Once again, due to the lockdown, the Bird and Wildlife Group has been unable to meet. However, this hasn’t stopped members from sharing what they have seen in their gardens and on their walks and we have found that this has been a good way of keeping in touch until we are able to meet again as a group.
Sue Longson writes:
Before lockdown 3, Russ & I visited Danbury Country Park which is obviously very muddy. Parking at The Lakes car park, and not very far along, I saw a water vole on the water bank. This was surprising as there were a fair number of visitors. We later watched a grey squirrel in a big old Chestnut tree; it popped in & out of a large hole before jumping to another tree, performing for us.
Our garden has a screen of Hawthorn trees which are loaded with berries which are normally only eaten by several Blackbirds, but three days ago (4 January), four Redwings arrived & then yesterday a whole flock arrived to gorge themselves. They are still visiting.
Jill Taylor writes:
The days are getting longer and walking up to The Limes this morning (23 December) there was a robin singing about every 100 yards. Opposite the new housing estate a song thrush was practising his phrases, outside the school a great tit was loudly shouting “Teacher, Teacher” and a wood pigeon replied “I can’t do spellings. I can’t do spellings!” Spring is on the way.
I chose Marsh Road for my walk today (2 January), and as I reached Dammerwick Cottages a flock of birds twittered across in front of me and landed in the field. I thought they were goldfinches, but I had my binoculars with me and they turned out to be pied wagtails – at least 27 of them! I didn’t know wagtails flocked together in winter. The primroses are all flowering in my garden and various bulbs are pushing up leaves.
Two sightings in my garden this morning (5 January):
TWO robins taking it in turns to visit my bird table. My robin seems to have found a mate!
A buff-tailed bumblebee on the bellflowers of my winter flowering clematis. Jolly cold for a bumblebee to be out and about.
From the 9th to the 11th of January I had a flock of between 12 and 20 redwings perched in my hawthorn tree and feasting on holly berries in a neighbour’s garden. And on one occasion a kerfuffle in my forsythia bush revealed that my robins had become a menage a trois!
Diane Caulkett writes:
I read in The Garden magazine an article on’ Bees in winter’ and apparently Queens do not hibernate but the interesting thing was “Any queen bumblebee might be awake on warm winter days, but in one species whole colonies can be active, even when it is close to freezing – the buff-tailed bumble”.
Sue and Tony Bridgman from Southminster write:
We had hoped to take a trip to Heybridge Basin to observe ducks, waders etc. but the spread of COVID-19 has prevented us. So, most of our bird spotting is from our garden.
Today was a good day (13 January) – there were plenty of birds about despite the rainy conditions. The first highlight was a group of 7 or 8 goldfinches seeing off the sparrows on the feeders. We have a trellis halfway down the garden which various species use to give them cover but also easy access to food. As per usual there was a lot of flitting backwards and forwards of both bluetits and great tits. On the ground were the usual suspects – collared doves, wood pigeons and blackbirds tidying up the remains of food underneath the feeders.
The second highlight was a group of long-tailed tits briefly on the feeder and in the roses. Additionally, there was a pair of robins, a lone dunnock and many starlings.
This was the best sighting we have had for a few weeks but some of the usual birds were missing. It is not uncommon for us to see wrens, chaffinches and rooks (on the fat ball feeders). Hopefully next month we might be reporting from across the fields.
Frances Harris writes:
We did the Wick Farm circuit at the weekend, 9th January, and saw a flock of fieldfares on the bushes. Along the river we spotted redshanks, shelduck, and a group of knot in flight. The most unusual sighting just after Christmas was a seal in the water at Creeksea, just after high tide.
This winter for the first time since we installed the feeders in the garden we have had no goldfinches at all which is very disappointing. We think their habitat must have been disturbed in some way. However, yesterday there were a pair of blue tits exploring the nest box. We know from past years that they tend to make a preliminary sortie in January and then return at intervals until they’re ready to start nesting so we’re hoping that the nest box will be in use in the spring.
I have had the usual birds in my garden – blue and great tits, goldfinches, sparrows, starlings, robins, blackbirds, wood pigeons and collared doves and for a few days in early January a small flock of long-tailed tits. I am also 90% certain that I saw a greenfinch but it had gone by the time I fetched my binoculars.