Monday, 30 May 2011

Hot off the Press

In the "drought" of April and early May several unusual birds were seen in the garden, and all of these were taking advantage of the various water receptacles put out for birds. For a few minutes on the 18th of April a Reed Warbler was observed in and around the area of the garden pond. This was the first of this species I've ever seen within a mile of the house, and seemed remarkable at the time, but more was still to come! The following week a pair of Whitethroats were visiting the garden pond several times a day, and they even appeared as if they would nest in a bramble bush near the prison wall. That same day a Lesser Whitethroat also appeared briefly on the hose-pipe near the pond. This wasn't as unusual as the Reed Warbler, as a Lesser Whitethroat, later identified as a Central Asian Lesser Whitethroat remained in the garden between 26th December 2008 and 19th April 2009. A Garden Warbler was noticeable for its absence, and was further evidence for the uselessness of its name! In the late evening of 29th April I spotted a dark thrush on the lawn with its back to me. It had noticeably silvery edges to its wings, and I could hardly believe what I was looking at, but sure enough the bird eventually turned, and it white crescent was clear to see. The bird spent about 15 minutes picking up pieces of suet under the bird feeders and then having a drink from the font. The following evening the bird returned when it was also seen having a bath in the font. The next day it was observed in the early morning taking advantage of a heavy dew by feeding on worms along with 7 male Blackbirds. The bird remained in the cemetery a few more days, but it wasn't seen to return to the garden.

I sent the photo of the Ring Ouzel to Birdwatching Magazine for their 'Your Bird Pictures' feature, but was then contacted by an employee. I informed him of what else we had seen and I was asked to send as many pictures as I had. The result is that 6 of the above pictures have been used to illustrate 'Under the Weather', an article about the results of the severe snowy weather in December followed by a very dry spring.

The June 2011 issue of Birdwatching Magazine

Ring Ouzel - the picture included in the magazine
Ring Ouzel about to drink from the font

Ring Ouzel by the edge of the pond

Ring Ouzel in the Blackbird's territory

Reed Warbler by the edge of the pond- the picture chosen

Reed Warbler - by the hosepipe

Reed Warbler - on the 'island' in the pond
Female Swallow - gathering mud in an upturned dustbin lid

Common Whitethroat, picture in the magazine - taken from kitchen window

Whitethroat - a few seconds later with crest feathers partially raised

Common Whitethroat at one of the drinking receptacles


["Central Asian"] Lesser Whitethroat, Jan 2010 - picture chosen for magazine

Lesser Whitethroat

[male] Great Spotted Woodpecker - emerging from garden pond

Juvenile GSW - chosen for magazine, and a sight hoped for when this year's juveniles visit

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