Sunday, 29 November 2015

Sunday Birdwatch Challenge 2

This weekend Ryan and I did our second challenge of counting the bird species and individuals we saw in our gardens for an hour. We started at 13:00 and finished at 14:00. Within that time both of our weathers have been very windy (30-40mph), it has rained and been very grey.

View from the window

From the looks of the trees bashing about in the wind, we both didn't think we would get any birds at all. With a cuppa and pineapple and ham panini in hand, the clocks started. these are our results...

Ryan                                                                             Me

5  House Sparrow                                                        6  House Sparrow
                                                                                     5  Blackbird
                                                                                     2  Blue Tit
                                                                                     2  Great Tit
                                                                                     2  Dunnock
                                                                                     2  Collared Dove
                                                                                     2  Feral Pigeon
                                                                                     2  Magpie
                                                                                     1  Robin
                                                                                     1  Coal Tit
                                                                                     1  Wren
                                                                                     1  Woodpigeon

Total 5                                                                          Total 27

We are putting the lack of birds at Ryan's down to the weather. Giving the wind was over 40mph, not many birds braved it. Or the birds are just be tougher up north. These are our results compared to last weeks...



Monday, 23 November 2015

weekend birdwatch challenge

At the weekend was the North West bird festival. Unfortunately I couldn't go, but I managed to get out and do some of my own birding. On Saturday I watched my football team, undeservedly, get beaten by Blackburn Rovers 2-1 boo! However, I got over it (so I say) with two great games of bowling and arcade games. Sunday was supposed to be a day out in Yorkshire, but was unfortunately cancelled. So I set off out with dad to do some birding at Newton Marsh.
We spent about two hours there and in that time a few birders came and headed off. The first bird I saw was the usual Kestrel perched on the phone wires, looking very chuffed with itself. The bankings were full of Wigeon, calling to one another. Most of them were sleeping or preening, they soon became more lively when the Kestrel flew overhead.

The odd Teal was dotted about within the group of Wigeon, along with Mallards. It was nice to see six Shovellors dreaming away on the sides, which didn't really move the whole time I was there. What was even better to see were three Gadwall which were calmly paddling about around the centre.

A small group of Canada Geese were in the field to the left and another flock of geese flew right inland. Whilst dad was in the car warming up, I went on a little wonder down the road, just to see if anything was there. I didn't see much on the way down but coming back up, I accidently flushed thirteen Common Snipe which I didn't even notice. There was also a pile of feathers, an unlucky Redshank. When I got back to the car, one last look across the marsh, showed a Hare running through the sheep.

Whilst the sun was still unusually shining, Ryan asked if I would like to do an hour Birdwatch and compare results. So at 1:30 we put food out, sat back and waited. By five minutes he had had  thirteen House Sparrows and I had had one Sparrow and one Dunnock. The species and numbers started increasing, but not by many, and before we knew it, time was up. By 2:30 these were our results...
Ryan                                  Me
1 Blackbird                      2 Blackbird
1 Dunnock                        3 Dunnock 
2 Woodpigeon                  1 Woodpigeon
2 Blue Tit                         2 Blue Tit     
1 Robin                             1 Robin
14 House Sparrow           4 House Sparrow
1 Magpie                         2 Magpie
6 Starling                       3 Great Tit           
1 Collared Dove                1 Wren

total 29                              total 19

It was very good fun and a competitive challenge which for both of us ended in a cuppa. Same again next weekend!

Ryan's view from window

Sunday, 8 November 2015

28/5/15 Dock walk

Me and my Granddad usually go to the docks to feed the birds seed and watch the Common and Arctic Terns nesting on the break waters. Whilst he chats to the fishermen I wonder off on a hour walk along the banking's. I have found some good skulls along here including a male Goldeneye. However, I thought I may as well push the time limit as it was a nice day and I felt like I may find some more things further down in a part I hadn't explored before. I hadn't found anything really on my usual banking, so I was hoping this new part would offer up some gifts. I was right!

As soon as I turned the corner, there was a mute swan skeleton, I had seen this one in the dock basin and had been looking for it for some time. However the skull wasn't there. So I continued my walk. There was a female Mallard with eleven ducklings feeding in the grasses, along with two Shelduck. Under a tree I found some black feathers but didn't think much of them. However not so far away, there were more, I found a washed up Cormorant!! I had first found one of these at Cockerham, but I wasn't really into bone collecting then so didn't take it home. So I was very happy when I found this.

I carried on downstream and found three sheep, I don't like taking Sheep skulls, so I left them. However there was a Lesser Black Backed Gull skeleton not so far away, so I took the skull from that. I was supposed to be heading back now but I still felt as if there was something else to find. And again I was right! Next to a log was another bird. It looked like a huge version of a Guillemot. It had a white belly and breast, a greyish head and neck and the feet, beak, back, wings and tail were black. I was torn between a Diver (which was most likely) and a huge Guillemot, as the plumage wasn't really in great shape to judge it by, so I waited for the skull to be cleaned.

It turned out to be a diver. I had just found the Black Throated Diver skull a few months ago, so I was hoping it was a different species. The Black and Red are very similar, so it was a game of spot the difference. After more debating whether it was one or the other, we came to a decision...
It's a Red Throated Diver!!