Clodhopper's suburban wildlife tips

Clodhopper
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Clodhopper's suburban wildlife tips

Post by Clodhopper »

A fun time of year: the chicks are out of the next and following their parents to the feeders in the garden. I had a family of Great Tits here an hour or so ago - about 6 chicks. Hard to count as they were hopping about.

Something else that is really popular in my garden is the birdbath. Sparrows, tits, robins, starlings, magpies and pigeons have all used mine both for washing and drinking. In general it's good for their health to be able to get a decent wash (and they are very cute while doing it. Well, not the pigeons) and with the dry Spring we've had it can be a lifesaver.

It needs to be cleaned most days since they poo in it and you get weed growing if you leave it too long, but it definitely brings in many species. It's best sited in a sunny spot with cover nearby (they seem to like a warm bath and somewhere to change ;)) but I suspect reliable fresh clean water would bring in any birds in the vicinity - especially if there's food there as well.
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Post by LarsMac »

I enjoy watching the birds around the farm. This spring we seem to have some new arrivals. Several Swallows have taken up residence nearby.

We have kept a watering pan near the faucet for years. The birds gather, and seem to take turns.
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Post by Clodhopper »

I've seen and heard a few swifts, but no swallows or house martins yet.

Farms and swallows. The buildings provide nest sites that wouldn't otherwise be available, especially in plains country and they feed on insects that are attracted to the animals and their droppings. A lot more beneficial than most human/wildlife interactions.

Any idea why you are seeing them this year for the first time?
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Post by LarsMac »

Clodhopper;1509483 wrote: I've seen and heard a few swifts, but no swallows or house martins yet.

Farms and swallows. The buildings provide nest sites that wouldn't otherwise be available, especially in plains country and they feed on insects that are attracted to the animals and their droppings. A lot more beneficial than most human/wildlife interactions.

Any idea why you are seeing them this year for the first time?


Well, they have been in the region forever. I've just not seen them here. Several species have ranges that are limited by unknown factors. For example, Magpies. There are Magpies 2 or 3 miles to the south of us, and many along the foothills, but they never seem to venture out into the area we live in. The Swallows have been seen more to the south and east. We seem to be right on the edge of several habitats.
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Post by spot »

Nobody has mentioned seagulls. I have seagulls. Seagulls are noisy and protected. I may buy a buzzard.
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Post by LarsMac »

spot;1509497 wrote: Nobody has mentioned seagulls. I have seagulls. Seagulls are noisy and protected. I may buy a buzzard.


We are nearly 2000 miles from a sea, and we have sea gulls. Herring Gulls, to be specific. I have never got over that.
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A recent visitor

Not sure why this rotated, like this when I uploaded it

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Post by LarsMac »

Just down the street in an old Cottonwood, I found these guys.

They've since fledged and gone off on their own.

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Lovely! If the falcon was over here I'd say that was a rabbit it was holding and it's a big bird! But it doesn't look quite right for a rabbit. Great shot though. Beautiful plumage. Owls are always just wonderful, especially the chicks.

I've seen some reports that animal and plant ranges are starting to move away from the equator. Be interesting to see if the swallows come back next year. Lucky you to have them! :)

spot: chuckle. My ornithological uncle used to object to the word seagull: No such species, he used to say. There are many varieties of gull - herring, black headed and greater black backed being the ones you most likely see, but NOT seagulls. (Or words to that effect) He was normally a very laid back sort of bloke, but for some reason that one got him.
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Post by magentaflame »

I have a small pond for the cats to drink out of and another pond out the back. But after pruning back the garden in the last fortnight and finding the tiger snake skin near an empty bird bath ill be rethinking these ponds.

Rainbow lorikeets, yellow breasted finches, a finch i cant remember the name of , but it has a black body, red chest and white beak. A hawk/falcon, a wedgy who is fast becoming a wild pet, maggies, willywagtails,bush pigeons,

Just to name a few in the garden at the moment.

Oh and a young buck koala visiting a tree close to the house lately.

And the sunrises ...... avatar says it all really. The beginning of winter isnt too bad.
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Clodhopper;1509582 wrote: Lovely! If the falcon was over here I'd say that was a rabbit it was holding and it's a big bird! But it doesn't look quite right for a rabbit. Great shot though. Beautiful plumage. Owls are always just wonderful, especially the chicks.

I've seen some reports that animal and plant ranges are starting to move away from the equator. Be interesting to see if the swallows come back next year. Lucky you to have them! :)

spot: chuckle. My ornithological uncle used to object to the word seagull: No such species, he used to say. There are many varieties of gull - herring, black headed and greater black backed being the ones you most likely see, but NOT seagulls. (Or words to that effect) He was normally a very laid back sort of bloke, but for some reason that one got him.


That is, indeed, a rabbit. We have a number of them grazing in the yard.

I had an uncle like that as well. We learned the proper name of whatever critter we were discussing.

A memory from first grade came to mind, regarding "Seagulls." We were in California then, and a number of gulls were out in the play grounds. I mentioned the seagulls out there, and one girl, claimed that they were Eagles. We went back and forth a few times, getting louder and more insistent, until suddenly she rolled up her fist and gave me a smack that put me on the ground. (She was much larger than I, and much more attached to her opinion.) And shouted EAGLES!!!

Before I could reply, a teacher came around and hauled me off the the principal's office for hitting a girl.

That was one of first real lessons in "Picking your battles"
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Post by LarsMac »

magentaflame;1509616 wrote: I have a small pond for the cats to drink out of and another pond out the back. But after pruning back the garden in the last fortnight and finding the tiger snake skin near an empty bird bath ill be rethinking these ponds.

Rainbow lorikeets, yellow breasted finches, a finch i cant remember the name of , but it has a black body, red chest and white beak. A hawk/falcon, a wedgy who is fast becoming a wild pet, maggies, willywagtails,bush pigeons,

Just to name a few in the garden at the moment.

Oh and a young buck koala visiting a tree close to the house lately.

And the sunrises ...... avatar says it all really. The beginning of winter isnt too bad.


That is a nice sunset pic.
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Post by magentaflame »

Sunrise...... i only do sunrises.
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Post by Clodhopper »

Magenta: When I was in Aus 35 years ago now I worked for a few months on a shell diving vessel in the sea inside the Barrier reef . Since I was the only bloke who'd handled a boat at all apart from the skipper, when we moved between locations I got the dawn trick on the wheel so the skipper could get some sleep. I will never forget steaming due east into the sunrise, going from green through orange to gold on a millpond flat sea with the wake like a ruler behind.

Chuckle. Wildlife in outback Aus seems to have more venom, teeth, claws and attitude than ours! Although I see the occasional sparrowhawk the main top predators here are foxes (keep down the cats) and magpies which cause pandemonium when they swing by the feeders. Very intelligent birds: the ones round here have learned that they can soften stale bread by dunking it in the birdbath. That's a heck of a cognitive process for something with that sized brain, imo!

And I still have the toy koala given me when I was about 3 by an Aussie cricketing friend of my mother's. Found it recently when I was sorting out some stuff. It was the mascot for our U12 cricket team back when Lillee and Thomson were blasting our cricket teams apart. Not sure any like it are still around - the fur is real but brown not grey. I'm wondering if it is in fact kangaroo skin.

What I most remember about Australian birds was the very different song you heard. And cockatiels (I think - white parroty things with a yellow crest) in the Sydney suburbs and not birds, but flying, the huge numbers of fruit bats around Cairns with their dachshund heads.

LarsMac: You confirm my suspicion that calling them seagulls brings bad luck, and likely causes herring gulls to nest on your roof. That's not so bad if you like sunrises but at this latitude sunrise is not long after 4 am in high summer. And herring gulls make a heck of a racket...
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Post by spot »

We had a couple of Australian birds living in Bristol when I was there, you could hear them from two streets away.
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spot;1509657 wrote: We had a couple of Australian birds living in Bristol when I was there, you could hear them from two streets away.


Yep, really did laugh aloud. :)
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spot;1509657 wrote: We had a couple of Australian birds living in Bristol when I was there, you could hear them from two streets away.


Oi!....hmmmm.....yeah okay, ill cop that.

:yh_rotfl:yh_rotfl:yh_rotfl

Not sure if you can see the planet just under the moon, but thats half hour before sun up. The pic doest do justice (40 buck android phone doesnt give you much) but i know the sky youre thinking of.

Ill wait for a stormy morning and head down the beach for you.
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Post by Clodhopper »

Larsmac: Thinking about it, I missed the bleedin' obvious: It could be that you've got swallows because the local population is doing well and need more nest sites.
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Post by magentaflame »

I hate swallows! I have to find tje nest in the garage and get rid of it. I just know im going to cop a swallow in the face walking in there one day
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magentaflame;1509733 wrote: I hate swallows! I have to find tje nest in the garage and get rid of it. I just know im going to cop a swallow in the face walking in there one day


Hmm. Yeah, they move fast. But they are incredibly agile - they catch flies in flight - so you should be safe. Unless you've long fine hair and go to the garage after an extended session with the van der graaf generator...

The blue tits have started bringing their babies to the tree where the feeders are. Unbelievably cute :) With them, the great tits, the starlings, the sparrows and the birdbath there's a critical mass of cuteness occurring in my garden and the whole place may explode into pink fluffiness at any second.
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Clodhopper;1509765 wrote: Hmm. Yeah, they move fast. But they are incredibly agile - they catch flies in flight - so you should be safe. Unless you've long fine hair and go to the garage after an extended session with the van der graaf generator...

The blue tits have started bringing their babies to the tree where the feeders are. Unbelievably cute :) With them, the great tits, the starlings, the sparrows and the birdbath there's a critical mass of cuteness occurring in my garden and the whole place may explode into pink fluffiness at any second.


Oh dear god! Im so biting my tongue right now.......its starting to bleed.

But

Moving on......

Yeah i sometimes watch the flocks of swallows fly around at dusk grabbing every flying ant and insect from the sky......and if im lucky the bats catching moths last light of the evening. Now there's cuteness personified. They're so little with the most adorable faces.



Oh bugger it!!!........ you Brits are cruel. If there are tits so cold that theyve turned blue, then for gods sake cover them up........ sorry my tongue was bleeding.
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Post by spot »

magentaflame;1509789 wrote: Oh bugger it!!!........ you Brits are cruel. If there are tits so cold that theyve turned blue, then for gods sake cover them up........ sorry my tongue was bleeding.


Darwinian evolution means British tits are definitely bigger than what you get in Australia, in order to retain body heat more easily.
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Post by LarsMac »

We had a bit of a disturbance here, today.

I was hearing a lot of strange chatter earlier, and went to the door, to find a big Raven on the roof of the main house, close to where the Robins have built a nest on a light fixture. A group of black birds, Grackles, I think were all gathered around harassing him and causing quite a ruckus. When I stepped out, he started moving away, followed by the Grackles, and finally got the edge of the roof and flew off, with a dozen Grackles chasing him.

The robin that owned the nest was nowhere to be seen, and has not returned all day. There were several eggs in the nest (I checked a few days ago.) I am now concerned that something has happened to the hen, and the nest may be abandoned. This would be the first year in decades that that nest has not produced Robins. Haven't told the Sister, yet. she will fret incessantly of it. Fortunately it was a warm day (low 80s), and the mom may have taken a holiday. She needs to be back before the chill sets in, tonight though. we will see low 40s.

Will check first thing in the AM.
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Post by Clodhopper »

Oh, hope it's all ok. Trouble is, ravens are smart and if it's noticed the nest the robins may well be best advised to abandon this year.
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magentaflame;1509789 wrote: Oh dear god! Im so biting my tongue right now.......its starting to bleed.

But

Moving on......

Yeah i sometimes watch the flocks of swallows fly around at dusk grabbing every flying ant and insect from the sky......and if im lucky the bats catching moths last light of the evening. Now there's cuteness personified. They're so little with the most adorable faces.



Oh bugger it!!!........ you Brits are cruel. If there are tits so cold that theyve turned blue, then for gods sake cover them up........ sorry my tongue was bleeding.


I'm shocked! Shocked at how long you managed to restrain yourself!

chuckle. I did wonder how it would go, doing a wildlife diary sort of thing. I didn't know I'd get 8 great tits (2 adults 6 chicks) and 6 blue tits (4 chicks). Thank heavens the long tailed tits haven't turned up yet...(I'm not even going to mention the reclusive coal tit)

Had 4 baby blue tits discovering the birdbath today. I can't help it, it just happened.
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Post by Clodhopper »

Well, a nice feeling of satisfaction seeing so many chicks on the feeders. Lots of young starlings in particular as well as sparrows and of course, the tits. It's good to feel there's probably a few more flying around than there would be if I hadn't bothered.

I'm really pleased with the birdbath too. Keep it clean and it's a real contribution to their health and adds to the garden, having them splashing about. It's used many times every day.
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Post by Clodhopper »

Can't compete with Eagles, but we do get Sparrowhawks occasionally. The white ones I remember from the Sydney suburbs. You get such wonderful colours! Can't compete with that. But all these have come into come into my garden in the last week (or can occasionally be seen from it in the case of the sparrowhawks)

Robin:

https://www.bing.com/images/search?view ... ajaxhist=0

House Sparrows:

https://www.bing.com/images/search?view ... ajaxhist=0

Great Tit:

https://www.bing.com/images/search?view ... ajaxhist=0

Blue Tits:

https://www.bing.com/images/search?view ... ajaxhist=0

https://www.bing.com/images/search?view ... ajaxhist=0



Coal Tit:

https://www.bing.com/images/search?view ... ajaxhist=0

Starlings:

https://www.bing.com/images/search?view ... ajaxhist=0

Ring Necked Parakeet:

https://www.bing.com/images/search?view ... ajaxhist=0

Jackdaw:

https://www.bing.com/images/search?view ... ajaxhist=0

Magpie:

http://www.robertestutts.com/wp-content ... -07-15.jpg

Wood Pigeon:

https://www.bing.com/images/search?view ... ajaxhist=0

Sparrowhawk:

https://www.bing.com/images/search?view ... ajaxhist=0
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Post by magentaflame »

awww they're pretty. Your tits look like our finches.

I have a hawk that sits on the fence but I dont know what type it is.
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Post by Clodhopper »

Oh joy. :)

A Sparrowhawk has just killed (I think) a juvenile starling and is plucking and eating it in the garden as I type....just this second flown off with her lunch.

Will go and look at the feathers and see if I can tell what it was. The kill I have to say was instant and silent - the only reason I noticed was the sudden exit of the other starlings!

edit: Not a starling, a sparrow by the feathers. It's had an effect on the other sparrows, too: normally if I go to the door they fly off as soon as I appear. This time when I went out one stayed hidden on the ground until I was literally standing over it before it flew off. Wonder how long it will take to bring them back? Hours? Days?

Much smugness. A top predator! :)
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