Bird Report - February 2018
It's always nice to see a Robin in the garden so February was a bonus for me as I saw one on many occasions. On the 16th two were under the feeder - you rarely see two Robins together apart from the breeding season as they are feisty little birds and don't like competition! Mealworms are a favourite so it's a good idea to throw a few on the ground; today I saw a one feeding on an apple.
Photo of Robin by Ian Cunningham.
I threw out food on the front path on February 3rd and it wasn't long before 3 Hooded Crows located it - I am always amazed where the birds come from as soon as a morsel is thrown out, particularly Gulls which seem to have a sixth sense!
A walk at Newark Bay on the 3rd saw a large group of Wigeon and Mallards out at sea. A lot of Oystercatchers were in the adjacent field, obviously back from their winter quarters (although in view of the weather at the end of the month they would have been better delaying their return as the ground was frozen and no beaks would have been able to penetrate it). As I walked back to the car I spotted a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers in the bay.
I was walking up the road from Newark on the 4th - a lovely day with blue skies - when I was amazed to hear a Skylark singing from high up in the air. This is very early but my ears did not deceive me as only a few days later a group of the species was in Russell's field and once again singing was taking place - lovely to hear.
Around Sunnybank on the 13th and 16th we had the inevitable Robin, 2 Redwings were in the field and 6 Greenfinches added a splash of colour.
I took another walk at Newark with my dog on the 18th and was treated to fine views of a variety of waders - Oystercatchers, Purple Sandpipers, Sanderling, Turnstones and 15 Knot. Also included in the tally were Wigeon, Mallard and a Glaucous Gull feeding on a dead seal. Glaucous Gulls are identified by being pure white apart from pale grey wings (no black).
It's always a pleasure to see a Dunnock so I smiled when I spotted one pecking around under a tree in the garden - this is a typical scenario for them.
There was a nice end to the month when I was lucky to catch a quick look at a Goldfinch as it flew past the house the landed on the gate before flying off again. A lovely colourful bird as our photo shows.
Photo of Goldfinch on teasel plants by Alan Cooper.
The extreme weather at the end of the month and into March caused great difficulties for our birds so it's even more important to give them a helping hand until the bad weather eases. In addition to bird feed and peanuts cooked rice and soaked bread are both good as are apples, pears, grapes, sultanas, oats. I put out fat balls but notice that these were untouched, probably because these had become frozen in the extremely low temperatures. Equally important is water and this should be renewed each morning or more frequently if this is freezing during the day.
Let's hope things will have warmed up significantly by the time I write my next report.