Saturday, 6 November 2010

A field full of birds

One of the large fields next to Kingsdown Road seems to have a weedy crop of grass growing at the moment. There were quite a few birds in and out of it today and I spent some time watching them, in the hope that something unexpected might appear.

The largest number of birds in the field were Linnets, with around 200. Meadow Pipits were fairly numerous, and occasionally one would fly up into the hedgerow. On the one above it is possible to see the long hind claw that is characteristic of this pipit. Disappointingly this was the only Pipit species around.

Chaffinch was another species that sometimes took refuge in the hedgerow. I didn't see many feeding on the ground but there were probably a few hidden away in the weedy edges. As I walked along a tractor track quite a few Skylarks were on the move. I estimated that there were about 30 in the area. The surprise came near one corner when a group of Woodlarks flew up calling. There were at least five, but as they flew off towards the golf course they seemed to be joined by another small group that may also have been this species. I did wander over to where I though they may have landed but failed to re-locate them.

It's always good to see some Yellowhammers around, they seem to be making a bit of a recovery in the area. There were at least 12 around and looked like bright fruit on this bush. Looking through them I did find on Reed Bunting, but nothing to raise the pulse.

When they flew down onto the filed they mostly disappeared out of view, but occasionally one would appear in the shorter stuff.

A bird that has been noticeable by it's near absence in the garden this Autumn has been the House Sparrow. I had hoped that the widespread decline wasn't going to affect the local numbers, but there certainly seem less around now than in previous years. With this is mind I was pleased to see a dozen or so in the hedge as Kingsdown Road comes onto the village. Overall I'm getting far fewer birds feeding in the garden that usual. Whether this is an indication that the disease that has decimated the Greenfinch population in some places has hit bird in the area I don't know, I haven't found any sick birds. Perhaps the beginning of winter forecast for later nest week will bring more birds in.

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