Posts Tagged ‘Tree Sparrow’

Sue and I spent two weeks exploring the north of Norfolk and would like to share some of the highlights of our trip.

 

Our first stop on arriving in Norfolk was at the WWT reserve at Welney in Fenland. This reserve is best known for its wintering migratory swans but it is good all year round. The really good thing is that you can birdwatch why you eat your lunch in the restaurant (if you can get a table by the windows!). We were lucky and so were able to look out over Lady Fen and the feeding stations. The former was quiet with just a couple of Little Egrets, but the feeders didn’t disappoint with House Sparrows, Dunnock, Goldfinch and a single Tree Sparrow present.

The view from the cafe in the Welney visitor centre -wildlife watching whilst you eat

Little Egret

Tree Sparrow

 

After finishing our lunch, we made our way over to the main hide where there was a large group of Ruff along with Lapwing and Black-Tailed Godwits.  Sue found a group of Common Snipe feeding in the margins and we counted a maximum of 14 birds at different times. A female Marsh Harrier was seen in the distance,

Common Snipe

We made our way back to the balcony overlooking Lady Fen and were treated to a fly-past by a Eurasian Hobby

Leaving Welney we made our way to East Barsham, north of Fakenham, which would be our base for the next two weeks. Relaxing over a cup of tea in the garden we saw a family of pheasants who with white backs, probably one of the variants originally bred for shooting which now is now breeding in the wild. A Common Whitethroat, amongst other small birds, was seen in a hedge.

Common Pheasants in the garden (normal plumage)

 

As the sun began to set we were excited to see a Barn Owl fly through the meadow beyond the garden and land in a tree where there is a breeding box. After a brief stop, he went away over the fields. Later he settled on a post at end of the garden.

 

Barn Owl in field behind our cottage

 

Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Eurasian Hobby [sp] (Falco subbuteo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Western Barn Owl [sp] (Tyto alba)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Common Whitethroat [sp] (Sylvia communis)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Eurasian Tree Sparrow [sp] (Passer montanus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

 

A bright Saturday morning saw Sue, Keith and me on the 120-mile journey from home to Rutland Water nature reserve in the East Midlands. Rutland water was the first nesting site for Western Osprey in England and is still the most southerly of the few known sites.

Rutland Water

Sue dropped us at the reserve and went off to do a couple of visits to nearby craft shops, whilst Keith and I set out to see the target species for the day – Western Osprey and Tree Sparrow. The latter proved to be no problem as 3 Handsome male birds sat on the feeders outside the visitors centre.

Tree Sparrow

 

From here we made our way towards Manton Bay, where one pair of Ospreys were nesting. In front of one hide we had excellent views of Sedge Warbler as it displayed and sang hoping to attract a mate.

Sedge Warbler

The Osprey nest was clearly visible on its platform and the female bird, incubating 4 eggs, could just be made out. The male returned to the nest 3 times, although he didn’t bring any food and eventually decide to perch in a tree before he headed off again.

Osprey nest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Male Osprey perched in tree

No, we didn’t climb up to the nest for this one – taken from the CCTV camera feed observing the nest

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the way back from Manton Bay we were fortunate to get another excellent view of a warbler – this time Willow warbler as it sang from its perch on a wire – they are not normally so obliging.

Willow Warbler

Eurasian Coot

Great Cormorant

Target species were seen but what would the rest of the visit bring – Part 2 of our trip to follow tomorrow.

 

Tree Sparrow

Posted: February 24, 2016 in Birds, Natural History
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The Tree Sparrow is the smaller and rarer of the two UK species of Sparrows. It is estimated to have declined by over 90% between 970 and 2008, although recent data suggests that the decline has ended and there maybe hints of a recovery in population.

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Tree Sparrow

Tree Sparrow

Some more photos from my trip to Norfolk at the weekend

Tree Sparrow

Tree Sparrow

 

Pochard

Pochard

 

Moorhen

Moorhen

 

Coot

Coot

 

Goldfinches

Goldfinches

 

Whooper Swans

Whooper Swans

 

Mute Swans

Mute Swans

Whooper Swans

Whooper Swans

Sunday found me on a RSPB group outing to Welney Wildfowl centre in Norfolk. This is one of my favourite reserves in the UK and I always try to visit at least once a year. Last Summer it gave me my best morning’s birdwatching when I found both Red-necked Phalarope and Common Quail within 30 minutes. But mid-winter visits present different opportunities. We made good time from London and made the journey to Norfolk in just under 2 hours. First up was a brief look over Lady Fen, where a large group of whooper swans were present, along with a large party of Lapwing.

Lady Fen

Lady Fen

 

Whooper Swans

Whooper Swans

Then onto the main observatory which overlooks the wash. The washes were created to take the winter flood waters from surrounding rivers and as such benefit both the wildlife and the local population. The were good numbers of Eurasian Wigeon, Coot, Common Pochard and Mallard along with some close Whooper swans.

The Ouse Washes

The Ouse Washes

 

Whooper Swan

Whooper Swan

 

Time for coffee in the reserve centre cafeteria, which overlooks Lady Fen and the feeder station so there is no loss of birdwatching time. My target species here was the increasingly rare Tree Sparrow, but which is still frequently seen here at the feeder station. Goldfinches, Great Tits, Blue Tits and a Greenfnch were feeding. A pair of Reed Buntings were making trips from the nearby reed-bed to take food dropped from the feeders. Suddenly a brown headed bird landed on one of the feeders and I was able to get some good photos of a Tree Sparrow!

Tree Sparrow

Tree Sparrow

 

Reed Bunting

Reed Bunting

 

Back over to the wash and again a look in the main observatory. I found a male Pintail dozing amongst the Wigeon and one of the Wardens found a Bewick’s Swan amongst the Whooper and Mute Swans resting on a small expanses of land. The Bewick’s Swan is the rarest of our Swans and a although there are around a 1000 roosting on the reserve they spend most of their time feeding on the surrounding agricultural fields, only returning to the reserve at dusk, so it is often difficult to find one during the day. It was quite distant but through the telescope the characteristic bill pattern cold clearly be seen.

Bewick's Swan (left) alongside larger Whooper Swan

Bewick’s Swan (left) alongside larger Whooper Swan

Then onto Nelson-Lyall hide further along the wash. Here the number of wildfowl was lower, but there were some Northern Shoveler and Gadwall. Cetti’s Warbler was heard from the reed-bed and a party of Long-tailed Tits flew past.

View from Nelson-Lyall hide

View from Nelson-Lyall hide

Time to retrace my steps on the way back to the centre. Another stop at the main observatory added Dunlin and Black-tailed Godwit to the day’s lost.

Lady Fen in the late afternoon

Lady Fen in the late afternoon

The last stop of the day was the observation platform overlooking Lady Fen, where a number of the group had gathered in the hope of seeing a Short-eared Owl which frequents the fen. A Marsh Harrier was hunting and gave good views. As time ticked closer to departure time it looked as though we might be unlucky. Our attention was distracted by the arrival of a small goose, which was identified as a Pink-footed goose. Then as if on cue the Short-eared owl appeared circling and hunting over the fen. A great end to a good day.

Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Pink-footed Goose (Anser brachyrhynchus)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Bewick’s Swan (Cygnus columbianus bewickii)
Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
European Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Dunlin [sp] (Calidris alpina)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Gull (Larus canus canus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Short-eared Owl [sp] (Asio flammeus)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
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)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Eurasian Tree Sparrow [sp] (Passer montanus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Common Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

First stop on our two week trip to Lancashire and Cumbria was the Wetlands Trust reserve at Martin Mere near Preston.

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Although a reserve best known for its wintering wildfowl, Martin Mere is a great place to explore at any time of the year. Although there was no unusual birds present the day we visited, there were still a good selection of resident breeding birds and Summer migrants.

House Martin nests

House Martin nests

Shelduck

Shelduck

Goldfinch

Goldfinch

Wren

Wren

Moorhen with young

Moorhen with young

I think the highlight for me was the Tree sparrows on the the feeder station, as this is becoming a rare species in the UK and it was great to catch up with a small party and be able to photograph them (albeit on a protected feeder)

Tree Sparrow

Tree Sparrow

Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Bar-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa lapponica)
Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Stock Dove [sp] (Columba oenas)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Common Cuckoo [sp] (Cuculus canorus)
Common Swift [sp] (Apus apus)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Common House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Eurasian Reed Warbler [sp] (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Eurasian Tree Sparrow [sp] (Passer montanus)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)