31.1.15.

Most of the birds today were seen by the Wardens Office, decided to take a longer look, to see what was turning up. Wardens Office Birds:- 5- Blue Tit (photo), 4- Great Tit (photo), 1- Pheasant, 1- Jay, 1- Great-Spotted Woodpecker, 2- Goldfinch (photo), 4- Coal Tit, 2- Robin, 7- Chaffinch, 1- Blackbird, 1- Nuthatch (photo), 1- Dunnock, 1- Magpie.

Other areas of HC birds:- 1- Marsh Tit, 1- Bullfinch, 3- Black-headed Gull, 5- Redpoll, 2- Carrion Crow, 6- Fieldfare, 10+ Wood Pigeon.

The Scarlet Elf Cups look quite large now (approx 1 inch dia.) I also found another 2. liked how there is water in the cup on this photo…

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Two unidentified Tree Galls…

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Black-headed Gull…

IMG_4680 Nuthatch…

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Goldfinch…Blue Tit, and a pale looking Great Tit…

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IMG_4689 So thats the last day of January in 2015. Lets see what February and the new Heathland Corridor brings.

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My Opinion On The Changes to Highgate Common.

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the upcoming work to be done on Highgate Common next month (Feb), and the impact it may have on the Flora and Fauna.

I’ve been going over Highgate Common for quite a few years. The past 3-4 years its become a great pleasure in my life photographing some of its Wildlife. I visit most Days/Weeks, and in the warmer months still find new things to photograph, and research.

With nearly 40 years Bird Watching, and travelling the length and breadth of Britain, and also visiting loads of Bird and Wildlife Reserves. I think this puts me in a good position to give my own thoughts on the work to make the Heathland bigger and therefore reduce the Woodland.

One of the first things I have noticed seeing other Wildlife Reserves, is that some… although  smaller than Highgate Common, (Invertebrates aside) they attract a larger number of animals and birds. Having walked round the woodland areas of Highgate Common many many times, you do start to notice pockets of none active areas. I personally put this down to the woodland more or less suffocating itself, with many areas being way to dense with trees, and the undergrowth to thick.

So for me, opening up this new corridor will only help the wildlife. Taking last years observation of a Black Darter dragonfly as an example, (which had not been seen for 10 years on HC), it does make me wonder if we had lost this species, because of too much of the Heathland being taken over by trees.

I also believe that with the new Heathland Corridor, we will not lose any of the existing birds and wildlife. In fact I think it will only help establish better populations to the resident wildlife we already have. With more open spaces we may encourage birds like the Stonechat back to the Common. More space also equals more Pipits…more Pipits means.. making sure our children get to listen to that unmistakable Cuckoo song. Also more areas for rodents = more raptors. Who knows with the increase of Barn Owls in the Staffordshire area, even a chance of seeing one of these beautiful birds hunting over Highgate Common.

So I guess what I’m saying…I can only see positives coming from the work starting in February. It obviously will look a muddy mess for quite a while, but give it a chance and time will soon heal the scars left by the workforce.

Also I do hope people realise that the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust are only trying to put it back to how the Heathland looked on aerial photos taken in 1947.

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29.1.15.

Bird count today:- 2- Coal Tit (photo), 2- Great Tit, 4- Blue Tit (photo), 1- Blackbird, 2- Song Thrush (photo), 1- Carrion Crow, 10+ Long-tailed Tits, 2- Chaffinch, 2- Robin (photo), 1- Dunnock, 2- Marsh Tit, 1- Buzzard (photo), 1- Wood Pigeon, 1- Skylark.

Always a pleasure to hear a Skylark singing way up in the sky. This one was floating over the meadow…

IMG_4636 Not sure if this nest box is in the path of the New Heathland corridor. So I hope this Blue Tit is just looking for a tasty insect wintering in the nest box….

IMG_4650 Not a great photo, at this stage of the morning the wind was blowing this Buzzard all over the place. The reason I used this photo, was to say this is the Lightest Morph Buzzard I’ve seen for ages….

IMG_4628 Just to show how windy it got, it gave this poor Robin a Parting. Its hard to get sharp photos in such windy conditions…

IMG_4663 Coal Tit, at least this was a bit sharper…

IMG_4657 Lovely to see 2 Song Thrush this morning! This is a bird I used to see regularly in my own garden. I still put the loss down to Damn Slug Pellets, which I do not use now…

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27.1.15.

2 new birds to the HC year list today. Its strange really, after seeing 60 species in one day, from a trip with my mate Ken to Norfolk. That I can still get excited about two really common birds. Both birds are seen as pests by loads of people, but both are scarce on The Common. The New Birds were 10+ Starling (+) over. Plus 2 Canada Geese (+) literally flying down the Highgate Road, in fact only 3 feet above the road. Not sure if they had been feeding on nearby farmland or the roadside verge. Other birds noted:- 2- Marsh Tit, 3- Great Tit, 6- Chaffinch, 1- Blackbird, 2- Robin, 2- Mallard (photo), 2- Coal Tit, 4- Blue Tit, 1- Great-spotted Woodpecker, 1- Dunnock, 2- Carrion Crow, 1- Green Woodpecker (photo), 1- Grey Heron (photo), 1- Treecreeper, 2- Jay, 1- Magpie, 1- Buzzard, 1- Goldcrest (photo), 1- Song Thrush (heard but not seen).

That takes me to 41 species for HC year list.

This is a common view at HC, of a Grey Heron that visits the Island Pool most weeks…

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Also visiting the pool today were a pair of Mallard, which I suspect flew over me later in the morning…

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Not sure if its just me, but I swear the Bilberry looks a bit healthier after the trees round the pool were thinned out…

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Unidentified Slug, just looks a bit different to the Tree Slugs I usually see…

Update:- Thanks to Phillip Playford who identified this for me as…. Arion hortensis (Blue-black soil slug).

IMG_4610 Must start to learn more about Trees, always fascinates me how Fungi/Moss grows only on the one side. I guess it obvious really, both need the shady side of the tree…

IMG_4611 IMG_4612 Female Green Woodpecker…

IMG_4615 Goldcrest by the feeders near the Wardens Office…

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24.1.15.

Only a short time over HC today, mainly to put some food down for birds. Did manage to see 2-Marsh Tit, 3- Blue Tit, 2- Robin, 2- Great Tit (photo),3- Wood Pigeon, 1- Magpie, 1- Dunnock, 2- Coal Tit, 3- Chaffinch, 1- Carrion Crow, 3- Blackbird, 1- Buzzard.

Great Tit…

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