I anticipate that most articles in this edition of VV will commence with “what a strange time its been”. This article is no exception but in a strange way it’s been for the better. Due to the obvious C19 I was forced to forgo several sets of eyes for this year’s watch as “flocks of humans” were not permitted to meet. The extreme quiet experienced from little traffic, almost no aircraft and zero human chattering heightened my sense of hearing to the beautiful cacophony of morning song. What a sheer delight ?
One extra shift was added this year to the usual 3 with an extra outing in March. This slotted in just before lockdown when 5 of us patrolled the Common in order to catch those early spring arrivals. A solitary “Chiff” from a Chiff Chaff was the first clue that things were stirring but early Whitethroat and Blackcap were not spotted.
In April I was forced to go out alone but managed stay a distance from keen birder Ray who tagged along behind. Full vocals were heard from our resident Blackbirds, Song Thrush and Dunnock, a complete joy including Wren and yes, the Blackcap.
Three House Martins were spotted later in the month starting to nest under the eaves at the First school. Opposite, in the soffit of the Cottages,resident House Sparrows were busying away preparing their nests too. By May all migrating arrivals should be around but alas like previous years no Swifts or Swallows although some were back at Puttenham Farm. The count on the Common was similar to last year but Greenfinch had not as yet been seen.
On my final stroll In June we were aware that the long tailed tits and Goldfinch, so plentiful during April were absent and not a solitary Coal tit had been seen at all. On the plus side however we enjoyed several glorious of sightings whilst singing (Beak I.D’s) of the Wren, Blackcap and Song Thrush. The Icing on the cake was a seeming return of the Greenfinch following a recent decline with a group of fledglings spotted near to the Village Hall. At the Pond Mallards still reign supreme with Moorhen and the occasional Coot. Many broods of ducklings were hatched but sadly I hear, a lot fell fowl to a resident Heron !
Please see enclosed list of all birds seen or heard during each of my four, 2 hour wanders. I am by no means an expert but bird songs can be very distinctive and is a most useful way to identify a type. I was unaware of any “unusual” chirps or cheeps on our walks and the list shows numbers very similar to last year with an average of 23 different species identified. Add to this a further14 identified during the Spring making 37 different species locally spotted. Following an earlier Facebook post I would love to take Ale with other local interested parties to chew over this “Covid Count.” and listen to all your experiences. Let’s hope The Red Lion garden will be up and running again for August Bank holiday weekend … Put it in your Diary !
Bill Sadler 81 5798
|(Tony Mary Ray)||BS/RS||BS/RS||BS/RS|
|Likely Species||March 8th||April 5th||May 3rd||June 7th||Notes|
|Blackcap||1||1||1||First hearing 15/3|
|Chiff Chaff||1||1||1||1||First Hearing 19/3|
|House Martin||1||3 x First School 21/4|
|Long Tailed Tit||1|
|Mallard||1||1||1||1||April 6 ducklings (ate by heron)|
|Willow Warbler||Heard 26/4|
|Spotted Woodpecker||1||1||1||Drumming 28/3|
|Seen elsewhere (GV)||Gomme Valley||Willow Warbler, Whitethroat,Yellow Hammer, CoaL Tit, Goldcrest, Skylark, Kestrel, Buzzard, Tawny, Swallow , Green Wood, Mistle Thrush|
|Totals||22||23||23||21||Kestrel, Buzzard, Tawny, Swallow , Green Wood, Mistle Thrush, (14)|