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Big Garden Birdwatch

My apologies for the late publication of this month’s Wildlife Watch. Initially I was waiting for the results of the Big Garden Birdwatch, and then got delayed even further. It seems that the decline of sightings generally has played a big part in the lack of numbers at our bird tables and feeders. Is this another consequence of “Avian Flu” affecting even our local bird life? As many of you know I had to care for some dead cygnets at the Pit, and I had to take an avian flu test, sent to me by the Health Protection Agency. I was negative, and it hasn’t affected humans to date I’m pleased to say.

My Big Bird Watch Results at Croft Close were:
Black birds-3 Blue tits-5 Dunnock-3 House Sparrow- 10 Long Tailed Tit-4 Goldfinch-1 Robin-2 Great tit-2 Woodpigeon-2 Starling-8 Wren-1

Several people in the village also recorded Great spotted woodpecker, redpoll, song thrush, blackcap, nuthatch and greenfinch. I could have claimed hundreds of pink footed geese, several cormorants and a couple of buzzard flying over, but these are not recorded on the Big Garden Watch lists. Shame!!.

A kingfisher is still very active along the canal, seen in many places between Rowton Bridge and Chemistry Lock, and greenfinches seem to be making a slight recovery everywhere, which is very pleasing. A recent visit to Marbury Country Park, near Northwich, allowed me to film male and female reed bunting coming to a bird table along with lots of blue, great and long tailed tits, together with a single coal tit. Another exciting development this winter has been the seemingly good recovery of the curlew. These wonderful waders, with their curved beaks have had a very bad time of it in recent years, but there have been many schemes afoot all over the country to create suitable habitat, even taking eggs from some clutches, incubating them at some Reserves and then releasing the young birds hatched, into the wild. We have in recent weeks, seen good numbers at Conway RSPB Reserve and Estuary, Burton Meres RSPB and Dee Estuary, and last week at Marbury Country Park. It has been so evocative to hear their call again after some years of absence. I have recorded only the occasional single bird flying and calling over Hockenhull Platts in the past five years. So this winters sightings have been wonderful news.

If you keep your eye’s open you might see a good number of jackdaw feeding on our crocus on the Village Green. This is very annoying, but notice that one of the birds has white wing feathers. Dunnocks have a wonderful sweet song, and they are singing superbly at present. There are also a number of pairs of collared dove about, and I have reports of green woodpeckers being heard locally. We had a rare sighting of a golden eye duck last week. These beautiful small diving ducks also have the habit of nesting in tree holes in gardens especially if there is a pond nearby. Some years ago friends of ours were delighted to see the emergence of the adults and as many as twelve ducklings plop out of their nest hole on a birch tree, into their garden pond.

I’m also publishing two pictures by my good friend Jo O’Hanlon this month, a wonderful new image of a Jack snipe at Hockenhull Platts, and a reprint of a barn owl photographed a year ago. Common or Jack snipe are very difficult to photograph at any time, but Jo has captured this Jack snipe in great close up. You can see how wonderfully camouflaged it is. Numbers of snipe fluctuate at the Platts, with one or two occasional Jack snipe and up to twenty common snipe in winter months. I’m also displaying a picture of lapwing again this month as there are still good numbers around Stamford Lane, on fields opposite Vicars Cross Golf Club.

  •  Jack Snioe

    Jack Snioe

  •  Kingfisher


  •  Goldeneye


  •  Curlew


  •  Curlew group

    Curlew group

  •  Curlew in flight

    Curlew in flight

  •  Great Spotted Woodpecker

    Great Spotted Woodpecker

  •  Barnowl


  •  Lapwings at Cotton Edmunds

    Lapwings at Cotton Edmunds

  •  Gtreen Woodpecker

    Gtreen Woodpecker

  •  Crocus on Christleton Village Green

    Crocus on Christleton Village Green

  •  Jackdaw


  •  Sonf Thrush

    Sonf Thrush

  •  Greenfinch


  •  Black Cap - Male

    Black Cap - Male

  •  Collarfed Dove

    Collarfed Dove

  •  Robis


  •  Dunnock or Hedge Sparrow

    Dunnock or Hedge Sparrow

  •  Dunnock singing

    Dunnock singing

  •  Reed Bunting

    Reed Bunting

  •  Reed Bunting

    Reed Bunting

  •  Blue Tits

    Blue Tits

  •  Coal Tit

    Coal Tit

  •  Great Tit

    Great Tit

  •  Long Tailed Tits

    Long Tailed Tits

  •  Active Meadow Moles

    Active Meadow Moles


Wildlife Watch February 2023

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