Wildlife

I hunted high and low for a wildlife section, maybe there are old ones.

Anyway, I'll kick it off. There are plans to introduce the white-tailed eagle to Norfolk. An earlier plan foundered, as pig farmers felt that pregnant sows would abort at the sight of an eagle. But these objections seem to have disappeared.

This eagle has already been intoduced in other areas. It is very large, a flying barn door. Just gorgeous.
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Comments

  • It's good news - as long as people don't start poisoning them (as landowners still do with ospreys and golden eagles).

    The reintroduction of Red Kites shows what can be done. I remember my excitement when I saw two kites circling low over the treetops near where I lived in southern England. Now, I am told, kites are seen so often that they are almost taken for granted.

    Here on the West Coast of Canada recently, there was a mild stir when a particular pod of orca was seen in the area for the first time in 20 years.
  • Rufus, Oxfordshire is so full of red kites you can hardly move for them - OK, I exaggerate, but they are an everyday sight. And very pretty they are too.

    Our wildlife spotting is limited now by all the footpaths being like the Somme, but a reasonable number of back-garden birds, especially wrens this winter for some reason.
  • Are pig farmers otherwise a superstitious lot?
  • HelixHelix Shipmate
    The Red Kites are stunning but very bold - snatching kittens / puppies so I am told.

    I was saddened by the demise of the Golden Eagle in the Lake District. I never actually saw it but I know a lot of efforts were made to find a mate for it. It must have been so lonely for a very long time - if birds get lonely?
  • We see red kites flying overhead on this built up street, usually not hanging around.

    Today I heard all three native woodpeckers in the Forest walking - the lesser and greater spotted woodpeckers make different drumming sounds and the yaffingale is really common hereabouts, I often see them flying with that distinctive flight pattern or on grassy spaces.
  • DardaDarda Shipmate
    We watch white tailed eagles regularly on the Inner Hebrides - a magnificent sight
  • Another piece of wildife news from the West Coast this winter has been the appearance of thousands of pine siskins. Apparently, they normally winter in the forests of Northern BC but food is scarce there, so they have poured south, across most of North America. Apparently, some have even made it to the Bahamas.

    Our bird feeders have been swamped with them since October. None of the other birds get a look in. And they have got so cheeky that they will stay on the feeder until I am literally removing it to refill. The other day, two siskins tried to land on it whilst I was still carrying it back to the post where it hangs.

    Even the house sparrows and starlings don't go near the feeders now that the siskins have taken up residence. I guess, though, that they will be moving back north before too long.
  • A red kite would struggle to lift a chicken drumstick, never mind a kitten - there's bugger all bird under those feathers. Buzzards - different matter, they are chunky chaps. It's one of the reasons kites are such agile fliers, they're so light.

    I'm impressed by the trio of woodpeckers - I've seen plenty of yaffles, and more than a few greater spotted, but I think I've only ever seen one lesser spotted.

    Mind you, on New Year's Eve, I did spend ten minutes watching a kingfisher from maybe ten yards at most. That was *magical*.
  • cgichardcgichard Shipmate
    edited January 22
    I've been watching with great enjoyment the nest cam of a White-Bellied Sea Eagles' nest near Sydney's Olympic Park, which has been taken over in their absence (having reared their brood for this year) by a charming Pacific Black Duck. She has laid 8 eggs there (one of which was eaten by her visiting sea eagle 'landlord') and is continuing now to incubate the remaining 7 eggs, undaunted by further occasional visits by the sea eagles, and also by a currawong, a possum and many rainbow lorikeets.

    Still about 3 weeks to go before one could expect hatching, and then the ducklings would have to negotiate the 75-foot drop to the forest floor and some distance to the nearest water. The odds are against their survival but for the time being that thought doesn't detract from the interest of the unusual situation.

  • It's quite underpopulated in Saskatchewan. We've snowshoe hares in the city everywhere and whitetailed deer along the river. Periodic coyote warnings and occasional cougars (these are mountain lions of the prairies).

    In the past 5 or 6 years bluejays have moved here. Not sure if climate change is a factor. We get only down to -30C or so now, gone are the days of the -40s. Grey jays (also called Canada jays and whiskey jacks) are more usual. But my favourite is bohemian waxwings. They like mountain ash berries, a tree of which we planted from seed. Beautiful tawny colour. Large flocks.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    edited January 23
    In suburban Sydney, we have native possums, which look cute and adorable, but are beasts from hell in the way they live, breed and die in inaccessible parts of your house. Recent years have seen the return of bush turkeys. At first, everyone thought this was a good sign, but the turkeys now have taken over. They scratch away mulch and soil to suit their wishes and don't bother about replacing it; they soil paths, handrails and such like; eat herbs and vegetables you've planted and generally make themselves a nuisance. Other wildlife includes currawongs with their beautiful singing, kookaburras, powerful owls and a range of lizards. One of life's great pleasures is to float on your back in the pool late in the afternoon of a hot day, look up at the sun on the top of the eucalypts against a blue sky, and hear the kookaburras calling each to each. Blue tongue lizards in particular are very welcome as allegedly they eat funnel webs.
  • mt--
    mousethief wrote: »
    Are pig farmers otherwise a superstitious lot?

    I think it's more a question of whether the pigs might be--or simply scared to death. Eagles are known to carry animals off--sometimes, even pets. So ISTM it's reasonable that a pregnant pig might be so scared that she loses the fetus.
  • Golden Key wrote: »
    mt--
    mousethief wrote: »
    Are pig farmers otherwise a superstitious lot?

    I think it's more a question of whether the pigs might be--or simply scared to death. Eagles are known to carry animals off--sometimes, even pets. So ISTM it's reasonable that a pregnant pig might be so scared that she loses the fetus.

    There's also the reality that farmers have always blamed big birds like eagles for any misfortune that befalls their animals, regardless of whether it may be justified or not. That is one of the reasons why Red Kites (primarily scavengers but will also take small prey like mice & rats) were wiped out in England, when they were once uber-numerous. Kites offer no threat to lambs, piglets or calves. They were still hunted to extinction. And sadly, that kind of illogical antipathy still exists in places.
  • Golden Key wrote: »
    mt--
    mousethief wrote: »
    Are pig farmers otherwise a superstitious lot?

    I think it's more a question of whether the pigs might be--or simply scared to death. Eagles are known to carry animals off--sometimes, even pets. So ISTM it's reasonable that a pregnant pig might be so scared that she loses the fetus.

    There's also the reality that farmers have always blamed big birds like eagles for any misfortune that befalls their animals, regardless of whether it may be justified or not. That is one of the reasons why Red Kites (primarily scavengers but will also take small prey like mice & rats) were wiped out in England, when they were once uber-numerous. Kites offer no threat to lambs, piglets or calves. They were still hunted to extinction. And sadly, that kind of illogical antipathy still exists in places.

    Yes, I remember when white-tailed eagles were brought to Rum, and local sheep farmers raised a hue and cry over lambs being taken. I think these eagles take a lot of carrion, dead deer, etc., and also compensation was offered.
  • I forgot to say that the farm where the eagles are being intr
  • Sorry, introduced also has beavers. The Ken Hill Estate, Norfolk, but obviously no visiting right now. It's one of these rewilding farms.
  • There are red kite feeding stations at Gigrin Farm, Rhayader, and on the moors above Aberystwyth. Kites have spread south, and we sometimes see them above Merthyr and above our valley.
    Some years ago, I was driving to work in Merthyr and saw a red kite above our local country park. I was so exited that I wanted to tell everyone when I got in. Sadly, my colleagues in the office weren’t at all interested ☹️
  • Forgot to add, we have also seen a red kite above the Abergavenny-Hereford road.
  • We see them in London now, I guess flying over from their Chilterns base, supposed to be over a 1000 pairs now.
  • Squirrels can be incredibly destructive if they get into a house. Attic or under one without a basement. They're basically rats in that context.
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    Grey squirrels are rats with fluffy tails and good PR.
  • la vie en rougela vie en rouge Circus Host, 8th Day Host
    edited January 23
    Hedgehogs on the other hand are very cool creatures. I spotted one pootling about in our garden in foie gras land last summer.
  • We have a visiting hedgehog but only know that due to the perfectly shaped droppings alongside a shed. Not seen it Yet!

    The female Great Spotted Woodpecker has arrived back, hammering away at what looks like a blocked up bird box without bat holes in the base.

    I m missing seeing the buzzards that used to whirl over our stop-gap rental in the south of Scotland
  • LydaLyda Shipmate
    We have had woodpeckers noshing at our hummingbird feeders. I didn't know they had sweet tooths. And the city planted live oaks 65 years ago on our street dropping tons of acorns. I never saw squirrels here when I was growing up, but now... :open_mouth:
  • SparrowSparrow Shipmate
    I had a visit from a Great Spotted Woodpecker a couple of days ago, in my London suburban garden. I think it must have flown over from the nearby park.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    There are a lot of Red Kites round where my daughter lives but it's still quite an excitement to see one here as they only seem to pass through in the Spring. That in itself is odd, since unlike in Central Europe, ours don't migrate.

    I agree with @Sandemaniac. Kites do not take lambs or piglets, yet alone their mums. They are scavengers. Even a Buzzard would have problems with anything bigger than a rabbit. I'm very envious of your seeing a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. They're both rare and difficult to see here. I've only seen three in my life and one of those was nearly 65 years ago.

    Even though I live in quite an urban setting, I do quite often see Buzzards, Peregrines and Ravens. They all nest within a mile or two of the house.

    A White Tailed Eagle/Sea Eagle is something I'd really like to see. It's the only regular (i.e. non-vagrant) day time British Isles bird of prey I've never seen. The juveniles have got a bit of a name now for travelling. Two of the Isle of Wight ones went on a great circular tour round England last Spring. So one can always hope.

    There's an owl with rather elusive habits which is one of my bogey-birds.

    @Rufus T Firefly the males especially of our siskins are a brilliant green, especially in Spring. Are yours? Ours nest in pinewoods and have become much more widespread winter visitors since large areas of moorland in the north of England and southern Scotland were covered with plantations.

  • Here in Southampton a Lesser spotted woodpecker visited my feeder recently. Very exciting but all too brief. I love it when a Nuthatch visits -but hasn't been around for a couple of weeks - I worry! In the summer a Green woodpecker sometimes comes to pick ants from the lawn.
    Nearby on the River Itchen we see Kingfishers and occasionally a Water Vole.
    Yellow wagtails on the River Test. The River Hamble is great for waders and visiting ducks.
  • We used to have lesser spotted woodpeckers, west London, but I haven't heard one drum for years. Their decline has been ascribed to decline in habitat, (dead trees), and/or loss of breeding holes to parakeets. Definitely red-listed.
  • Parakeets!! My sister has them in her garden in Surbiton.
    I think they are a noisy nuisance and should be culled -but I don't know what the RSPB thinks!
  • Sorry, introduced also has beavers. The Ken Hill Estate, Norfolk, but obviously no visiting right now. It's one of these rewilding farms.

    If I possessed personal artillery, beavers would be an an endangered species around here after one of them took down a magnolia tree a few years ago.
  • I think mass culling is unlikely at the moment, although I think they can be legally killed. Richmond Park has killed some, as starlings there have disappeared.

    It's difficult though to link X with Y, e.g., more parakeets and fewer starlings = causation.
  • Talking of starlings, a friend of mine saw 100 000, a genuine murmuration, North Cave Wetlands.
  • Saw a lovely herd of red deer today, about 50 of them, though they don’t stand still long enough to count them!
  • Rufus T FireflyRufus T Firefly Shipmate
    edited January 24
    Enoch wrote: »
    @Rufus T Firefly the males especially of our siskins are a brilliant green, especially in Spring. Are yours? Ours nest in pinewoods and have become much more widespread winter visitors since large areas of moorland in the north of England and southern Scotland were covered with plantations.

    The Pine Siskins here are streaky brown, with yellow edging. No green involved at all:
    Pine Siskin

    Round here, we have a number of woodpeckers. Most commonly seen at our feeders is the Northern Flicker. This also loves to tap on the metal outlets at the top of chimneys - makes a great sounding post.
    Northern Flicker

    We also get
    Pileated Woodpecker
    Hairy Woodpecker
    Downy Woodpecker

    With regards to parakeets - they used to fly through our garden in Surrey. Pests! I would be in favour of culling them. But then again, we have endless House Sparrows and Starlings around us here (like parakeets, non-native species) and I am slightly tolerant to them, so I can't really be too dogmatic about parakeets.
  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    edited January 24
    We get bald eagles (one of which perched on my bedroom roof, eyeing the koi pond). And way, WAY too many deer. And owls, which are lovely for keeping down the snakes. (Found a copperhead snake just underfoot while up at Boy Scout camp, trying to enter my tent--we had to call the powers-that-be to remove him, as he had protected status, and they warned us not to let anyone else know we had found one, for fear of panic. So we named him "Fluffy" and discussed the hell out of him under that name only for the rest of the trip. And of course the plastic snake came out and was deposited in various people's boots!)
  • jedijudyjedijudy Heaven Host, 8th Day Host
    Harriet our resident Mama Bald Eagle, laid two eggs in December. One was on Beethoven's birthday, and the other three days later. They both hatched yesterday, two hours apart! We love our eagles here!

    Hopefully, since they both hatched the same day, neither will be a runt!
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host, 8th Day Host
    I see deer in the woods, especially when I go there at times when other people aren't there, like early in the morning, or at the parts of the wodds where other people don't tend to walk. They freeze when they see me, and then I stop and we look at each other. If I then start walking again, they dart away, but I find if I start humming a song when I walk by, they relax and just stand there and look at me. So I hum a lot in the woods, so I can see the deer and not scare them. They seem to like all kinds of tunes, from Handel to Roders and Hammerstein to Irish folk songs. I feel bad for them, because lots of woodland has been removed, so now they are coming to the residential areas too, and kids taunt them sometimes. They are often coming to my neighbourhood in the night - I don't see them, but I see all the droppings they leave on the pathway outside my home. One got into my neighbour's back garden one time, and she was terrified he would charge into her glass doors with his antlers and attack her, so I went over and showed her that if she just opens the door, the deer will run away.

    There is a place in the woods with a telescope to see a peregrine falcon's nest, and I sometimes have looked through it and the guy there explains where it is, but it just looks like a tiny dot to me.
  • Interesting about siskins, the pine siskin is spinus pinus, and is drabber than the Eurasian siskin, spinus spinus, which has bright yellow and green plumage, as well as black. The spinus genus has 20 species in it, most of them unknown to me, quite a lot in S. America, and it's odd that the Eurasian siskin is one of only 2 Old World species, how all that evolved dunno, except that they are finches.
  • I didn't see the woodpeckers, I heard them - I was in the Forest, with lots of trees rotting as they stand, so good habitat, and you can hear the two different drumming sounds. We have seen a goldcrest close up there

    Today's red list bird encounter was a flock of fieldfares - 30-40 maybe, maybe more. Not the most attractive song from one of the thrush family, but amazing to see, and so many of them. Also a couple of charms of goldfinches.
  • Dunnocks starting to sing, along with snowdrops, signs that spring is coming. Plenty of "kick" calls from greater spotted.
  • LydaLyda Shipmate
    jedijudy wrote: »
    Harriet our resident Mama Bald Eagle, laid two eggs in December. One was on Beethoven's birthday, and the other three days later. They both hatched yesterday, two hours apart! We love our eagles here!

    Hopefully, since they both hatched the same day, neither will be a runt!

    I went to look. They are so darned cute at this puffball stage! Harriet had been brooding them and when she got up for a stretch and to see how they were doing, they started going at it like your typical sibs. I imagine since they are equal in hatched age, they have some dominance to work out.
  • Just watching some wood pigeons doing their stall manoeuvre. This happens when they fly upwards and abruptly stop, and stall, then fly out of the stall. This is normally a courtship signal, and I think some other doves do it. It seems a bit early, but it's very mild right now in London. They also clap their wings sometimes.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Lyda wrote: »
    jedijudy wrote: »
    Harriet our resident Mama Bald Eagle, laid two eggs in December. One was on Beethoven's birthday, and the other three days later. They both hatched yesterday, two hours apart! We love our eagles here!

    Hopefully, since they both hatched the same day, neither will be a runt!

    I went to look. They are so darned cute at this puffball stage! Harriet had been brooding them and when she got up for a stretch and to see how they were doing, they started going at it like your typical sibs. I imagine since they are equal in hatched age, they have some dominance to work out.
    Nice that unlike Golden Eaglets the first hatched hasn't murdered its younger sibling.


  • LydaLyda Shipmate
    IIRC that's home life for hyenas, too. "Red of tooth", indeed! :anguished:
  • Just looked out of the kitchen window while preparing lunch to see a red kite lazily circling over - it's not an uncommon sight around here. I'm the other side of London from the Chilterns, so they've moved quite a distance.
  • I have tits!

    They've been investigating my bird box today.
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    Enoch wrote: »

    Nice that unlike Golden Eaglets the first hatched hasn't murdered its younger sibling.

    I know the feeling.
  • I have tits!

    Congratulations!

  • I foresee that they will be an *endless* source of distraction...
  • Blue I presume? They'll be gone by April, just three months of distraction.

    (I set up a youthwork introduction for the Bird Gardenwatch this weekend yesterday, with a list of all the UK native tits and a question as to which was the odd one out*. That's blue tit, great tit, coal tit, marsh tit, willow tit, long-tailed tit and crested tit - with a slide showing pictures of them all after the question. The other one was asking them to choose a number from 1 to 4 in answer to a question to identify common birds like robins, magpie, jackdaw, blackbird, chaffinch, sparrow, pied wagtail and something else commonly seen around here. All my fellow youthworkers panicked when they saw the bird slides and were relieved they only had to choose the right number. Of course, no young people for the zoom session, so we tested out a load of ideas.)

    * it's the long tailed tit which is not a member of the Parus family, unlike the rest of them
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