I’m very fortunate that whilst I’m working I can also indulge in one of my favourite past times, watching wildlife. The site at Birdland is blessed with a variety of habitats with woodland, river and some open areas. All this means that we have a variety of native flora and fauna on our doorstep.
Over the past few years we have sighted nearly 80 species of British bird. I can virtually guarantee that on a visit to us that you will see Mallard, Moorhen, Grey Heron, Blackbird, Woodpigeon & Collared Dove. Rook & Jackdaw nest in the trees and can’t be missed. Other species are common at certain times of the year, you can’t help but see Black Headed Gull from August through to February when they come in to overwinter. Unfortunately, the Gulls and Heron can be a nuisance, stealing food where possible so we have to change some of our feeding regimes
The opening of Marshmouth Reserve a couple of years ago has been a real bonus. If you take your time strolling around here, pausing for a while at the various feeding stations, you will be rewarded with a number of species. This week we have had a number of fledgling Blue & Great Tits drop into the feeders as well as a young Bullfinch.
The summer months provide many Summer migrants, with Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler & Blackcap regular and there was a sighting this week of a Spotted Flycatcher further down river, who knows they may drop in. Winter brings many thrushes and finches in, with 5 of the 6 thrush species present and finches galore, including Bull, Green, Chaff, Gold & even a Hawfinch, as well as Redpoll & Siskin. Surprisingly one thing we do seem to lack is House Sparrow, a worrying national trend. They are frequent in the village and near the staff car park but not on site.
Bird of Prey wise Sparrowhawk & Kestrel are regular sightings, with the Sparrowhawk sometimes sitting on the aviaries watching the birds. Buzzards seem to be less frequent but this coincides with more regular sightings of Red Kite. Hobby frequent the local fishing lakes and could be possible and we had a probable Peregrine fly over this week (too large for Kestrel). Owl wise, Tawnys can be regularly heard in the early morning, whilst Barn & Little Owl have also been sighted
Up on & in the trees, Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch & Treecreeper are regular, whilst Goldcrest & Starling are also everpresent. On the river watch out for Grey Wagtail and Kingfisher. The Kingfisher are particularly active during August, presumably feeding young, with 3 birds seen this week, and birds being sighted up to 15 times a day at present.
Mammal wise, we have Rabbits galore at present. We also have at least 1 species of bat and have had Roe Deer in the Nature Area. Some of our other mammal species can be more of a worry if in the main park. Fox, Stoat & Weasel can & will take the birds so at certain times of year (when the fox have young) we take extra precautions, shutting the flamingos away at night and placing an electric fence around Penguin Shore.
Mice & Rats also pose a problem of a different kind if they get into our food stores! Thankfully these are rodent free at present and we know that we certainly have House & Field Mice present, as well as Water Shrew & Water Vole in the nature area. Otter droppings have also been found here. Mole are also present
Reptile wise it has been quiet this year. I’m yet to see any but Grass Snake have been sighted with rumors of an Adder also. We have had Slow Worm previously and Common Lizard in the area. Amphibian wise Toads are frequent with Frogs less so
Fish wise trout numbers seem down, probably due to the Herons, Otter and our male Marabou stork! Grayling and Bullheads can be found, with plenty of Stickleback about. Eel have been recorded.
Insects of all shapes and sizes are present. Black & Red Ants are present, along with Honey Bee, different Bumblebees & Wasps. This week we have also had Hornet down at the bird kitchen and Ichneumon Wasp in the nature area
There are plenty of beetle around, including Devils Coach Horse, Ladybirds and many ground beetles. Centipedes and Spiders are present along with several species of Dragonfly and Damselfly. This week alone we have had Southern Hawker, Emperor & Common Blue.
Butterfly numbers seem to have exploded this week with loads on the buddleias throughout the park. The various White species and Peacock are most common, with Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Brimstone & Comma also frequent. Small Copper has also been sighted this week
Many moth species are also around, with Poplar & Privet Hawk Moths the largest
In this weeks news:
The Red Fronted Macaws have hatched at least one chick, possibly more
2 Grey Peacock Pheasant eggs have hatched and so far so good
We have 4 Roul Roul Partridge chicks in the old Toucan House being supervised by mum & dad
The Marabous seem to be getting on much better and went the whole day together yesterday without problems
The Yellow Shouldered Amazon chick left with the adults has fledged and being closely guarded by the male
Our hand reared Amazon has been named Mango & can be seen accompanying Chris around the park, whilst the as yet unnamed Kookaburra is out and about with Rob
New arrivals in the Encounter Zone include 2 Chilean Rose Tarantula, 2 Giant Thorny Stick Insect & a Egyptian Praying Mantis
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