Thursday, 27 December 2007

Grey Heron

While taking my aunt back home to Upper Beeding after a Boxing Day spent at my mums, we spotted a heron on the roundabout island near the A27 flyover. My aunt said that the heron is often seen on the roundabout. It was early evening, about 5.00pm so it had been dark for sometime.

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Mild Weather

After the last week of frost and bitter cold winds it only takes a mild day and a small swarm of midges have appeared over our garden pond. There is also a small swarm in the front garden over the flower border.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Gold and Greenfinch

A row of tall trees along the roadside just north of Easthill Park are used as a meeting place for both goldfinch and greenfinch before they head off to roost. The goldfinch and greenfinch appear to stick to adjacent trees instead of mixing. They are very noisy and difficult to miss. However, up in the top most branches they can easily be mistaken for sparrows by passers by.

There were about 12 goldfinches as I past at 3.20pm (on my way to pick our daughter up from school). The adjacent tree had about 30 greenfinches. As I watched a flock of noisy starlings descended into the next tree along. Goldfinches really are beautiful birds and this is a good time to spot then as they travel around in small noisy groups. Goldfinches will also visit gardens at this time of the year. They are particularly fond of the black sunflower seeds. These goldfinches appeared to glow as they caught the last rays of the sun

Friday, 14 December 2007

Long-tailed tits and Spotted Woodpeckers

This is a great time of year for bird watching as many of the trees have lost their foliage for the winter and birds are easier to spot. Some of the smaller birds form foraging groups making them more visible and audible as they call to each other in the branches. I observed a flock of about 12 long-tailed tits in my local park (Easthill, Portslade) yesterday. While this bird is not a member of the true tit family (Paridae) they are similar in size, shape and behaviour. They are always on the go makiing them quite difficult to photograph. I have spotted long-tailed tits during the winter months on many occasions over the last few years in local parks. I have only once seen them nesting. This was a few years back in St Annes Well Park in Hove.

Another welcome winter visitor to Easthill park is the great spotted woodpecker. I am often alerted to its presence by the drumming sound of its territorial song. For the first time this year I have recorded two individuals in the same park. My observations show this woodpecker forages quite extensively in the park and surrounding area, including street trees and even a telegraph pole.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

As a wildlife author and environmental educator I visit many habitats from coastline to countryside. However, I often find the best opportunities for wildlife watching are on our own doorstep. While the countryside is shrinking, urban habitats (parks, gardens, wasteland etc) are becoming increasingly important as a refuge for wildlife. Here, wildlife becomes accustomed to our presence providing unique opportunities to see wildlife up close. However, this weblog is not just a record of my observation but my hope is that it will encourage you to take a closer look at your own local habitats, I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised.