Posts Tagged ‘Long-tailed Tit’

Boxing day brought a sunny day and two unexpected visitors to the garden. The first was a single Long-tailed Tit, which appeared for about 5 minutes around the feeder station before flying off. This is a species that is very uncommon in our garden (previous sightings up to 5 Nov/Dec 2013; 5 Oct 2015 and 1 in Jan 2016).

Long-tailed Tit

However, the most surprising visitor was a Red Admiral Butterfly which fluttered through the garden mid-morning. They are known to over-winter in dry places such as sheds and can be enticed out if the temperature is mild enough during the winter.

Although most butterfly species over-winter as an egg, pupa or caterpillar, some species can survive the winter months as adults. These butterflies don’t actually hibernate, instead they go into a dormant state where they shut down their metabolism to a very low level. Red Admiral, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma and Brimstone can all survive through the winter as adults, waiting for the spring when they can breed. Red Admirals only achieve a partial dormancy and so are the most likely species to be seen on the wing on warm winter days.

Red Admiral

 

 

 

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It was a lovely sunny autumn day and a chance to get out to do some nature-watching. These days have been rare recently due to working on a number of other projects. Today Keith and I headed off to the RSPB reserve at Cliffe, stopping first for our early lunch/late breakfast stop at Tabitha’s food wagon near West Court Farm. Fortified and refreshed we proceeded to see what was about on the land surrounding the farm. Small parties of Greylag Geese, Canada G eese and Rooks were present and Keith thought he heard a Green Sandpiper but we were unable to locate it.

Moving onto the reserve we found a Willow Warbler in some trees, but although we were surrounded by Robin’s singing our first inpression was that there was fewer birds than we would have expected for the time of year. As we walked around we did find small parties of Long-tailed Tit.

Long-tailed Tit (photo by Keith)

Long-tailed Tit (photo by Keith)

 

The most numerous butterfly was Large White, along with smaller numbers of Red Admirals and Peacocks  and we did find a single Green-Veined White, which some years have a late September brood. It is possible though that this individual was a survivor from the summer brood as timings do seem to be late this year.Dragonflies were represented by good numbers of Migrant Hawker and Common Darter.

Red Admiral

Red Admiral

Common Darter

Common Darter

 

Green-Veined White

Green-Veined White

Reaching the Estuary we were surprised that even on a rising tide the number of wading birds were low with only a single Pied Avocet and a small party of  Curlew. We did get good views of Stonechat on the sea-wall.

Stonechat

Stonechat

Returning inland we saw a Common Buzzard being mobbed half-heartedly by Carrion Crows and a short while later the same or another flew overhead. On the path we found some Small Heath butterflies resting up amongst the stones. These are another indication that this years timetable is running late as traditionally these do not survive much beyond the first week of September.

Common Buzzard (Photo by Keith)

Common Buzzard (Photo by Keith)

Small Heath

Small Heath

As we climbed back up towards the village, we found a Sparrowhawk sitting on top of a cage of game-birds, but it was away before either of us could raise our cameras.

It had been a good days birdwatching but without any stand-out birds. Nether the less it was a lovely day and it was good to get some nature watching in after some weeks of inactivity.

 

Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Eurasian Curlew [sp] (Numenius arquata)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Rook [sp] (Corvus frugilegus)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Eurasian Skylark [sp] (Alauda arvensis)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Willow Warbler [sp] (Phylloscopus trochilus)
Eurasian Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Mistle Thrush [sp] (Turdus viscivorus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
European Stonechat [sp] (Saxicola rubicola)
White Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Meadow Pipit [sp] (Anthus pratensis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
Eurasian Siskin (Carduelis spinus)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Common Linnet [sp] (Carduelis cannabina)

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Green-veined White [sp] (Artogeia napi)
Peacock Butterfly (Inachis io)
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus)

Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta)
Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)

 

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After an excellent Sunday Lunch in Keston Village at Herbert’s (http://www.thisisherberts.co.uk/about-us) Sue and I decided to drop in at Bough Beech Nature Reserve to see if there is anything about.

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Our first impression is that the water level in the reservoir is very high, probably the highest I have ever seen it, which is very good for the water company but not for birdwatching since all the margins are now under water with many trees that were on the bank now appearing to grow in the water.

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On the reservoir there is a large party of Wigeon plus smaller numbers of Great Crested Grebe,Tufted Duck, Teal, Mallard and Pochard.

Pochard (male)

Pochard (male)

I decide to take a walk down to the visitor centre and have a look at the woodland and the feeders. There is a lot of activity here with large numbers of Blue and Great Tits. Also present are smaller numbers of Long-tailed Tit, Coal tit and Nuthatch.

Blue Tit and Long-tailed Tit

Blue Tit and Long-tailed Tit

Blue Tit

Blue Tit

In the Orchard a female Pheasant is searching the ground under the feeders looking for food that had fallen from above.

Pheasant (female)

Pheasant (female)

Returning to the Reservoir I locate a group of 6 Goosander on the far bank. A good ending to the visit

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Goosander
Photo by John Bennett (https://www.flickr.com/photos/jbgoblin/)

Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Common Merganser [sp] (Mergus merganser)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Coal Tit [sp] (Periparus ater)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Eurasian Nuthatch [sp] (Sitta europaea)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)

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A morning walk round the patch.

At last the algal bloom seems to be clearing from the Tarn but it may be a long time until the water quality returns to normal.

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Although there is still quite a covering of algae at the eastern end of the Tarn

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Despite clear water there is little waterbird activity with just a few Mallard, Coot and Moorhens present.

Mallard

Mallard

Coot

Coot

Moorhen

Moorhen

The male Muscovy duck is still around but there is no sign of his female.

Muscovy Duck

Muscovy Duck

There is always something to delight though and a party of Long-tailed Tits is flitting through the trees on the water’s edge.

Long-Tailed Tit

Long-Tailed Tit

As I am leaving a Sparrowhawk is circling above and soon attracts the attention of the local crows which rise to chase it off

Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)

After a morning appointment, I took the opportunity to complete this months BTO winter thrush survey visit to Sutcliffe Park Nature reserve and the surrounding area. The recent rains has led to a lot of flooding and so had to keep to the high ground above the river level.

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The mixture of rain showers and strong wind kept the number of birds observed low and the only survey birds recorded were a single starling in Sutcliffe Park and 2 parties of 14 and 6 starlings in the Westhorne Avenue area. I’m not terribly surprised at these results as although there have been some reasonable records of passage of winter thrushes from the London area this month, it is usually well into November or December, before I start seeing them ‘resident’ on my local patch. Some years, we even have to wait for the snows (most usually January time) until they turn up. One sign the winter is coming on was a flock of tits in the Westhorne Avenue area which consisted of around a dozen Long-tailed Tits and a smaller number of Blue Tits flitting from tree to tree along the roadside.

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Another pleasing observation, showing that summer was still trying to hang on, was a male and female Common Darter dragonflies egg laying in the main lake, no doubt taking advantage of the break in the wet weather which we have had for the last week or so.

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Back at home, had up to 6 Western Jackdaws in the garden – another sign that we are moving from summer towards winter.

Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)

Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)