A Surprise Garden Visitor

October 26, 2009 at 1:25 am

Tawny Owl

I have spent most of this week working on the Spitsbergen DVD so I have not had much time for ‘birding’

On Hopwood on two separate days I had flocks of thirty five Siskins and eighteen Redpolls – all feeding in the Birch trees. Redwings are still around but I have yet to see Fieldfare – my latest date ever.

Good numbers of Goldfinches are in the garden plus nineteen Greenfinches on one day. Goldcrests have been in our pine tree, two wrens and two Coal Tits were seen on another day and today, with the clock being adjusted, a very large Tawny Owl flew into the garden at 5.10pm.

Hibernation Time

October 18, 2009 at 1:34 pm


With the first frosts of Winter this week the local Hedgehogs are now finding places to hibernate. Piles of logs are one of their favourites.

On Hopwood a good view of a Roe Deer was had in the white frost on both the twelfth and the fourteenth. During the morning of the fourteenth five flocks of Redwings flew overhead totalling more the two hundred and sixty birds but still no Fieldfares locally The first Woodcock was flushed on the twelfth of October , which is about normal for their arrival from Scandinavia.

During the afternoon of the thirteenth I was in the Roaches on the North Staffordshire moors, There was a passage of forty Meadow Pipits, four Kestrels were seen separately and two Wheatears were still present on a gravel path at dusk. A peacock butterfly was seen and a great pink sunset followed but no migrant thrushes were encountered.

The highlight in the garden was a record ten Collared Doves on the fourteenth but sadly the male Sparrowhawk returned on the fifteenth and caught prey. I suppose he has to live as well!

Redwings At Last

October 12, 2009 at 2:22 am


On the sixth of October I saw my first Redwing of Autumn, making it six days later than last year which is late in view of the mild Autumnal weather we have been having in the last few weeks. No Fieldfares yet though but with North East winds forecast perhaps next week?

At Hopwood a male Stonechat was present on the tenth as well as a Red Admiral butterfly.

As we sat in the garden, drinking coffee, one day during the week thirty two Goldfinches and seven Greenfinches continued to feed only twenty foot away! Hard to believe that fifty years ago Goldfinches were rare birds locally.


October 5, 2009 at 1:34 am


Not much to report this week as everything has evolved around my eldest son’s wedding on October 3rd. Once my wife and ten month old grandson had been rescued by the Fire Brigade from being locked in the toilet everything went OK!!

On Hopwood Snipe and Skylarks continue to move South but still no migrant thrushes. In the woods Goldcrests are quite noisy and six Bullfinches were seen together.

A Cormorant flew over the Canal one morning and Sparrowhawks have been hunting the garden on two occasions, once catching prey. The Starling numbers have now increased to sixteen.