Discover more from Casual Birder Weekly
A Sparrowhawk visits!
My garden birds this week |
A walk in Pamber Forest |
Tip of the week: Preparing for birding outings |
Podcast recommendation: Hannah & Erik Go Birding |
My 100th episode - your help required |
Latest episode: #97 Bird Walk: Malibu Lagoon State Beach, California|
Suzy’s Bird Notes
My garden birds
My garden has been busy with birds this week, and I was very pleased to see both a Great Tit and a female Chaffinch visiting. The Chaffinch was the first I've seen in my garden this year.
The birds are becoming very familiar with me, including the Rooks and Jackdaws, and often stay in the garden while I top up the feeders each morning and put out fresh mealworms.
On one occasion, while I had my back to the garden, giving the mealworms fresh bran and apple (yes, I have to look after the mealworms now) Rooksy (my Rook friend) landed on the feeder station behind me.
I hadn’t even noticed it was there until I suddenly heard the two-note ‘chirp’ call it gives when I assume it wants attention! In order to get to the food store I had to walk past it, and it flew up onto the garage while I passed before coming back down to wait for the food, each of us keeping a respectful distance!
The Blackbird has become particularly brave - and will approach quite closely when I put out fresh mealworms. I tend to stay nearby otherwise the Starlings swamp the food dish before the Blackbird can get any. I have put a cage around another dish to allow the smaller birds to get sole access to their own supply of mealworms.
A few weeks ago I was seeing maybe 1 or 2 Starlings visiting a day. Now that I put fresh mealworms out, I am regularly seeing 10 or more - all descending en-masse. I do not mind this at all - I enjoy watching their squabbles and listening to their songs which are comprised of squeaks, whistles and rattles.
The noise of the Starlings has brought them to the attention of a local Sparrowhawk, which caught a Starling last Monday evening just as I was stepping into the garden to bring in my washing. As it was clear the Starling was going to be a meal for the Sparrowhawk, I slowly stepped back indoors to give the Sparrowhawk space.
It took over 50 minutes to eat the Starling! While I was sad for the Starling, the Sparrowhawk may well have had chicks to feed and this was clearly a good meal for it. I was surprised at how visibly large the Sparrowhawk's crop was after the meal. The Sparrowhawk visited again on Saturday and took another Starling, while I was standing in the garden! I think my garden is now on its regular route.
Blue Tit pair
Last week I shared a video of suspected courtship behaviour from the Blue Tits that are nesting in my garden.
During the week I saw them repeating this behaviour several times, where the male would flutter above the female, while she concentrates on appearing to feed. I also saw the male Blue Tit feeding the female. I believe this is the prelude to mating.
The female roosts in the nestbox overnight and today I was able to see 9 eggs in the nest! I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a successful brood.
Pamber Forest Nature Reserve
Last weekend I went for a long walk in Pamber Forest Nature Reserve
Well, I say it was a long walk; I was out for five hours but didn't walk very far. I had to keep stopping - there were just too many birds to see and hear!
There were several stand-out moments for me: watching a Jay exploring tree bark for insects, a surprise sighting of a pair of Grey Wagtails, watching Red Kites interacting overhead, listening to a drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker and seeing a male Stonechat.
Here are a couple of short videos from that day.
Video of Jay
Video of Grey Wagtail
Your help needed! 100th episode!
I'd like to hear about your joyful moments when birding, whether of the birds you've seen, or how bird watching makes you feel.
Congratulatory messages are also gratefully received! They will be included in the 100th episode.
I'm looking forward to hearing from you.
Tip of the week: Preparing for bird outings
A very basic tip this week: if you are going out for a day’s birding, prepare your equipment bag in advance.
It will save you time and reduce stress if you run through this checklist the night before.
Binoculars / scope packed (with any attachments required, such as digiscoping connector)
Charge camera batteries
Charge phone / external power pack
Check phone power lead is packed
Download directions / information
Pack waterproof trousers / hat / gloves/ spare socks
Prepare sandwiches and snacks the night before
Ready your flask / water bottle (no searching for them on the morning of the trip)
What would you add to this list?
Podcast recommendation - Hannah and Erik Go Birding
I’ve been listening to this podcast for around 2 years.
Hannah and Erik share their birding stories, tell us about great birding locations, and bring us conversations with awesome birders.
It’s a fun and informative show by two warm and welcoming hosts. Take a listen!
Global Big Day - May 8th 2021!
The Casual Birder Podcast Team is taking part in the Global Big Day.
You can join us!
This is a wonderful way to share your local birds, find out about others around the world and to have fun birding as part of a virtual team. You do not have to be an expert to take part, and you can bird from your back garden if you wish.
To join us, register as an individual birder and alongside your name write 'Casual Birder Podcast Team'
Please let me know that you want to be part of the team by signing up to my team email list and I can keep you informed of any updates and ideas for promoting the event.
May 8th is also World Migratory Birds Day.
We are raising funds for BirdLife International to help keep migratory birds safe on their journeys.
You can help us by:
making a donation if you are able and
sharing the link with your friends and family
The Casual Birder Podcast
#97 Bird Walk: Malibu Lagoon State Beach, California
Suzy takes us on a solo bird walk at Malibu Lagoon in California where she sees Marbled Godwit, Caspian Tern and Snowy Plover.
Past episode suggestion:
#64 Mark Gagliardi Bird Walk at Lake Arrowhead
Actor and podcaster Mark Gagliardi joins Suzy in Lake Arrowhead, California, for his first bird walk.
Will it live up to his expectations?
What birds will they see?
Visit my website for photos, blogs, and episode transcripts
Keep in touch
I love to hear about your bird sightings and experiences. You can send me a voice or written message here:
Support the show
Thank you all for listening to the show. You can support it further by buying me a virtual coffee.
You can also use my Amazon Affiliate link to buy feeders, bird food, and other items.
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, so if you choose to buy those products through my link, I will get a small payment, at no cost to you. I will be adding products in the coming weeks, and hope to also select products that can be bought in other countries.
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