Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Of Doves and Dunnocks (Feb-March 2021)

 Our January 2021 survey was covered in the previous post as it doubled for the RSPB Big Birdwatch count. The highlights were 150 gulls and 60 redwings in the north field. In our next survey on 22nd Feb, the redwings were still there but the number had dropped to 30. The gull count was down to only 10 black-headed gulls and 2 common gulls. Also of note were 24 starlings, 20 house sparrows, 11 robins and 5 dunnocks which is a record count for that species. Also recorded: 3 blackbirds, 3 blue tits, 6 carrion crows, 1 collared dove, 7 goldfinches, 4 great tits, 5 magpies, 5 ring-necked parakeets, 1 song thrush, 1 stock dove, 5 woodpigeons and 7 wrens. I think this is the first time we've seen collared dove and stock dove on the same survey. There's a photo of collared doves in our wonderful new Birds of Hilly Fields booklet (see below). The stock dove has a green patch on its neck and a buff breast.

Stock Dove (stock photo)

On the 22nd March survey, it was nice to see a chaffinch near the stone circle, a female great spotted woodpecker drumming on the Lane, a pair of long-tailed tits in the Shade Garden, a pair of very active nuthatches which looked as if scouting for a nest site again and a pied wagtail on the bowling green. Redwings were down to 5 and they've probably flown back to Scandinavia by now. Also recorded: 3 blackbirds, 1 blackcap, 3 blue tits, 4 crows, 1 collared dove (heard only), 2 dunnock, 2 goldfinches, 2 great tits, 4 house sparrows, 2 magpies, 2 ring-necked parakeets, 10 robins, 8 starlings, 1 stock dove (again!), 8 woodpigeons and 8 wrens. 

Dunnock on HF (doesn't always look this pretty)

Can't finish without mentioning our new booklet, Birds of Hilly Fields, produced by the Friends of Hilly Fields. It's been selling well, despite lockdown, and the feedback has been good, but we still have plenty of copies in stock. At present, it's available online (see link below) and can be purchased either by itself at £3.50 or with a tote cotton bag and postcards for £10. The link is We deliver to your door within a radius of 2 miles and all profits go to the Friends of Hilly Fields

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