Saturday, 21 July 2012

Dicky Bird Hop - Gracie Fields

After a sumptuous dinner of braised Pheasant followed by plum crumble and 'home made' custard we watched a none too convincing performance by the Team GB Olympic Football Team, who lost 0 - 2 against Brazil. With Hugh and Janet safely tucked in I opted for a night cap before bed
only to find they had laid on a fireworks display for me. They were in fact the start of a season of pyrotechnics, much the same as Weymouth on a Monday evening, in Bournemouth, a great finale to another good day.Spoilt for choice this morning, I could either have gone bombing around the south of England with Hugh (on business) or on my usual wander around the farm to check out the bird life, I went for the latter.
It will come as no great surprise to regular readers to know just how much I love being at
farmhouse, a little bit of paradise as far as I'm concerned. The greatest thrill today were the numbers of 'young birds' that have survived the continuous heavy rainfall over the past few weeks and I did set out with the intention of seeing how many species could be captured on camera. 
Oh, the chirruping of the birdies on the Sycamore tree. 
They're lucky to be so happy and free.
 I know that the chirruping sounds a little different to me.
 I hear them saying early ev'ry morn, "Get up! Get up! Get up!"
What better place to start than around the multitude of bird feeders, where it became immediately apparent how successful the humble, yet ubiquitous, HOUSE SPARROW has been.
GOLDFINCH too continue to feed young, and themselves, both in the nest and fledged juveniles,
while the CHAFFINCH on the face of it seem to have fared less well, this was the only one seen all day!
COLLARED DOVE are still all over the place despite not having recorded any juveniles,
while this lone GREAT TIT brought extra interest in that it was a 'ringed' bird.
WOOD PIGEON also feed here with probably 100's more throughout the property. From there it was always going to be worth a look at Parley Pond and the much smaller subsidiary pool where I immediately found a Sedge Warbler feeding young - Yes a bit too quick for me!
No young COOT were found,
unlike MOORHEN which also seem to have had a prolific season,
along with Mister and
which have brought off c5 CYGNETs.
Along the banks of the RIVER STOUR Grey Heron, Reed, Sedge and Cetti's Warbler were all in good voice but no sign of a Kingfisher likely washed out by the flood that almost reached the bungalow.
MALLARD seem to have done well too judging by the number of broods still tended by parent birds,
and CORMORANTs thrive on both pond and river without there being a breeding site hereabouts. While other Insect numbers remained low (only c2 Butterfly species recorded Small White and Meadow Brown)
BANDED DEMOISELLE female were hugging the river bank in almost plague proportions - hundreds.
 The Equestrian Centre was the starting point for an almost continuous chatter throughout the rest of the walk of both GREENFINCH and
STARLING even though each species has taken a serious tumble in numbers nationally in recent years.
Ever present PIED WAGTAIL also seem to have dodged the soggy conditions and bred well,
while the second most numerous species on the property BARN SWALLOW
occupy just about every nook in all of the dozens of stables and other outbuildings.
Young and adults alike cling to power cables and other perches. as do
their 'close cousins' the HOUSE MARTIN albeit in fewer numbers.
These nifty little Hirundines have found perfect nest sites under the eves of the Manor House where success is again very much in evidence.
Maybe not all together a bad thing, MAGPIE numbers seem to be diminished with only c3 seen all day, this being the nearest to the camera.
Several ROBINs were heard but this juvenile, moulting into a red breast, was the only one seen
and the usually numerous BLUE TIT were also thin on the ground.
BLACKBIRD were plentiful but totally unobliging, ans again surprisingly only
c2 PHEASANT were seen. This poor showing was more than made up for by the appearance of a covey of 8 to 10 Red-legged Partridge, these days an uncommon species on the farm. The 'highlight' for me as I have never recorded one during the month of July anywhere in Dorset.
On the way back to base and in quick succession an obliging and
probably 'cream crackered' - yawwwwwn - BARN SWALLOW was followed by distant
Finishing where I had started, there was a fine looking
GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER was swinging on the nut feeder, an ideal end to a worthwhile day.
 26 species in total were photographed!
The chirruping of the birdies on the Sycamore tree.
It's lovely to see them having a spree.
A cheeky one this morning popped up on the sill and said.
(Whistle) "Get out of bed!"

and finally, we extend an apology to Ms Mullins of Team GB Women's Beach Volleyball Pairs for yesterday's 'typo'. Her name, as I guess most of you know, is Shauna and not 'Sauna' although with the prospect of a 'Gold Medal' looming on the horizon in the near future she would be forgiven for getting a little steamed up.

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