Saturday, 30 October 2010

Feeder rehung

Good news:  The birdfeeder has been rehung on its new bracket made, I hear, by Fred.  The photo was taken on Monday 25th.
Birdfeeder on new bracket
As for the birdlife... on my last three brief visits I've seen a total of 7 birds (magpies and woodpigeon), the 20+ House Sparrows that congregated in the tree at the bottom of my garden have completely disappeared! However, a friend at the other end and other side of Cliffview Road now sees a dozen in her garden almost every day.
There've been House Sparrows in our garden every day for the last 6 years at least; it saddens me that they've moved away but we still get Blue Tits, Great Tits, Robins, a Greater Spotted Woodpecker and, new to our garden, Long-tailed Tits.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Only six birds in two hours!

As “Bird Champion”, even during Nick Bertrand's walk and talk yesterday, I was keeping an eye open for birdlife.  I hoped to see a lot in two hours but, although I heard Carrion Crows, I only spotted three Magpies, two Woodpigeons and one Jay.  I think 3 birds/hour is my worst ever.

Possible woodpecker nest

While talking about a Maple tree, Nick spotted a hole in it which could have been created by a woodpecker (see photo).
In my own garden, which backs onto the park, I haven’t seen any House Sparrows at all for over a month

Trees in an urban park

Yesterday afternoon’s event was organised by Chris McGaw, Rivers and People Project, who introduced Nick Bertrand of the Creekside Centre. Nick give a talk and walk around Hilly Fields on “Trees in an urban park”. These are my mental notes from this session.

Horse Chestnut leaf miner moths
First topic was the leaf miner moth that’s turning Horse Chestnut leaves brown, then Nick spotted the young Elm trees not far from the gate. Sesile Oak, English Oak and Turkey Oak are all found around the park. One such Oak, near the Bothy, had an unusual gall on it that Nick photographed for later identification.
[8 Oct update from Chris: "We think the unusual gall may be the Hedgehog Gall (Andricus lucidus) which has only established itself in the UK in the last 20-30 years."]
Then we learnt how London Plane survives pollution by shedding its bark.
Young Elm and Nick Bertrand
Chris helping Nick photograph an Oak gall
At the top of the park is a Poplar, this one is fastigiate – with branches pointing upwards – as are most of the Hornbeam in the park. In the west field is a Crack Willow which, I learned today, is so named because its twigs snap off noisily. There’s also quite a few Maple trees, I think the one Nick described was a Silver Maple.

Some of the group with Nick beside fastigiate Poplar
Below the playground is a Beech competing with a London Plane. Past the school are several Hawthorn and then we ventured into the wood to find a Blackthorn, identified by its sloes. Finally we went down to Eastern Avenue where there are more Ash including one whose leaflets are larger and golden, I think Nick said it’s an American variety.
[8 Oct update from Chris: "Looking at my tree books, American Ash seems like the correct ID"]
Is this an American variety of Ash?
I enjoyed it so much that the time just flew by. I do hope Chris can organise more events around Hilly Fields, it’s a great way to get to know and appreciate your local park.