Sunday, 5 August 2012

July Bird Survey

Our July bird survey took place on the 31st - a cloudy day with fleeting glimpses of the sun. We began at the lower Vicars Hill entrance and immediately heard and saw some Long-tailed Tits in the trees there - probably no more than three, but a welcome sight. Sue also spotted three Swifts soaring overhead. These  incredible flyers return home earlier than Martins and Swallows and will probably be back in Africa by the time we do our end-of-August survey.

Stock photo: Common Swift
Moving on around the park, we saw and heard a male Great Spotted Woodpecker, heard a Mistle Thrush's alarm call, saw a flock of 7 Goldfinches around Eastern Road (including some juveniles which don't yet have the red heads of the adult - see photo below), a flock of 11 Woodpigeons on the Eastern field and 4 House Sparrows in their usual playground - the hedgerow bordering the back gardens of Cliffview Road.

Juvenile Goldfinch: black and yellow wings but no red face or black crown as in the adult [Photo: Tom]
In addition, we saw and/or heard 3 Blue Tits and small numbers of Great Tits, Wrens, Robins, Feral Pigeons, Crows, 1 Magpie (much sorrow!), Blackbirds and at the very end of the survey...a pair of Coal Tits, one seen and one heard by Sue in the Vicars Hill border trees. The Coal Tit is a quite uncommon bird on Hilly Fields, last recorded on our Bird Track pages in 2010. However, we may have overlooked it in the past as they can sound like Great Tits, hang upside down like Blue Tits and mix with Long-tailed Tits!

Stock photo: Coal Tit
In all, a total of 16 species were recorded which is not bad for the quiet summer months. The most noticeable absentees were Starlings, which seem to have moved elsewhere for a while, and Ring-necked Parakeets though those little darlings/birds/pests (as you prefer) still come and go on a daily basis.