nature notes

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bigyetiman
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Re: nature notes

Post by bigyetiman » Wed Aug 21, 2019 12:30 pm

This brought back memories of us seeing the breeding Bee eaters in Durham in 2002, and the ones that took up residence in Nottinghamshire in 2017 but failed to breed.. They have bred successfully on the Isle of Wight and Cumbria in recent years. I remember the way they catch a bee then toss it in the air so it is the right way round for them to bash the sting out of it.
Cattle Egrets have bred for the first time in Essex this year, they already have a colony in Cheshire Hen-Gen, and Purple Heron in Norfolk. Spoonbills have bred for the last two years in Yorkshire so who knows, they could be headng your way.
Wildebeest now that would be an interesting addition to the South Downs
dianefairhall
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Re: nature notes

Post by dianefairhall » Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:56 pm

I have just found this thread and it is so interesting. It will take me some time to read through it all. We have here on the Isle of Lewis one of the most successful reintroductions, that of the white-tailed eagle, also known as the fish-eagle, sea-eagle or flying barn door. They nest along the cliffs of Loch Erisort near us. Golden eagles are frequently seen, too. Of the smaller birds visiting our feeders we have the usual suspects - goldfinch, greenfinch, chaffinch, siskin,linnet, coal tit, tree sparrow and the house sparrows that nest in our pantiles. We have our own murmuration of starlings in winter, too.
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Hen-Gen
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Re: nature notes

Post by Hen-Gen » Thu Oct 24, 2019 8:04 am

Lucky you Diane. We have none of those birds you mention except for house sparrows and starlings. I understand that in Lewis this year you even had a couple of pairs of phalaropes so that’s our tourist trade wrecked 😉
Today I’m off to a meeting at the hall on biodiversity. We need to maintain our freedom from rats, stoats, weasels, ferrets (and mink) to protect our ground nesting birds. And really hedgehogs need to go too. Some of those predators are found on adjacent islands so we need to keep a constant watch. Personally I’d like to see a cull of skuas because though they are here like plagues of locusts but these islands have 60% of the world population so they are heavily protected. That’s not to say that a rumour abounds of one or two folk going out with darning needles and pricking the eggs when they find them. This means the eggs never hatch but the parents continue to incubate rather than laying fresh ones. But of course I could neither confirm nor deny such stories.
The main predators here are Greater Black Backed Gulls and Ravens. Both are hated by crofters but I love to see the ravens courtship displays in Jan/Feb when they tumble and fall in the sky.
If I could bring one bird back it would be the Black Tailed Godwit. Sadly gone from these parts for three years now. Colourful bird that can’t be missed.
On a chicken related theme starling go in droves through the pop holes and raid the vermin proof feeders as well as pooing everywhere. I can only conclude that they have learnt to sit on the opening plate en masse and thereby raid the pellets. They can empty a feeder in a day. Again they’ve only learnt this in the last two or three years. When I go to the sheds I close the pop holes from the outside and I have tennis rackets hanging on the inside wall. Unfortunately desperate situations call for desperate measures.
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bigyetiman
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Re: nature notes

Post by bigyetiman » Thu Oct 24, 2019 9:36 am

Lovely birds Godwits, we are lucky to have wintering areas for them along the Thames and at Rainham Marsh, they chatter away as well in their flocks, most wader flocks are quiet. Lovely to see in late summer, early autumn when they are still in summer plumage. Another stunning bird in summer plumage is Grey Plover. Raven always make us think of the mines in Cornwall where they display calling and tumble towards the sea.
We have a huge roost of Jackdaw in the woods at the back of us, C800 and love their sociable attitude to each other, as they chatter away.
One thing I miss are the wintering flocks of Eider off Essex and Norfolk coast which disappeared when commercial enterprises started to strip the seabed of shellfish using great big metal drag things. All the independent fisherman used to leave areas for future growth.
Another Essex sound of winter are the Brent geese.
Lucky you having your own Sea Eagles, magnificent birds.
You do need to keep a careful watch on anything that predates ground nesting birds as they can cause utter devastation in a short amount of time.
As in the case of Stephenson's Island where everything was ground nesting and the new Lighthouse keeper took some cats with him for company on his lonely stay. Several species became extinct as cats bred and roamed wild and free.
dianefairhall
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Re: nature notes

Post by dianefairhall » Thu Oct 24, 2019 8:28 pm

Hen Gen, we don't have problems with hedgehogs but they do down in South Uist where they were introduced. Introducing non-native creatures - or plants - is never a good idea. Thanks for the tip about the starlings - I will keep an eye on them but they're not usually in evidence during the day in any numbers. They just seen to congregate on our telephone wire in the evenings.

I like jackdaws, BYM - there used to be a pair that nested in a neighbour's chimney pot (disused) at our old house in Yorkshire and I could watch their antics from my bedroom. A very devoted couple, I miss watching them. I also miss the swallows that had been nesting in our outhouses for years. I hope the new owners are looking after them.

There were plans here to dredge for seaweed but luckily Scotgov saw sense and banned it. The seaweed is traditionally cut by hand which is sustainable. Sorry you miss your eiders - they are lovely to watch, too.
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Re: nature notes

Post by bigyetiman » Fri Oct 25, 2019 3:51 pm

The commercial fishery has now ceased, mainly because they stripped the sea bed, and we have noticed over the past couple of years, sea duck numbers are going back up on the north Norfolk coast, the Long tailed duck are back, a few Eiders, more Scoter than usual.
There is a nice flock of Eider on the Menai Strait, so we catch up with those if in Wales. A beautiful duck
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Marigold
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Re: nature notes

Post by Marigold » Wed Dec 25, 2019 8:54 am

Interesting long read for Christmas Day- https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-50822772

My husband used to be a ringer, and it was a tradition that on Christmas morning, the nets would be unfurled in our garden and he would do a round and ring whatever had been caught, in between each round of presents. Our daughters still remember the long waits for the next parcels if there were lots of birds in the nets. We used to go camping in August at Radipole Lake in Swanage when the children were little, with a group ringing migrant birds passing through the reed beds. This article brought it all back to me - especially the smell when we waded through the primeval mud with a load of birds, each in its individual ringing bag. And the migratory twitchers, who had slept out in the open, asking us if we had 'got anything?" as we returned to the ringing hut loaded with birds. They meant 'got anything rare for our tick lists?"
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Re: nature notes

Post by MrsBiscuit » Thu Jan 09, 2020 1:58 pm

On Saturday night we went out to a concert about 8.45pm. About 3 miles from home we rounded a bend on our hill to find 2 wild boar at the side of the road. They looked like immature adults to me, or possibly a female and one offspring - one was a bit bigger than the other, but neither was a fully grown male. They stood there quietly, and slowly ambled off. Unfortunately on Sunday I heard 3 gunshots in the afternoon, so I don't know if they are still there! We haven't seen boar round here before, although our builder said he used to come hunting in this area. In fact, we rarely hear or see any hunters or any game except partridge.
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Re: nature notes

Post by Hen-Gen » Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:37 pm

It’s great that things are coming back to where they once lived. Beavers and pine martens are back, wild boar in the Forest of Dene etc.
However the most amazing thing I read recently was about a cocaine baron in Colombia in South America. In the eighties he imported hippos to his grounds but when he died they were released. They have now reached unacceptable numbers and are to be controlled.
I don’t think it was an April fools joke.
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bigyetiman
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Re: nature notes

Post by bigyetiman » Fri Jan 10, 2020 4:47 pm

Sounds about right for people with more money that sense. Wonder what else he had that is now on the loose
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