In January 2015, when we started ‘Our Patch’, the highlight was the sighting of around 1000 Brent Geese feeding on the land at Creeksea. This year, once again, the Brent Geese were the highlight but not on the land. With a high tide a flock of some 500 flew from the south of the river and settled on the water just east of the marina. After a half-hour or so they returned to the south in chattering flocks, only to return once more; this particular area of the river seems to be a favourite of theirs.
With bright sun but a brisk, fresh breeze many birds remained hidden but there was one surprise down by the reed beds. Walking out onto one of the platforms I saw a flash of blue that streaked from the reeds on the left to those on the right and disappeared, – a kingfisher? – most likely. A few days earlier there had been a sighting of a kingfisher by a pond in the garden of a house in Station Road, not far away.
Work has started on clearing some of the vegetation from the waterways in the reed bed area. A section to the east has exposed water running gently where today a flock of goldfinches had come down to drink. Nearby a rat (I would like to think it was a water vole) crossed the path and disappeared into the undergrowth.
There are always many garden birds near to the houses in Fairway Drive, probably attracted to the feeders, and so it was today and a pleasing sight was that of a greenfinch. The 2017 Bird Trends report has recently been placed on the British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) website and highlights the rapid and continuing decline of our Greenfinch population, which has declined by 59% in just ten years. Apparently this decline has been linked to an outbreak of trichomonosis, a parasite induced disease, which prevents the birds from feeding properly, and in part dirty bird feeders are to blame.
I read feeders should be cleaned fortnightly. To clean efficiently first brush off all residual food, wash with hot soapy water, rinse and allow to dry. Next spray with a disinfectant such as Ark-klens, Tamodine-E or a veterinary disinfectant (some say rinse this off and others don’t), and then air dry thoroughly before re-using.
Next Meeting – Tuesday 20th February 10.00 meet in the marina car park
Birds: Blackbird, Robin, Sparrow, Starling, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Great & Blue Tit, Pied Wagtail, Kingfisher, Green Woodpecker, Collared Dove, Magpie, Wood Pigeon, Crow, Black-headed & Herring Gulls, Little Grebe, Brent Geese
Flowers: Yarrow, Gorse, Catkins
Other: Rat, Mole activity, Hips.