Casual Birder Weekly returns!
I’m so excited to bring back Casual Birder Weekly, sharing my birding experiences and hopefully hearing about yours.
Global Bird Weekend 7th-9th October 2022.
Incorporating the October Big Day, the Global Bird Weekend is an opportunity to celebrate birds for a whole weekend.
I’ll be leading a virtual team of birders around the world, and I want you to join us!
Over the weekend we’ll go birding in our own locations and share our checklists with the team account. And in the weeks leading up to the weekend there will be exclusive online events for team members.
My Birding this week
For the last few weeks I have gone out on one birding trip each weekend and done the rest of my birding from my window. And frankly, it’s been so hot that’s all I could really manage.
Last weekend we went to Blashford Lakes in Hampshire, a site managed by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust. There was very little activity among the birds and they were mostly quiet in the heat of the day, but we had good views of a Green Sandpiper and Lapwing as they walked past the Tern Hide.
Back in the garden I have been entertained by the young Magpies that visit most days. They explore their surrounding looking for food, and I am sure that they are itching to get up to mischief. I watched as one stood on my closed washing line and tried to peck a hole in the cover, and at the end of this newsletter you’ll see a video I took of a couple playing with a plant pot.
I have bought a ‘dog enrichment toy’ for the Magpies - this is a toy that releases treats if it is knocked around. I have half-filled it with dry kitten food (which I feed to the Hedgehogs that visit). I’m intrigued to see if the Magpies can work out how to get treats out of it. One has already tested it and found it can get treats. Was that a fluke, or will it try again? Will the others watch and try for themselves? I’ll keep you updated on how they get on!
A goldfinch family with youngsters begging for food visited several times this week, and a Blackbird pair have been collecting food in my garden, indicating they have young in a nest. This must be one of the last active nests in my neighbourhood.
The clear blues skies this week have been noticeably quiet - I think our neighbourhood Swifts have now left on their epic journey back to Africa, where they spend 9 months of the year, only coming to the UK for 12 short weeks in the summer to breed. If you want to learn more about Swifts, do listen to episode 57 with the RSPB’s Jamie Wyver
Bee-eaters have been nesting at Trimmingham, Norfolk, and this week the first chick fledged. There were thought to be 4 chicks in two nests. Once the others fledge the whole group will be flying back to Africa. Will we see them again next year?
I’ll be speaking to Jenny Shelton from the RSPB about the Norfolk Bee-eaters in an upcoming episode.
Latest podcast episode
I was delighted to speak with Sara Humphrey (Sussex Sara on social media) who shared her passion for wildlife photography, low-carbon birding, and educating others in responsible wildlife watching. It’s another in my series of chats recorded at Global Birdfair.
Our Facebook group members have started to see more birds visiting their gardens after the lull of the last few weeks.
Sarah from Essex saw a group of Blue Tits and Great Tits on her feeders, and her first ever confirmed Long-tailed Tits, and Euan from Edinburgh reported that his seed feeders are being emptied after just a few days.
Once breeding has finished many birds go through a major moult to replace their worn feathers. This takes a lot of energy and so they tend to hide away. Because the feathers are lost and replaced gradually, you may see birds around looking very scruffy during this period, with missing flight or tail feathers. But once the moult is completed they will be back in our gardens, eating from feeders and preparing for the winter months.
Keep in touch
Tell me about your recent birding moments, or your favourite places to go birding.
I’d also love to hear what you think of the format of the new Casual Birder Weekly.
As promised earlier here is a short video of the magpies in my garden playing with a plant pot.
Support The Casual Birder Podcast
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Until next week, happy birding!
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