Archive for the ‘Norfolk’ Category

On Sunday Keith and I went with Bexley RSPB group to Cley in North Norfolk. It was a welcome return for me as we had been there only a few weeks earlier during our trip to Norfolk, but the weather could not have been more different. In fact, it could not have been more different than the day before. On Saturday as we had visited local reserves it had been hot and sunny, but as day dawned Sunday it was overcast and wet, and so it continued all day.

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But we did get some birdwatching, between dodging rain. We first went to Snipes Marsh, in search of Jack Snipe that had been reported there.

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It wasn’t long before we were watching one in the reeds, although it proved difficult to get anything like a good picture of it due to the vegetation. This is the best one, taken by Keith.

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On the Cley Marsh, there were a very large number of Eurasian Wigeon plus smaller numbers of Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail and Gadwall. There was also a large flock of Black-tailed Godwits but surprisingly few other wading birds.

Eurasian Wigeon (top) and Black-tailed Godwit (lower left and right)

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata)
Gadwall [sp] (Mareca strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Mareca penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Water Rail [sp] (Rallus aquaticus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Eurasian Curlew [sp] (Numenius arquata)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Jack Snipe (Lymnocryptes minimus)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Mew Gull [sp] (Larus canus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Rock Dove [sp] (Columba livia)
Stock Dove [sp] (Columba oenas)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Rook [sp] (Corvus frugilegus)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Skylark [sp] (Alauda arvensis)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)

 

Norfolk Skies 2018

Posted: October 11, 2018 in Landscape, Natural History, Norfolk, UK
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Once again this year we witnessed some remarkable skies during our stay in Norfolk. Here are a few of the photographs.

 

 

 

Last full day of our trip to Norfolk and we spend the morning at Cley Marshes. On the way we saw a white Pheasant, leucistic rather than albino as well as a Grey Partridge.

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Arriving at Cley Marshes we make our way out through the reed bed to the hides. There is little activity here due to the wind.

Any bird with sense is tucked away deep in the reed-bed keeping its head down. Arriving at the hides in the centre of the marsh, there are a good number of waders on the scrapes including a large party of Black-tailed Godwit together with smaller parties of Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Ruff. Three Marsh Harriers quarter the reed-bed causing considerable agitation to the waders.

                 Common Gull (top left), Ruff (bottom left), Black-tailed Godwit (top right)                             and Great Cormorant (bottom right)

Leaving Cley we make our way along the coast to Wells harbour. We walk out to the harbour through Wells Wood, past a small lake where there were a number of Little Grebes.

 

Reaching the beach the tide is far out. The water goes out a long way on the flat beaches of North Norfolk.

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On the Mudflats, there are a large number of Oystercatchers plus Redshank, Curlew, Bar-tailed Godwits, 2 Grey Plover and a single Greenshank.

Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Gadwall [sp] (Mareca strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Mareca penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca)
Grey Partridge [sp] (Perdix perdix)
Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Grey Plover [sp] (Pluvialis squatarola)
Common Ringed Plover [sp] (Charadrius hiaticula)
Eurasian Curlew [sp] (Numenius arquata)
Bar-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa lapponica)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Ruddy Turnstone [sp] (Arenaria interpres)
Ruff (Calidris pugnax)
Dunlin [sp] (Calidris alpina)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Western Barn Owl [sp] (Tyto alba)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
White Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)

 

 

We spent today at the Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserve at Hickling Broad. The Broads is an area of ancient peat digging which has flooded and formed a connection with local waterways to form a network of lakes. It is very popular with people in boats, but it also a wonderful wild habitat as much the surrounding land is not accessible.

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At the visitor centre, we had a wonderful view of a Hornet’s nest in the roof and could appreciate its fantastic structure.

Were were fortunate to be able to spend two hours travelling around the reserve by boat through narrow ways through the reeds and on the open water to visit parts of the reserve which cannot be accessed from the land.

Ringed Plover and Dunlin

 

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Eurasian Wigeon (Mareca penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Common Ringed Plover [sp] (Charadrius hiaticula)
Little Ringed Plover [sp] (Charadrius dubius)
Ruff (Calidris pugnax)
Dunlin [sp] (Calidris alpina)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Peregrine Falcon [sp] (Falco peregrinus)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Western Yellow Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla flava)
White Wagtail (Pied) (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)

A short drive today brings us to Pensthorpe Nature Reserve. This is a private reserve founded by a local landowner and businessman Bill Jordon. It is part wildfowl collection; part conservation centre and part nature reserve. It is also the centre of a local partnership seeking to combine modern farming and good habitat for wildlife. It has a diverse range of habitats and our first stop is at the wader scrape, where there are a number of species of geese and other waterbirds.


From here we pass on into the woodland and from the hide, we have excellent views of Nuthatch, Coal Tit and Marsh Tit along with more common woodland birds.

Nuthatch and Great Tit

After stopping at the visitor centre for lunch we visit the wetland hide, where 2 Green Sandpipers and a female Goldeneye are the best birds to be seen.

Goldeneye (f) (top left), Little Grebe (bottom left), Moorhen (top right), Eurasian Teal (centre right) and Egyptian Goose (bottom right).

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Gadwall [sp] (Mareca strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Mareca penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Common Goldeneye [sp] (Bucephala clangula)
Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Red Kite [sp] (Milvus milvus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus)
Ivory Gull (Pagophila eburnea)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Mew Gull [sp] (Larus canus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Western Barn Owl [sp] (Tyto alba)
Peregrine Falcon [sp] (Falco peregrinus)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Coal Tit [sp] (Periparus ater)
Marsh Tit [sp] (Poecile palustris)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Eurasian Nuthatch [sp] (Sitta europaea)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)

 

Black Prince is one of my favourite stem locomotives, so here are some more photos of this magnificent Engine on the North Norfolk Railway.

 

The story of Black Prince can be seen at:   https://petesfavouritethings.blog/2017/09/27/norfolk-journey-black-prince/

 

A very wet and windy day, so Sue and I forsake the outdoors for a trip on the North Norfolk Railway and lunch in Sheringham.

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We board our train, pulled by the magnificent Black Prince at Holt and make our way across the Norfolk countryside to the coastal town of Sheringham.

 


After lunch in Sheringham, we wander around the town centre admiring the shop front displays on a 1940’s theme as part of the town’s 1940’s weekend the following Saturday and Sunday. The charity and clothes shops have 1940’s clothes, the wool shop 1940’s pattern and materials and the electrical appliances shop has old fridges and electrical equipment. Amazing the lengths they have gone to and we were told that everybody dresses up in 1940s costume over the weekend.

But soon the train is calling for the return journey to Holt and once again we find ourselves travelling behind ‘Black Prince’ enjoying the sight and sounds of this wonderful engine.

 

First stop this morning is Flitney Abbey Farm. This is a wonderful little nature reserve which forms part of a working farm. This is a great spot for Kingfisher and the only place I know in north Norfolk to see Little Owl. Unfortunately, neither makes an appearance today.

Our next destination is the area around Dersingham Bog and Wolverton village. This is probably the only area now for the increasingly rare Golden Pheasant. Originally introduced as an ornamental bird to stately homes, they have escaped and set up wild breeding populations in East Anglia. It seems as though all the others have died out and now only the Wolverton population is left. Despite its rich colours this is a secretive bird and it may take many visits before you see one. On this occasion we are unlucky.

Our next stop is at Norfolk Lavender at Heachem. This is a commercial lavender distillery and gift shop – it seems like almost anything can have lavender oil included in it!

This is also the home of the national lavender collection, which is seeking to collect, grow and preserve all the different varieties of lavender found in the UK.

Our final destination today was Titchwell Marsh. A couple of hours birding here never disappoints. We saw some Bearded Reedlings in the reed-bed and on the freshwater marsh were a selection of waterfowl and wading birds including Pinkfoot Geese (newly arrived from their breeding grounds further north), Curlew Sandpipers, Dunlin and a single Little Stint.

 

Pink-footed Goose (top left), Dunlin (centre left), Wigeon (bottom left), Ruffe (top right) and Grey Heron (bottom right)

Sue also found this Common Frog on one of the pathways.

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We had arranged to go to friends for dinner and as we drove the country lanes at dusk, we saw a lot of Pheasants feeding by the roadside together with a couple of Red Legged Partridge and a single Grey Partridge plus a perched Buzzard and Kestrel, but didn’t have the camera with me!

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Pink-footed Goose (Anser brachyrhynchus)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Eurasian Wigeon (Mareca penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca)
Red-legged Partridge [sp] (Alectoris rufa)
Grey Partridge [sp] (Perdix perdix)
Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Red Kite [sp] (Milvus milvus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
European Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria)
Common Ringed Plover [sp] (Charadrius hiaticula)
Eurasian Curlew [sp] (Numenius arquata)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Ruff (Calidris pugnax)
Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea)
Dunlin [sp] (Calidris alpina)
Little Stint (Calidris minuta)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Stock Dove [sp] (Columba oenas)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Bearded Reedling [sp] (Panurus biarmicus)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Common House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
White Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
Common Linnet [sp] (Linaria cannabina)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Common Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

Norfolk Journey 2018: Day 7

Posted: September 27, 2018 in Birds, Natural History, Norfolk, UK
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A wet day and so we make a late start travelling a few miles to the reserve at Cley Marshes. After a stop for refreshments at the visitor centre, we take advantage of a break in the rain to drive down to the East Bank car park and walk out along the bank to the hide overlooking Arnold’s Marsh, arriving just in time as the rain returned.

There was a good selection of wading birds including a large flock of Common Redshank, Black-tailed Godwits, Dunlin and a Spotted Redshank. A Peregrine Falcon was seen resting on a post trying as much as was possible to keep out of a rain. Some small birds flew in from the sea, seeking shelter from the weather, and these included Meadow Pipit, Yellow Wagtail and a Whinchat.

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Black-tailed Godwits

Taking advantage of another break in the rain after a couple of hours to make it back to the car we had actually managed to do some birdwatching without getting wet on a very wet day.

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca)
Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Eurasian Curlew [sp] (Numenius arquata)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Dunlin [sp] (Calidris alpina)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Spotted Redshank (Tringa erythropus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Western Barn Owl [sp] (Tyto alba)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Peregrine Falcon [sp] (Falco peregrinus)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Common House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra)
Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis)
Common Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

 

Our first stop this morning was the Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserve at Holme Dunes. Leaving the centre I visited the Bird Observatory and spent some time looking for migrants in the beachside shrubs and trees, but apart from some common woodland birds, the only migrant seen was a Common Whitethroat.

Common Whitethroat in the beachside vegetation at Holme

My next area to visit was the Broadwater, but when I arrived at the hide, one of the wardens explained that the local cattle had broken down a fence during the night and that they had to repair it which was disturbing the birds and so the Broadwater was devoid of birds except for a single Mallard and a party of Pied Wagtails. After meeting up with Sue, our next stop was on the Saltmarsh, where there was a single Eurasian Curlew and a party of 40 Common Redshank plus a few Little Egrets.

Travelling on we had lunch at the RSPB reserve at Titchwell and then walked out to Fen hide where we found two Turtle Doves sitting in a tree. This is the rarest of UK’s breeding doves, which is a summer migrant from Africa and have suffered a very significant decline in numbers of recent years due to climate change in their wintering grounds and shooting around the Mediterranean area.

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Turtle Dove (taken in Norfolk Sept 2017)

Robin (top left), Migrant Hawker (top right), Small White Butterfly (centre right) and   Reed-bed at Titchwell (bottom)

One other treat of our visit was as we sat drinking a cup of tea and watching the bird-feeders we saw some Wood Mice scurrying around under the feeders, no doubt picking up the seed that had fallen down.

From here we walked onto Pat’s Pool, where there was a large flock of Gadwall and a single Red-Crested Pochard. A Great White Egret flew into the pool and a Marsh Harrier quartered the reed-bed at the rear of the pool.

Our last stop of the day was at Cholsey Barns, which is a farming area where I have seen Grey Partridge on previous visits. Today we were unlucky and didn’t find any, but did have wonderful views of a Male Marsh Harrier and the starlings on the telephone mast were an impressive sight.

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Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Gadwall [sp] (Mareca strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Red-crested Pochard (Netta rufina)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Egret [sp] (Ardea alba)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Red Kite [sp] (Milvus milvus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Eurasian Curlew [sp] (Numenius arquata)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
European Turtle Dove [sp] (Streptopelia turtur)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Western Barn Owl [sp] (Tyto alba)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Whitethroat [sp] (Sylvia communis)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)                                                                                        Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Chloris chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)