July 11, 2023

Hugh’s News – 11 July 2023

Signs of a fruitful breeding season are all around us now.  I suspect that the fine summer we have had over the last couple of months will have helped many parents raise their broods successfully.

At their regular Arrowe Park lake, I saw several female and juvenile Mandarin Duck, but interestingly no males were visible!  I wonder where they were hiding?  It seems early to be moulting into their eclipse plumage, but this may be the explanation.

Goldfinch are devouring the sunflower hearts at an astonishing rate on my garden feeder, with the occasional Greenfinch coming in as well.  The adults are now bringing their fledged young to feed too.  Blackbirds, Woodpigeons and Dunnocks are all finishing off the spillage on the grass.

Barry also had a family of Blackbirds eating an apple in his garden, and he is lucky to have regular Great-spotted Woodpeckers.  At Burton Mere Wetlands, Barry captured a beautiful image of a Great (White) Egret from the Reedbed Screen.

The picture Barry sent in didn’t do justice to the bird unfortunately, when he found a Wren in his conservatory (so I haven’t included it).  After leading him a merry dance, Barry eventually coaxed the bird out!

I am a little late with the warning, but please be aware that Avian Flu is sadly affecting many wild birds.  Black-headed Gulls seem to be particularly vulnerable, but other sea and shore birds are being found locally too.  Please do not touch any dead or sick birds that you might come across.  You should report dead birds to the DEFRA Helpline on 03459 33 55 77.

Thank you to Barry and Hugh for the photos in this article.