Posted by: atowhee | April 17, 2014

OXBOROUGH BIRDS

Oxborough is a moated Tudor manor house in village of the same name, western Norfolk. Here young QEI was kept prisoner for some years before she became queen. Today we commoners can roam the halls for a small fee. And bird the grounds.oxbr hall1
y-wag cu
Y-WAG1This is a Yellow Wagtail, one of three species found in England. Wagtails are cousins of pipits, liking water, rock and open spaces. They are slender, perky birds and pipit-sized. Insectivores with quick, energetic motions. I have seen their Pied Wagtails cousins hunting the roofs of castles or lawns at Stonehenge. The Gray Wagtail is almost always on a riverbank.

Y-WAG FLY
Here the wagtail’s motion produces a vaporous image as the bird seems to move as fast as light reflects from its wings.
y-wag flutr

Look at top of the barley twist (Victorian add-on) in lower right: Jackdaw snacking amidst speldor.
jaxck snack3

jack snack2

jack snackjack-chim

jack on crown

G-T TAIL Great Tit entering nest box.

chaf-in-bsh1 Chaffinch feeding in espaliered vine.

carp-moatCarp in the moat.

bughouse2 A “bughouse.”

bughouse1oxbr b-fly

Posted by: atowhee | April 17, 2014

RED KITE ON THE RIVER VER

We were in Verulamium Park today, named for the old Roman city that preceded St. Albans…and a Red Kite soared over us. It was the first time I’d seen this species in this country. It successfully was re-introduced in the last forty years…after having been exterminated. Back in Shakespeare time the Red Kite was abundant, cleaning the offal and awful off the streets and roads.RKITE1

RKITE2 Those missing feathers on the wings show molt in process. This spring several kites have died in one part of England from poison. Persons or persons responsible have not been found. It is not known whether they were the intended target or simply ate other poisoning victims. Red Kites like Ravens and Bald Eagles are voracious scavengers as well as hunters. I’ve seen them thick at trash dumps in Morocco where landfills are a foreign concept. There they compete with the White Storks and human rag-pickers for the best goodies

Posted by: atowhee | April 16, 2014

NORFOLK GALLERY

BLBD-FML-X Female Blackbird with meal on board, Mundford village green.HOSP BATHFemale House Sparrow having a dust bath in a Mundford driveway.

MUNFRD SIGN-AMy only Stone Curlew picture, on the back of the city coat arms, Mundford village green.

rape flwrs Rapeseed field in bloom. The seeds are pressed for oil and used as a biofuel. In the mustard family, obviously.

ROK SIGN Sign of the Rook.
ROOK COLONY Rook colony at Oxborough. At one point a common Buzzard (Buteo) floated past and the colony erupted in screams and alarms.
ROOK-GRND
Rooks.
RROK-FLT1 Here’s how the Corvids sort out here generally: Carrion Crows in cities. Magpies almost anywhere where man is present. Jackdaws (semi-colonial) in rural towns and around stone ruins or towers, both sacred and secular, from castle to abbey ruins. Rooks: neasting in tall deciduous trees near farms and water, colonial. Chough, in remote Cornwall and western Ireland where cattle graze near ocean cliffs. Ravens: Tower of London (semit-domestic) and remote coastal areas of Wales and other outer reaches. Jays: secretive bird of woods and city parks.

gtit-belly
Great Tit above.
mndfrd dawnDawn over Mundford.
wren

WREN-ALERT
Eurasian Wren, recently separated as species from Winter Wren complex, close cousin of Pacific Wren (but much shorter song) and the only wren in the Old World. Along with Song Thrush it is singing all the day long right now
wren-sing

wren-sing2

wren-sing3

swren-tailup

soth sing1
Song Thrush, this species alone can make a dawn chorus, the finest mimic of all European birds. No Mockers or Thrashers here.
soth dawn1

soth back

sheld2

RLP3
Red-legged Partridge, an introduced game bird.
RLP1

P1940775 Just before we left Mundford today I saw my first swallow of the trip, a lone House Martin.

Posted by: atowhee | April 15, 2014

JACK OF ALL TRADES

In rural villages and towns with old castles or tall cathedral steeples the English Jackdaw is omnipresent and omnivocal. Next to the astounding astronomical feat that is Stonehenge the most interesting part of a visit is watching the Jackdaws fly to and from crevices between the megaliths…and watching the Pied Wagtails cruise the lawn.
Here in Mundford the Jackdaw rules the town in daylight. He hides at night when we saw a Tawny Owl hunting from Chimney pots.
jackK-FTHR1Clearly it’s time for any self-respecting Corvid to feather his or her nest. And Jackdaws are never short of self-respect. They preen, court, cavort and call from dominants perches all over town. In flight you hear their sharp “jack-jack-jack” calls over the modest buildings of Munford.
JACK-CURB

JACK-CURB1

JACK-CURB3

JACK-FTHR-BJACCK FTHR4

JACK-FTHR-C

JACKL-FTHR-A
Here we have Jackdaw on chimney pot, or simply put: jack-pot.
JACK-POT The Jackdaw is the smallest of European Corvids, about the size of a Flicker but heftier. They are social, unafraid of humans and busy all day long. I never see them in London and rarely in the open countryside where the larger Rooks dominate. Here is Jack in his natural habitat:
JACK-ROOF1

Posted by: atowhee | April 15, 2014

JOLLY GOOD CHAF

In English-flavored movies there is always the hackneyed moment with some British git (pretend git, of course) says about the known villain, “He always seemed like a jolly good chap.”
Well, I’ve been hanging around lately, here in outer Norfolk, with some jolly good ChaffsCHFF-2

CHFF3

CHFF4

CHFF5

CHFF6

CHFF7This sequence shows a male Chaffinch drinking from a moss=-covered stone bird bath in front of a three hundred year old flint and brick house near the center of Mundford, Norfolk, England. In the lasty image he launches himself into the air as he departs.

CHFF8

.CHFF JUMPS
CHAF-ROADChaffinch pair on roadside, Mundford.

CHAF-VINE Chaffinch feeding on espaliered vine at Oxborough Manor House, Norfolk.

CHAF-VINE2

CHAF-VINE3

Posted by: atowhee | April 13, 2014

STOP THE BIRD MURDER

American writer Jonathan Franzen has written of the senseless murder for fun across southern Europe. Now a British naturalist is trying to get something organized to stop this semi-annual slaughter of migrating birds. This takes places in numerous countries from Spain to Turkey. The poster-child for this killing has become Malta, an island amidst the stream of north or southbound birds twice each year. Gunners stand on cliff faces and fire away at the migrating birds each spring and each fall. Keeping score.
If you can help Chris Packham with his campaign to expose and eventually stop this bird slaughter, click here for more information. He’s hoping crowd-funding will support his campaign.</a
One of the birds you can help save is this talented songster, the Blackcap:
bc sings1

Posted by: atowhee | April 12, 2014

SATURDAY’S BIRDS

I have most of the easy-to-find urban birds but I did manage to add three more species to my trip list today:
Grey Heron, Long-tailed Tit (related to our Bushtit) and Goldcrest, one of two kinglet species found in Europe. I have yet to see a woodpecker or a cormorant or a falcon. Starting Monday we will be in Suffolk and in more rural habitats.
bc sings1
Blackcap singing from a trretop, a melodious, full-throated song. Looks very much like a smaller version of the American Catbird.
BC SINGS2

BROCK-MAP
Brockwell Park, situated between Brixton and Herne Hill in south London.
CROW-LAWN Crow out for a stroll.

magsx4 There is a folk rhyme here that even my grand-daughters know: “Magpie”
“One is for sorrow
Two for joy
Three for a letter,
Four for a boy,
Five for a secret never to be told,
Six for silver,
Seven for gold.”

mstl-1 Mistle Thrush, larger than most New World thrushes, alover of grasslands.

mstl-2

mstl-3

brkwell green Looking to the top of Brockweel Park across its lush greensward.

cro-flk

gry-hern Grey Heron in Brockwell Park pond.

P1940449 Chiffchaff, looking much like an American Orange-crowned Warbler. The bird’s call can be characterized as “chiff…chaff…chiff…chaff.”

CHIFF

Below: Goldcrest moving through the treetops.
GOLDCSTgoldcrst leap

P1940444

Brockwell Park, London, GB-ENG
Apr 12, 2014 8:15 AM. 19 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) X
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) X
Gray Heron (Ardea cinerea) 1
Eurasian Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) X
Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) 7
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) (Columba livia (Domestic type)) 35
Common Wood-Pigeon (Columba palumbus) 20
Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri) 15
Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) 8
Carrion Crow (Corvus corone) 60
Great Tit (Parus major) 2
Eurasian Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) 4
Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus) 1
Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) 1
European Robin (Erithacus rubecula) X
Eurasian Blackbird (Turdus merula) 16
Mistle Thrush (Turdus viscivorus) 3
Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) X
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) 2

Dulwich Park, London, GB-ENG
Apr 12, 2014 3:00 PM. 19 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) X
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) X
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula) X
Eurasian Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) X
Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra) X
Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) 1
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) (Columba livia (Domestic type)) X
Common Wood-Pigeon (Columba palumbus) X
Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri) X
Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) X
Carrion Crow (Corvus corone) X
Great Tit (Parus major) X
Eurasian Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) X
Eurasian Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) X
Goldcrest (Regulus regulus) 1
Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita) 2
European Robin (Erithacus rubecula) X
Eurasian Blackbird (Turdus merula) X
Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) X

Posted by: atowhee | April 11, 2014

DULWICH FRIDAY

BTIT C-UBlue Tit in treetop.

cherry petals
Cherry petals in the gutter as nature’s profligacy makes April an ephemeral bouquet.
crowfileCarrion Crow in a shot that can be called a “crowfile.”

EUR-JAY CLR The reclusive Eurasian Jay, hasving gathered some food meant for pigeons.

jay-side

mag-hieMagpie.

MAGPIE GRND1

nuth “The” Nuthatch.

parathree Ring-necked Parakeets, a highly successful introduced species.

rbn in tree European Robin from below.

wopi stareWood Pigeon.

Dulwich Park, London, GB-ENG
Apr 11, 2014 4:00 PM. 18 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) X
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) X
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula) X
Eurasian Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) X
Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra) X
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) (Columba livia (Domestic type)) X
Common Wood-Pigeon (Columba palumbus) X
Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri) X
Eurasian Jay (Garrulus glandarius) 1
Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) X
Carrion Crow (Corvus corvus)
Blue Tit X
Eurasian Nuthatch (Sitta europaea) 1
Eurasian Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) X
Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita) 1
European Robin (Erithacus rubecula) X
Eurasian Blackbird (Turdus merula) X
Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) X

Posted by: atowhee | April 10, 2014

GOOD GREBE!

LITL GRBEThis is the smallest European grebe, Little Grebe. Once widely called “Dabchick” in England.
PARA FEEDINGAn adult Ring-necked Parakeet feeding a fledgling. Dulwich Park. Below an adult Magpie feeding its fledgling.MAGP FEEDINGBLBD FMALAbove female Eurasian Blackbird, dark brown with barely visible chest streaking.
Below an uncommon House Sparrow. This species along with the European Starling is in sharp decline in England.
HOSP IN H-HILL

TUDU BACKTufted Duck male with tuft in tow.

TRKEY OAKThis huge tree is a turkey oak, growing in Dulwich Park for about 150 years. Beneath the oak is a normal-sized park bench with a tall man seated on it. This species is native to southeast Europe and Turkey.
Below: the Eurasian Robin after which our American Robin was named.

RBN ON PST

Posted by: atowhee | April 9, 2014

HERNE HILL GALLERY

BTIT-UP1Blue Tit, tiny member of the chickadee clan.

BTIT-UP2

CHAFF-SING1
Singing Chaffinch, larger than American House Finch. It’s song is like the emphatic trill of the Song Sparrow followed by the buzzy final notes heard from a House Finch.
CHAFF-SING2

DUNN2The secretive Dunnock, but the camera wanted to focus on the limb behind this bird.

SPARHWK-1Sparrowhawk circling over Herne Hill. Near cousin of the American Cooper’s Hawk, most common urban raptor in London. Buzzards, related to Red-tails, found mostly in rural areas as are falcons, harriers and kites.
This hawk appears to be carrying prey.
sphawk with prey

WOPI-FLWRWood Pigeon dining on cherry blossoms.B-FLY1
Eurasian Robin in the grass:
RBN ON GRND

Herne Hill, London, GB-ENG
Apr 9, 2014 8:00 AM. 11 species

Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) 1–photographed in flight
Common Wood-Pigeon (Columba palumbus) X
Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri) X
Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) X
Carrion Crow (Corvus corone) X
Great Tit (Parus major) X
Eurasian Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) X

Brockwell Park, London, GB-ENG
Apr 9, 2014 11:00 AM. 13 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) X
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) X
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula) X
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) (Columba livia (Domestic type)) X
Common Wood-Pigeon (Columba palumbus) X
Rose-ringd Parakeet
Carrion Crow (Corvus corone) X
Great Tit (Parus major) X
Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus) X
European Robin (Erithacus rubecula) X
Eurasian Blackbird (Turdus merula) X
Dunnock (Prunella modularis) 1
Eurasian Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) 1
European Robin (Erithacus rubecula) X
Eurasian Blackbird (Turdus merula) X
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) 1
Chaffinch singing constantly

St. Albans, Hertfordshire, GB-ENG
Apr 8, 2014 3:45 PM. 7 species

Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) 1
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) (Columba livia (Domestic type)) X
Common Wood-Pigeon (Columba palumbus) X
Carrion Crow (Corvus corone) X
European Robin (Erithacus rubecula) X
Eurasian Blackbird (Turdus merula) X
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) 1

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