.

Was a glorious morning along the Holderness coast today. There were a lot of meadow pipits out enjoying the sunshine (and plenty of annoying St. Mark's flies).

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Old Faithful we never lose at Wembley

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It saddened me yesterday to read that a popular and well known local swan , Barney died aged 17 after being bitten by a dog which was off a lead . His mate had just had cygnets as well . Local lambs and sheep are being worried by dogs off leads to but you still see people doing it 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
1 hour ago, Robin Evans said:

Saw my first yellow hammer in 50 years this morning. I knew what it was as soon as I clocked it.

Gave me a right lift that😊

I saw my first one of those ever about this time last year. Mrs S and I went for a short stroll on Tuesday and spotted these whilst taking refreshments on board 

Peacocks.JPG

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On 11/04/2021 at 17:49, Wiltshire Warrior Dragon said:

I'm very envious, Ullman - a lovely species that can cheer up even the dullest day. 

When Mrs WWD and I were seriously courting, we sometimes stayed at her family's clifftop chalet at Skipsea and there were often yellowhammers in the clifftop, scrubby vegetation, along with big numbers of linnets.

Needless to say, the chalet was claimed by the avaricious North Sea many decades ago!

Cycled out to the Holderness coast this morning and encountered plenty of those yellowhammers and linnets. Saw the first swifts I've noticed this year too as well as a house martin. Enjoyed seeing the stoat that ran across the road in front of me at Fitling as well as the numerous orange tip butterflies en route.

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Old Faithful we never lose at Wembley

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Here is an interesting webcam link.  It is to cliffs at Sumburgh Head, close to the main airport in Shetland.  With luck, you get good views of puffins, fulmars (the rather gull-looking pale grey and white birds, but which are actually related to albatrosses), and other seabirds.

SOTEAG Cliff Cam | Shetland Webcams

The website itslef, as you will see, has other cameras, both urban and rural.  At this time of year, if you know or suspect from national weather forecasts that it has been a good day in Shetland, it is interesting to go on this website at about midnight or a bit later and be amazed how much light there still is.

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Walk in the upper reaches of Wharfedale today. As well as the expected songbirds saw lapwings, a fantastic thrush singing away in a tree near Hubberholme church, a hare, a mouse moving its young and heard (but didn't see) curlews. Also, somewhat surprisingly for me as I've never seen one inland before, 3 oystercatchers: 2 probably courting and a 3rd wallflower who kept getting noisily chased off. 

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On 29/05/2021 at 23:02, Les Tonks Sidestep said:

Walk in the upper reaches of Wharfedale today. As well as the expected songbirds saw lapwings, a fantastic thrush singing away in a tree near Hubberholme church, a hare, a mouse moving its young and heard (but didn't see) curlews. Also, somewhat surprisingly for me as I've never seen one inland before, 3 oystercatchers: 2 probably courting and a 3rd wallflower who kept getting noisily chased off. 

Sounds like a lovely walk, LTS; I am envious.

Yes, oystercatchers are very much an upland Dales bird, as are redshanks and common sandpipers, as I recall from living variously at Long Preston and Embsay in the Yorkshire Dales and Ingleton in the lower reaches of Teesdale.

By the way, I think JB Priestly once said that 'The George' at Hubberholme was his favourite pub!

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9 minutes ago, Wiltshire Warrior Dragon said:

Sounds like a lovely walk, LTS; I am envious.

Yes, oystercatchers are very much an upland Dales bird, as are redshanks and common sandpipers, as I recall from living variously at Long Preston and Embsay in the Yorkshire Dales and Ingleton in the lower reaches of Teesdale.

By the way, I think JB Priestly once said that 'The George' at Hubberholme was his favourite pub!

I've walked in the Dales for many years (although nowhere near as often as I'd have liked in recent years) but never seen oystercatchers there before - probably shows how hard I've been looking (in fact it was Mrs S who spotted them)! 

We passed a sign pointing to JBP's favourite pub although we refreshed at The White Lion in Cray. 

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1 hour ago, Les Tonks Sidestep said:

I've walked in the Dales for many years (although nowhere near as often as I'd have liked in recent years) but never seen oystercatchers there before - probably shows how hard I've been looking (in fact it was Mrs S who spotted them)! 

We passed a sign pointing to JBP's favourite pub although we refreshed at The White Lion in Cray. 

In my experience, you often here the piping call of an oysercatcher before you see they are there; perhaps that was Mrs S's experience too.

When I worked in the council planning department in Skipton, one of our admin staff - a very bonny lass - was one of five daughters (no sons!) of the then landlord and landlady of 'The White Lion'.  When those five were all in their teens or early twenties, I bet there would have been a constant stream of young lads from down the dale making their way there for a drink or two!  Good to know it is open still.

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Mrs WWD and I heard a cuckoo today in the New Forest, when out walking the dog.  This means that, this year, we can claim to have heard cuckoos in four consecutive months - from March to June.  We heard one call on 31st March, unusually early and something I don't recall experiencing before; then nothing till the more normal mid-April; after that most days in late April and most of May, just getting less frequent in the last week or so.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Mrs Shadow and I drove down the A34 from Oxford to Winchester on Sunday and lost count of the number of Red Kites we saw, they have really increased in numbers over the past few years.

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