29th January – Holton Lee and New Forest   Leave a comment

Today I tried ringing at Holton Lee, the private estate to the south of Lytchett Bay. I hoped that ringing at the well stocked feeders would show if there was much interchange between resident birds species on either side of the Sherford River.

It was a very busy few hours with nearly 50 birds trapped, mainly tits, but there was only one retrap from the Lytchett Bay ringing site. I also caught a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Nuthatch. We had to leave by 1030 or we coud have caught a lot more. Quite frustratingly, a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker was calling near to the trapping area but I was too busy extracting and my bins were at our ringing base, so I didn’t even have a chance to search for it.

Nuthatch

Male Great Spotted Woodpecker

We had already arranged to meet Angela, Margaret’s friend and former colleague from her Southampton days, at Calshot. Angela does a bit of birding and Margaret suggested that she might like to see the Spanish Sparrow and Dark-eyed Junco that I saw earlier in the month. The Sparrow often feeds in the same garden and we were invited in by a very nice couple and allowed to watch it from their kitchen. They have raised about £2000 in donations for charity from visiting birders.

Spanish Sparrow, quite localised in Spain the main populations occurs in North Africa, the Balkans and Turkey east to Central Asia. These eastern populations are migratory and one may well have landed on a ship on route to Southampton.

Closely related to the House Sparrow this long-stayer may have already bred with local sparrows. This will be the only Spanish Sparrow to have ever been recorded on the RSPB,s Garden Birdwatch survey which took place on Saturday.

After an excellent pub lunch we headed into the New Forest and soon connected with the Dark-eyed Junco at Hawkshill. Juncos winter mainly within North America, i.e. don’t undergo the huge migrations that some of the American warblers, vireos and thrushes do, which could result in a few individuals being swept across to Europe by powerful winds. I wonder if this bird, like the Spanish Sparrow arrived here on a ship. We ended the day at Blackwater Arboretum for more views of Hawfinches.

On arrival at Hawkshill, Crossbills showed well in the surrounding trees.

Chaffinches and Reed Buntings are feeding on grain put out for the Junco.

But the Junco remained more elusive, perching up in the more distant trees.

Posted January 30, 2012 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

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