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BS: Birdwatching 2010

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Raptor 02 Jan 10 - 02:22 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 02 Jan 10 - 02:46 PM
gnu 02 Jan 10 - 03:05 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 02 Jan 10 - 04:58 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 02 Jan 10 - 05:26 PM
Janie 02 Jan 10 - 06:26 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 03 Jan 10 - 10:03 AM
ragdall 03 Jan 10 - 11:15 AM
Stilly River Sage 03 Jan 10 - 11:39 AM
gnu 03 Jan 10 - 12:23 PM
Stilly River Sage 03 Jan 10 - 05:08 PM
Charley Noble 03 Jan 10 - 05:14 PM
ragdall 03 Jan 10 - 08:11 PM
Liz the Squeak 04 Jan 10 - 09:40 AM
WalkaboutsVerse 04 Jan 10 - 05:09 PM
Raptor 04 Jan 10 - 08:31 PM
Janie 04 Jan 10 - 09:10 PM
Liz the Squeak 05 Jan 10 - 03:10 AM
open mike 05 Jan 10 - 04:32 AM
GUEST, Sminky 05 Jan 10 - 04:47 AM
WalkaboutsVerse 05 Jan 10 - 05:03 AM
Liz the Squeak 05 Jan 10 - 05:07 AM
GUEST, Sminky 05 Jan 10 - 06:21 AM
Liz the Squeak 05 Jan 10 - 08:34 AM
WalkaboutsVerse 05 Jan 10 - 08:56 AM
WalkaboutsVerse 05 Jan 10 - 09:22 AM
GUEST, Sminky 05 Jan 10 - 09:36 AM
Liz the Squeak 05 Jan 10 - 09:38 AM
Liz the Squeak 05 Jan 10 - 10:45 AM
bubblyrat 06 Jan 10 - 09:29 AM
bubblyrat 06 Jan 10 - 09:30 AM
EBarnacle 06 Jan 10 - 10:37 AM
GUEST, Sminky 06 Jan 10 - 11:14 AM
Stilly River Sage 06 Jan 10 - 11:21 AM
WalkaboutsVerse 06 Jan 10 - 12:43 PM
Alan Day 06 Jan 10 - 06:26 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 07 Jan 10 - 02:47 PM
ragdall 07 Jan 10 - 07:38 PM
Roger the Skiffler 08 Jan 10 - 09:12 AM
WalkaboutsVerse 09 Jan 10 - 10:03 AM
bubblyrat 09 Jan 10 - 02:27 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 10 Jan 10 - 06:28 AM
Andy Jackson 10 Jan 10 - 06:33 AM
Andy Jackson 10 Jan 10 - 06:34 AM
Andy Jackson 10 Jan 10 - 06:36 AM
Alan Day 10 Jan 10 - 06:45 AM
John MacKenzie 10 Jan 10 - 06:51 AM
Arnie 10 Jan 10 - 09:38 AM
Janie 11 Jan 10 - 07:07 AM
GUEST,Callingbird 11 Jan 10 - 07:42 AM
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Subject: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: Raptor
Date: 02 Jan 10 - 02:22 PM

I got 11 species yesterday!


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 02 Jan 10 - 02:46 PM

At the moment, with much snow around Newcastle upon Tyne, there are just a few collared doves, in a nearby tree, and pigeons warming on the window sill, but, in warmer times, the scene has been like this...

Poem 174 of 230: CIRCLES - AUTUMN 2001

The ringed homing of pigeon;
    The telescopic gasworks,
Which alter the horizon;
    There's what could be, for some, perks -
Chopper-journeys as sight-sources,
    And advanced driving courses;
Plus, on our flats' thermals,
    The circling flights of seagulls.

From http://blogs.myspace.com/walkaboutsverse (e-book)
Or http://walkaboutsverse.sitegoz.com (e-scroll)
(C) David Franks


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: gnu
Date: 02 Jan 10 - 03:05 PM

Well, I haven't participated much in these threads, but I got a story.

Today, I was driving along a strip mall when sommat fell straight down at a good speed and smacked the pave. I thought maybe somebody threw sommat off the roof? over the roof? No.... it fell straight down. As I got closer, I could see it was a twelve inch long trout.

Now, there is a grocery in this mall close to where the trout landed and there were lots of seagulls in the air. I surmised.... obviously.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 02 Jan 10 - 04:58 PM

We broke ground in May and spent the past summer building our house in the middle of a 15 acre wooded lot. Here are birds who have never seen a birdfeeder. We've been living in the house since the end of Sept., and I waited for the first freeze and snow (about a month ago) to put out the bird feeder (so as not to attract the bears!). I also regularly sprinkle the ground below the feeder to attract and educate the birds that there is food here. So far, 2 squirrels have learned that there's easy dinner here on the ground- but no on has discovered the feeder! I use best wild bird mix together with black oil sunflower seeds. Any further suggestions, or do I just keep feeding the squirrels and hope the birds figure it out eventually?


...we do get wild turkeys occasionally, but not near the feeder.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 02 Jan 10 - 05:26 PM

...no first hand experience, Animaterra, but I heard on TV that it's good to have feeders not too far from trees/shrubs for shelter.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: Janie
Date: 02 Jan 10 - 06:26 PM

Give'em time. They'll come. Also suggest squirrel proof feeders. I've a yard full of trees, mostly oak, and more tree rats than you can count. I also use suet feeders and had to start buying the suet blocks laced with hot pepper to keep the squirrels out of them.

WAV is also correct that birds are more likely to come to feeders that are either hung from trees or near trees. My feeders that are close to cover or hanging from trees draw a lot more traffic than the feeders on poles with no cover or tree branches near by.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 03 Jan 10 - 10:03 AM

...and, if possible, within the view of a lounge or kitchen window, of course.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: ragdall
Date: 03 Jan 10 - 11:15 AM

The usual winter birds are here:
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flickers
Black-capped chickadees
Red-breasted Nuthatches
Brown Creeper
Dark-eyed Juncos
Song Sparrows
House Sparrows
House Finches
European Starlings
Crows

I have three feeders hanging from the clothesline which goes through droopy branches of the Mountain Ash (Rowan). One feeder has wild finch seed, next has mixed sunflower seed, the third has a mixture of walnuts, almonds and peanuts that were too old to use in my baking. The nuts are all chopped into small pieces so the nuthatches can manage them.

I also have three suet baskets attached to different trunks on the Mountain Ash. Two have homemade beef suet laced with ground peanuts and raw sunflower seeds.

The other has a block made from the fat, bits of meat, etc. that was left over after I rendered the fat to make the other suet. The Starlings think this is wonderful. The crows have been trying to eat it too, but the openings in the suet basket are too small for big beaks. I've set out another block of "leavings" on a board for them, but it snowed so much after I put it out, I don't think they know it's there.

I see a squirrel occasionally in the tall trees at the far end of my garden, but it has shown no interest in coming near the house or the bird feeders. It's busy cutting cones off the evergreens and running off with them.

rags


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 03 Jan 10 - 11:39 AM

Yesterday I picked up a couple of those shepherd's crooks for hanging bird feeders on the other side of my driveway from the kitchen window. I have a smallish juniper tree near the window but they cluster in it so heavily they're kind of hard on it (the plant has issues I hope to finally address this spring). So they're on the other side of the drive.

Having a source of water is very helpful. And while you do need trees nearby, don't make it so close that the feeder looks like a trap. They do take a while to discover a new source of food, especially in what isn't a logical place. Plant some bird attractant shrubs (something with berries or seeds that stick around during the winter) this spring so they're near the feeder next year and the discovery process will be considerably shorter.

Yesterday on my way from the post office to the bank I crossed an open stretch of prairie and spotted a large red tailed hawk perched on a tree beside the road, surveying the prairie. I figure the critters are out feeding in the warmth of the afternoon, so Ms. Hawk was out hunting also.

Here at the house I've had various finches, cardinals, and sparrows at the feeders this week. It took them a while to discover them here even though I put out feeders every year. In year's past I've seen immature hawks stick near to the feeder, one even perched on top of the crook, hoping to get lucky (like the little birds are going to come feed with him right there!)

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: gnu
Date: 03 Jan 10 - 12:23 PM

I am anxiously awaiting our winter robin that feeds in the apple tree in Mum's yard. It came on 2008.02.16 and 2009.01.06 when it was extremely cold. Very mild here for the past 2 weeks with day temps near zerc C.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 03 Jan 10 - 05:08 PM

A gorgeous pair of cardinals were out there feeding while I washed dishes. And a one-eyed sparrow was camped out on the tray of the thistle seed feeder. Looked like he was making the most of his good eye, very alert as he pigged out. :)

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: Charley Noble
Date: 03 Jan 10 - 05:14 PM

Here's a link to a live webcam that is scanning the Chahallis estuary in British Columbia for eagles fishing for salmon: Click here for video!

The website is maintained by the David Hancock Wildlife Foundation.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: ragdall
Date: 03 Jan 10 - 08:11 PM

Today we added Common Redpolls and Bohemian Waxwings to our garden.

gnu?
Do you think the gull was dumpster diving? That's a pretty big trout for a seagull to carry. I guess that's why it fell?   I wonder if the birds went back to get it after the traffic slowed down? It was a big prize to forfeit.

It's exciting when you can be fairly certain that the same bird has returned, year after year. When are you expecting the temperatures to drop down to robin weather?

rags


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 04 Jan 10 - 09:40 AM

Just my usual tits, my black bird (who has fully fledged but is still rather small... late brood I suspect), the robin, sparrows, wood pigeon and a very surprised black headed gull.

However, I have today, purchased some new feeders and a fat block with insects so hopefully there'll be enough to attract more to the garden. My cats are quite good in regards to the birds, but the herd from up the road are not so polite - they sit under the shrubs and wait, dribbling....

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 04 Jan 10 - 05:09 PM

Having read that from Liz, I checked in google and it's wood pigeons not "collared doves" (above) in a tree near my window.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: Raptor
Date: 04 Jan 10 - 08:31 PM

A feeding tip: Go to your butcher and request the beef fat leftover from trimming they throw it out anyway so you can usualy get it free., Then put it out in an onion bag the woodpeckers and nuthatches love it and its free. Only at lower temps mind you so it doesn't get rancid.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: Janie
Date: 04 Jan 10 - 09:10 PM

Are squirrels attracted to it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 05 Jan 10 - 03:10 AM

The butchers I know mince up the fat for suet, so no joy there. There's an astonishing array of fat balls and suet slabs available now - some have berry flavours, some have mealworms and others dried insects in them. I have visions of a family of tits gathered round a bird table whilst a waiter pigeon hands them a menu, recommending the mealworms... I think I had too much gin last night.

When it gets a bit lighter, I'll be replacing my old feeders with some new ones I got yesterday - hope they don't notice the difference! It must be cold down the river today, I've just seen a cormorant fly past.

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: open mike
Date: 05 Jan 10 - 04:32 AM

i saw a bald eagle on christmas day...sitting on the ground..
near a flock of ducks...(or geese?) probably dreaming of dinner.

I plan to have my radio show this sat. on the theme of birds...
will start a thread to search for bird songs...i mean human songs
about birds...


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 05 Jan 10 - 04:47 AM

Tip: Blackbirds and thrushes love grapes (or any kind of dried fruit). I have 2 blackbirds on my way to work that will actually take a grape from my hand.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 05 Jan 10 - 05:03 AM

And the grapes they love, Sminky, may be good for them, too - BUT I don't know...and could it be that, just as we humans sometimes eat foods that taste good but may not be healthy for us, so too with birds and other animals. Is there a need for more scientific work here..?


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 05 Jan 10 - 05:07 AM

What I thought was a pigeon on the chimney pot of the house opposite, is actually a kestrel, looking very cheesed off...

Open Mike - UK singer Derek Gifford has done a similar thing - he was at Chippenham Festival in 2008 with a whole concert of birdwatching songs - songs that mention birds in them.

'The snow it melts the soonest' - mentions woodcock in one of the verses.

There are many tunes and songs about the hunting of the wren, which is right for this time of year (just... Boxing Day and Twelfth Night in certain years)- the Chieftains 'The Bells of Dublin' CD and the Boys of the Lough 'MidWinter Nights Dream' (aka 'Da Day Dawns') has some great ones.

'She moved through the fair' mentions swans.... and there are so many more.

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 05 Jan 10 - 06:21 AM

Is there a need for more scientific work here..?

Dunno, WAV, maybe. Certainly some commercial bird foods contain currants/raisins specifically for blackbirds. All I know is that I've been feeding them grapes for years and they keep coming back for more.

I reckon wild creatures know what's good/bad for them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 05 Jan 10 - 08:34 AM

What is a grape but a fruit - just like blackberries, raspberries and sloes... It has to be tastier than the ivy and firethorn berries that a blackbird and what looks suspiciously like a cross between a thrush and a blackbird (I suspect it's a female blackbird with a mottled breast because it's not pale enough and the wrong shape to be a thrush) have been systematically stripping from my garden fences. Perhaps I'll hang one of my bunches of elderly grapes from the firethorn and watch what happens....

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 05 Jan 10 - 08:56 AM

I think you're probably both right about grapes, but I still question this view: "I reckon wild creatures know what's good/bad for them" (Sminky)..? What about when animals do consume, from humans, foods that are very different from their natural diet..?


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 05 Jan 10 - 09:22 AM

...although, on a lighter note, I have to admit that seagulls seem to do very well, indeed, on potato chips without the fishing!


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 05 Jan 10 - 09:36 AM

Scavenging animals will eat practically anything. If a creature suffers the ill-effects of eating something harmful it is unlikely to repeat the activity either (a) because it is dead, or (b) because it has learned its lesson.

This also applies to humans.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 05 Jan 10 - 09:38 AM

The difference is when 'human' food is a supplement or a replacement. The odd chip is not going to kill a gull, they are naturally scavengers rather than fish hunters and potatoes are organic things... grapes, breadcrumbs and bacon rinds are also reasonably organic and full of goodness. The danger comes when these 'human' foods are the sole source of nutrition. Ducks that eat little else but bread crusts are in danger of becoming malnourished - just like humans if they eat nothing else but rabbit meat. It will fill their bellies but it doesn't provide vital nutrients and in smaller ducks has the potential to be hazardous if stale bread is given.

Chimpanzees are considered to be vegetarian and passive, but they've been filmed hunting down and eating smaller monkeys in their natural habitat.. on the whole, animals know what they need - just like we'll have a craving for salty snacks or a glass of water - they get what they can, whilst they can get it.

This is why it's important to have a variety of foods available for your birds. If you put out crusts, sooner or later, you'll only get birds that can eat/digest crusts. Put out nijer, sunflower and other seeds, you'll get a variety.

I added a house sparrow to the list, he was on the new feeder about 20 mins ago.. he looked a lot happier with this style of feeder because it has little perches that he can sit on to eat - the others he had to hover and he wasn't very good at that.

I also broke the ice on the pond for them, but I doubt they'll want a bath....

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 05 Jan 10 - 10:45 AM

The feeding guide that came with my new feeders states that whole bacon shouldn't be given to wild birds - presumably the salt content of a whole slice of bacon would be fatal... but a little bit of rind occasionally is OK. It also advises against peanuts unless they're from a reliable source (some nasty fungus can infect it and kill the birds) and in a small mesh cage or net so they aren't taken whole and thus choke smaller birds.

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: bubblyrat
Date: 06 Jan 10 - 09:29 AM

I have been putting out bread on the snow in my graveyard. Initial interest came from tits & finches,but soon the feral "racing" pigeons muscled in & took over. They in turn were usurped by a group of seagulls, which I took exception too,and frightened off by standing in my doorway,opening & closing a large black umbrella ; seagulls don't seem to like that much.
            Then a large black crow appeared,and made off with a choice chunk of my burnt breakfast toast, also in the snow. Later,I shall make some tasty treats from stale bread and congealed olive oil (from my frying pan) for the smaller birdies,and hang them up somewhere.It's something to do, now that I'm confined to the house due to all the snow we have had ....half the gravestones have vanished, Dusty Springfield's having been one of the first ones to be snow-covered !


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: bubblyrat
Date: 06 Jan 10 - 09:30 AM

Exception to, not too ! Damn that Jameson's Irish Whiskey !


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: EBarnacle
Date: 06 Jan 10 - 10:37 AM

We still haven't figured out who our tenant on the light at night is. This morning, however, I saw a couple of Slate Colored Juncos foraging on the porch. The usual vultures have been around.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 06 Jan 10 - 11:14 AM

I leave diced ox hearts out for the three young foxes. If there's any left over in the morning then it's 1) seagulls 2) magpies and 3) blackbirds, in that order, who polish it off.

It's just about the one thing that pigeons can't/won't eat.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 06 Jan 10 - 11:21 AM

Another gorgeous red-tailed hawk this morning, next to the road (maybe she's keeping an eye out for roadkill).

Beautiful house or purple finch on the feeder yesterday morning.

Last evening I was driving past a shopping center with a lot of trees and power lines nearby, and there was a dense cluster of starlings and grackles circling; this megaflock so much more dense than I've usually seen. It really did look like a scene out of The Birds. Lots of poop hit the truck as I passed under them also. Yuck.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 06 Jan 10 - 12:43 PM

Just had a smile over battling Bubblyrat's last two posts!


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: Alan Day
Date: 06 Jan 10 - 06:26 PM

Sat watching three Avocets feeding on the bank of the River Debben nr Woodbridge last week. Beautiful birds.
Al


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 07 Jan 10 - 02:47 PM

I've only seen them on TV, so far, but I agree, Alan - very elegant.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: ragdall
Date: 07 Jan 10 - 07:38 PM

My six starlings have multiplied to about thirty and are in danger of taking over every feeder in the garden, including the hanging nut feeder. This afternoon a Norther Flicker was hanging from it when a European Startling landed on the other side and the two seesawed back and forth on it, trying to gobble nut bits. In the end, the Flicker had to let go and left the starling to clean up.

I'm afraid that soon I'll have nothing but starlings. I'm happy to feed one or two of them, but not the entire extended family! I wonder how I can discourage them without frightening away the other birds? They seem to be able to eat any sort of food so removing their food source isn't an option.

rags


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 08 Jan 10 - 09:12 AM

The cold weatther has brought record numbers of species into our Ascot garden this week. Fieldfares for the first time in ages and redwings for the first time & redpolls again. When we lived in Stanmore 20+ years ago and had apple trees we got flockc of redwings & fieldfares on the windfalls every year.

RtS


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 09 Jan 10 - 10:03 AM

Crows'/Snows' Nest!


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: bubblyrat
Date: 09 Jan 10 - 02:27 PM

Wild Flying Dove and I ( Karen Hemmingham and me, Roger Vaughan Mills ) have now done a little video of birdies feeding,with me playing some Carolan tunes in the background----it's on You Tube !!


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 10 Jan 10 - 06:28 AM

With the cold weather reaching the West of Clare there seems to be a change in the birds visiting the garden. There are loads (and I mean loads) of redwings around and I even spotted a two snipe in the garden (and more in the fields around). Blackbirds and thrushes are closer to the house (and visiting the birdfeeders) too in addition to the usual flurry of robins, finches and tits.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 10 Jan 10 - 06:33 AM

I saw a smashing pair of tits from the bedroom window this morning!


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 10 Jan 10 - 06:34 AM

On thinking about it, they might have been Robin Redbreasts.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 10 Jan 10 - 06:36 AM

Oi Bubbles! Giss a link! in brackets please, her says!! Posh beggar


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: Alan Day
Date: 10 Jan 10 - 06:45 AM

Somehow in this weather you feel very responsible for birds and animals.
Even the little fox is coming to my call.
Al


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 10 Jan 10 - 06:51 AM

Brambling at the bird table this morning


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: Arnie
Date: 10 Jan 10 - 09:38 AM

Today I watched a Scandinavian Redwing stripping the berries from our holly tree. These redwings cross the Atlantic in flocks to overwinter in the UK - unfortunately they've now stripped the holly tree bare and left nothing for my usual blackbirds and robins! I scatter birdseed in the garden but unfortunately the snow is still coming down and tends to cover up the seed before the birds get to it. Sadly, the green woodpecker that has visited for the past few winters has not shown up at all this year.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: Janie
Date: 11 Jan 10 - 07:07 AM

ragdall, if you will feed only black oil sunflower seed, in the shell, the starlings will leave the feeders alone. They can not crack open the shell.


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Subject: RE: BS: Birdwatching 2010
From: GUEST,Callingbird
Date: 11 Jan 10 - 07:42 AM

Redwings in trees surrounding a car park in Altrincham, Cheshire this morning.

Lovely


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