What better way to fill blog 100 than a pictorial demonstration of three of the things to get out and see during March...oh and a rodent quiz! Apologies for my dodgy pictures but they illustrate the points if nothing else!!!
Top spectacle to see must be starling roost! They are still together in huge numbers and the murmurations are something special. Whilst some people who live near to the locations might not appreciate the mess, this is only a temporary event and the mess will stop in a few weeks when these mass gatherings dwindle as these birds return to their breeding sites, many of them heading back to Eastern Europe. The picture below was taken in Leamington Spa near to ASDA last weekend where a roost of over 5000 birds were putting on a great show before diving into conifer trees that border the railtrack. They attracted the attention of at least two sparrowhawks and a buzzard, someone did suggest a peregrine had been seen but I didn't catch a glimpse! Any thoughts on what this shape reminds you of?
If you are not near to a starling roost but you fancy going out late in the evening in search of some fantastic wildlife then find yourself some open areas with rough grassland, get yourself settled an hour or so before the sun sets and see what turns up, if you are lucky then you may see the ghostly shape of a barn owl hunting low over the field. Also at this time of year in the lowlands we still have other crepuscular predators on the wing such as the short-eared owl. Many of the contributors to the forums have shared some great images of these birds recently and as we are approaching the breeding season, they may be on the move which could bring them into new sites. We had one a few weeks ago in the area near to the Lodge in Bedfordshire which was a real treat! Unfortunately for us it seems to have moved on, giving someone else great views further east I suspect, but the barn owls around here are real performers and come out most nights before dark, usually too distant in poor light for great pictures but an awesome sight to end any day on!
You don't have to go far to find great spectacles at this time of year, garden bird feeders can be really busy right now with little seed food out in the wild. Here at the Lodge our feeders have been buzzing with siskins, redpolls and bramblings, as well as all of the usual suspects this site attracts! If you want to try to recreate this spectacle then get feeding some sunflower hearts, nyger seed or a no-mess mix. These birds will feed from hanging feeders, bird tables and ground trays. The action around the feeders is frenetic with squabbles constantly going on, if you get a big flock, the noise can be amazing! I caught these two lesser redpolls mid-squabble!
And finally, the rodent quiz, I spotted this little chap hiding in the bracken here at the Lodge, not much to go on but have a guess what it is?
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