Month: August 2018

A Bald Magpie

At this time of year you might see the occasional garden bird looking baldy bonced.
The baldness is moult or mite related.

The slightly desperate way this magpie was attempting to attack the feeders suggests a bird eager to boost his depleted resources.

The wing and tail feathers appear healthy enough so in all likelihood it will have a fully feathered head eventually.

He’ll revert back to being a horrid magpie. Rather than a hair-raising horrible little vulture.

Filming: Hazel Brown; Vid: Ian Nisbet

Warren Wonder

A Saturday afternoon on Dawlish Warren.
In just a few hours we were entertained and engrossed by:

Red Darter and Emperor Dragonflies.
Hundreds of Oystercatchers.
Six Barnacle Geese * (on the golf course obstructing play)
Two Little Egrets frisking about together.
A Kestrel hovering.
A flock of Linnets rapid flyover.
A Robin singing any other bird off.
A dainty stepping Mediterranean Gull *.
A Cormorant hanging its wings out to dry.
A Grey Heron preening, prancing, flapping, and flying.

* Barnacle Geese and Mediterranean Gull are new additions to Birder Brown & Birder Nisbets Twitcher Tick List (only another 198 birds/ticks to go)

A veritable bird bonanza is Dawlish Warren.

(Bad) (Mad) Bird watchers: Hazel Brown & Ian Nisbet

Goodbye Little Swallows

I’ve filmed these swallows from the first day they were born, all of 18 days ago.

But now its about time they left.
They’ve been getting the hurry up call from mom and dad the last few days.

And today they were flitting in and out of the nest, having a little fly onto the nearby rafters.
Won’t be long now.

Update: I walked up early this morning.
They’d all fled, gone.
Goodbye you barely-old-enough-to-be-in-this-world little pluckers.
Hope you make it to Africa.

Filming & Vid: Ian Nisbet

Charming Goldfinches

You wait for one goldfinch to arrrive and 2 turn up, then 3.

Picking and popping away on those sunflower seeds.

In this vid you see sparrows muscling in onto the feeder, attempting to knock the goldfinches down the pecking order.

Hey cheeky sparras! –  peckin goldfinches bottums and pinchin their sunflower seeds is not allowed. Its norty, stop it!

Vid: Ian Nisbet

A Squabble of Sparra’s

A whole colony of sparrows appear to have decamped into the back garden over the last month or so.

As many as 20 were counted bouncing about last week. Jumping in and off the feeders, the birdtable, the waterbowl, the apple tree, the palm tree, the willow, the ivy, the gate, the fence, the pond, the wisteria. Just about everywhere choka wiv sparra.

Fighting one another to get on the fatballs.
A squabble of sparras would be an apt collective noun for these cheeky chirpers.

UPDATE: And now it appears there’s a sparra nest in the wisteria. Haze found a tiny tipped out dead chick on the ground today.
An increase of 20 to 30 to 40 is not out of the question.

Question is: How many sparras can a little back garden take?

Filming: Hazel Brown; Vid: Ian Nisbet

Swallow Chicks about to fledge

The swallow chicks up at the ruined church are at least 2 weeks old now.

Two chicks had already made it out of the nest and were sat on to the ajoining rafters.
The other 3 chicks were all fluffed up and good to go.

And maybe they would have gone but for the sound of blaring bagpipes bunging up their earoles.
They were shrinking back into the nest wondering what the hell was going on.
Poor fings.

Anyway, all 5 chicks (where’s No 6?) may well have flown their nests tomorrow.
I might nip up early morning to see if they’ve gone.

Filming,Vid & Words: Ian Nisbet

Hummingbird Hawkmoth (& 5 Common Butterflies)

The 5 common butterflies are: Cabbage White, Comma, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood, Red Admiral.

And one very uncommon (to me) Hummingbird Hawkmoth. A first ever sighting (and therefore filming)

Must be the heat (waves) we’re having this summer thats making such exotic sounding creatures blow in to urban back gardens.

This one was humming – or hovering – over the buddleia for about one minute.
That’s all the look we got.

Thats all the look we needed.
To feel astonished, amazed.

Vid & Words: Ian Nisbet

Swallow chicks with wings

The swallow chicks up at the ruined church are now about 10 days old.

Still with those white yappery zipped mushes.
But with wings becoming more visible, prominent.
They’re distinctly more swallow-like than muppet-like now.

By the end of this week they may well have fledged the nest. Hopefully the 3 you see in this vid, and the 3 in the other nest, will have made it up into air where they truly belong.

Filming & Vid: Ian Nisbet