28.2.15.

Wow! Already last day of February! Only popped down today to fill feeders and put some food out for birds.

Also did a small bird count:- 5- Long-tailed Tits, 4- Chaffinch, 1- Greenfinch (+) 1- Robin, 1- Blackbird, 2- Jay, 3- Bullfinch, 4- Great Tit, 3- Blue Tit, 1- Coal Tit.

Two highlights today, just by feeding the birds. Firstly could not believe the Long-tailed Tits today..they were landing on the fat ball holder while I was lifting the top, and dropping the fat balls in. First ever time I have come face to face with Long-tailed Tits. They look even cuter close up!  Secondly saw my first Greenfinch local this year, I had seen Greenfinch on a trip to Norfolk. This bird was feeding on the seed, by the Wardens office. Takes my total for Highgate Common up to 46 for the year!

Standard

27.2.15.

Frosty start to the day, but by 10am it warmed up, and turned into a beautiful day.

Decided to do a complete walk around the outside of HC today! Although the Song Thrush has been added to the Red List, after todays walk, I think I can say numbers on The Common seem quite healthy. Counted back sightings when I got home, and I know I saw at least 10. At one stage I could hear four all singing from different area’s…

IMG_5062 IMG_5063 IMG_5081 IMG_5083

Talking about singing, one of the loudest songs from a bird you will hear in Britain, must be from the tiny Wren…

IMG_5066IMG_5064

Other birds being heard quite often lately are both species of Woodpecker. The Great-spotted Drumming on the trees. The Green Woodpecker with its Yaffle. This is not the first time I’ve seen a male Great-spotted Woodpecker drumming on this Silver Birch. I could have cropped these photos closer, but I like the Bracket Fungi on the opposite side. Note the Red on the back of the head indicating this is a male…

IMG_5069IMG_5067 IMG_5068

Blackbird…

IMG_5070

The next 8 photos were my highlight today. Firstly:- I was watching 6 Buzzard display gracefully in the sky from the north of HC, ( 6 being the most I’ve seen at once). Secondly it looks like the Juvenile Peregrine Falcon likes hunting exactly where I saw it earlier in the year! But what happened next gave me the size/scale and speed of this Peregrine Falcon compared to a Buzzard. As soon as I saw the Anchor shaped raptor I knew it was a Peregrine. Did not expect it to fly between six displaying Buzzards. The first 5 Buzzards ignored the Peregrine. But the sixth took a dislike to this, and I think tried to tell the young Peregrine…. this is not allowed…

IMG_5084IMG_5071IMG_5074 IMG_5075IMG_5076 IMG_5077IMG_5078 IMG_5079

Work Update! Heavy Plant Vehicles now well at work…

IMG_5061

The next photo is the only drawback of having such vehicles on HC. But I once saw the exact same thing at the Woodland Trusts… Bunkers Hill Wood site. After just over a year it was more or less back to normal….

IMG_5086

Standard

26.2.15.

Really rainy day on Highgate Common today.

With it being so miserable today, the only photography I knew I had a chance with, was checking out The Wardens Office lights for moths. This proved successful and I got to see a new moth (see below photos).

With the moth photos only taking minutes, I had loads of time on my hands, and although wet, I still fancied a walk! So I volunteered my services to do a litter clean up! Thanks to Hannah and Adam (SWT Wardens) I was given a Black Bin Bag, a pair of gloves, and a pick up tool.

Must admit doing this litter pick up, gave me an education to how some Humans are so selfish in their disposal of litter. My Black Dustbin Bag for the litter, was full within about 500 metres of my walk!  Main things I picked up was Drink Cans and Bottles. Next was Plastic Food Cartons from the fast food shops. Most Popular brands were Coca Cola, Ribena, Carling Black Label, Costa Coffee, and McDonalds.

Just a few photos of my litter pick up…

IMG_5046 IMG_5043

This I found amazing, at first I thought I just had an old rope, but when I pulled the rope, I soon found out it was tied to a Garden Shrub. Obviously someone had had some landscaping work done, and the firm must have just dragged it out. Then instead of taking it to the tip, decided to do a bit of Fly Tipping!  Its a shame really, because the shrub looks quite a nice plant. I did remove the rope and added it to my Black Bag, but the shrub was way to big.

But I need to say this….I HATE FLY TIPPERS!!!!!

IMG_5044 IMG_5045

Right! Back to the Wildlife, in this case Moths. These moths are all the same species, but there are slight differences in each one. These are called Dotted Border’s, and its the first time I’ve seen this species of moth…

IMG_5041IMG_5039IMG_5040

Just for a closer comparison….

IMG_5042

Nearly forgot this photo. Almost half of the Birch Coppice car park is now closed, due to the work being done….

IMG_5051

Standard

24.2.15.

Enjoyed my walk today. Seems to be turning slightly milder.

Bird Count:- 3- Great Tit, 5- Blue Tit, 2- Marsh Tit, 2- Robin (photo), 2- Carrion Crow, 2- Wood Pigeon, 2- Magpie, 1- Skylark (singing in meadow), 10+ Long-tailed Tits, 1- Jay, 2- Buzzard, 2- Chaffinch, 1- Lesser Black-backed Gull (photo), 1- Song Thrush,

1- March Moth.

The Long-tailed Tits were performing well again today! Two days running photographed one in the air…

IMG_5022 IMG_5023

This is Literally a real pet hate of mine. Dog owners who hang their Dogs Poo Bags off trees! This one was just yards away from a Dog Poo bin. I have a dog of my own, and would never do this….

IMG_5024

Loved how this Robin popped up on this hedge…

IMG_5025

Lesser Black-backed Gull over…

IMG_5026

Highlight of the day was finding this March Moth, although common, this is the first time I’ve seen one. Also I was lucky I needed the toilet, or I may have missed my first moth of the year! Just shows it pays to keep your eyes peeled everywhere…

IMG_5029IMG_5028IMG_5021

Not such an Highlight…Looks like this Small Tortoiseshell emerged from hibernation to early. This was taken on the window sill on The Staffordshire Wildlife Trust Wardens Office…

IMG_5030

Standard

23.2.15.

More of the same today on the Bird side of things. Just wish spring would hurry up now, so I could start to see a few invertebrates.

Bird Count:- 1- Carrion Crow, 3- Magpie, 10+ Wood Pigeon, 4- Chaffinch, 3- Blue Tit, 4- Robin (photo), 1- Coal Tit, 10+ Long-tailed Tits, 2- Goldcrest (photo), 4- Great Tit, 2- Jackdaw, 1- Marsh Tit, 1- Green Woodpecker, 1- Great-spotted Woodpecker. 1- Song Thrush, 1- Dunnock, 4- Buzzard (displaying).

I would guess this is a new Mining Bee Scrape, which is a new shape if so.

IMG_4358

Glad to see these Long-tailed Tits aren’t taking much notice of the work taking place. This 10+ group are still in their usual place, only a few yards from the trees that have been felled. Although high up, at least these 3 were out in the open…

IMG_5007 IMG_4996 IMG_4998

Robin…

IMG_5003

A couple more photos of Goldcrest…

IMG_5008 IMG_5009

Standard

22.2.15.

Got up really early this Sunday morning. Forecast was for rain from 11am. Must admit today the BBC weather website got it spot on. When I arrived on Highgate Common it was still dark and a frosty -2ºC. When I left the Common it was 2ºC and tipping down with rain.

Bird Count for Today:- 2- Jackdaw, 1- Blackbird, 3- Chaffinch, 4- Robin, 1- Grey Heron (photo), 1- Green Woodpecker (photo), 3- Blue Tit, 3- Carrion Crow, 4- Magpie, 2- Song Thrush (photo), 2- Coal Tit, 10+ Long-tailed Tits, 2- Dunnock, 2- Marsh Tit (photo), 3- Great Tit, 2- Pheasant (photo), 5- Wood Pigeon, 1- Wren, 1- Buzzard, 1- Kestrel, 14- Fieldfare (photo).

To start off, I thought I would give you a taste of my early morning start..

Sunrise looking towards Kingswinford, taken from the south-east of Highgate Common…

IMG_4955

The next six photos are all from my walk round this morning. If you look closely you can make the Song Thrush out, at the top of a tree in Whitehouse Lane. A better photo of the Song Thrush after the Frosty HC scenery…

IMG_4969 IMG_4970 IMG_4971 IMG_4972 IMG_4973 IMG_4975

On pulling on the car park first thing I noticed was this male Pheasant on the west side of Whitehouse Lane, which is not a usual sight with all the dog walking. But being early I guess it was worth the risk…

IMG_4956

The last week, this Song Thrush as been singing in Whitehouse Lane…

IMG_4957

Finally got close enough to see the Grey Heron on the Island Pool, but with the crunchy frosty leaves under foot, it was soon in flight….

IMG_4958 IMG_4961

Remembered today, to take some of the work in progress for the new Heathland Corridor. But from a distance, and through the long lens..,

IMG_4974

14 Distant Fieldfare…

IMG_4963

The Cup Lichen is now getting even more cups…

IMG_4981

I noticed the Rhododendron in the wood is producing its new shoots…

IMG_4976

This fungi is called a Branching Oyster, you can tell this by the decurrent gills extending down the full length of the stem. Thanks to Alison Galbraith for the identification and also the information about its gills…

IMG_4980IMG_4977

This photo is for a Lady and her Husband I see regularly on HC. I will have to ask you your names next time we meet. We both love feeding the birds. The lady asked me this morning, if I had seen the Marsh Tits lately. The answer is YES!.. just five minutes after you left…two came to the feeding area. So I took this photo specially for you, and the kindness you show to the birds…

IMG_4967

My highlight today was not a rare bird for Highgate Common, but getting a bit closer, and also the frosty background. Made seeing this male Green Woodpecker a bit special….

IMG_4986 IMG_4966

Lastly a Photo from my mate Ken Ball, who spotted this Cormorant flying over Highgate Common today….

IMG_4987

Standard

21.2.15.

Strange weather conditions today, arrived on Highgate Common feeling over dressed, with the beautiful sunshine. My walk finished with me wishing I had more layers on. When I left it was snowing and very wintry.

Bird Count today was quite good, with 24 species seen. They were as follows:- 4- Bullfinch (photo), 3- Goldcrest (photo), 10+ Long-tailed Tits (photo), 4- Buzzard (photo), 8- Jackdaw, 1- Great Spotted Woodpecker (photo), 1- Green Woodpecker, 3- Great Tit, 4- Blue Tit, 1- Wren, 5- Chaffinch, 3- Robin, 3- Wood Pigeon, 1- Carrion Crow, 2- Magpie, 2- Coal Tit, 2- Blackbird, 2- Dunnock, 2- Song Thrush, 6- Starling (over), 2- Marsh Tit, 2- Pheasant, 1- Sparrowhawk (photo), 1 Siskin (by wardens office), 10+ Fieldfare (over).

Work is now underway to join the Whitehouse Lane Heath and Goldie Heath together. My walk hasn’t really been affected that much, so still loads of HC to explore…

IMG_4924 IMG_4925

Found a small patch of Snowdrops very close to Staffordshire Wildlife Trust Wardens Office…

IMG_4923IMG_4922

Four Buzzards were displaying today, this was the closest one of them came….

IMG_4926

For such a large finch, and seeing it many many times, it still always amazes me to see Bullfinch’s hang upside down like the Tits do…

IMG_4927

I expect birds like this Coal Tit to hang upside down…

IMG_4933

One day! I will get a very still..out in the open Goldcrest on Highgate Common. I have got some good photos of Goldcrest, but never from HC. This one flew close, but for me just a bit too much motion in the photo. When it did stay still to preen, it was deep in the undergrowth. This Goldcrest is a male, you can tell that by the orange colour in its Gold/Yellow crest…

IMG_4941IMG_4937IMG_4934IMG_4940

This Great-spotted Woodpecker was way to busy digging under bark to notice me. Its a shame I couldn’t get a bit closer. It did finally dig something out (last photo) but I can not tell what it flew off with…

IMG_4931IMG_4928IMG_4929 IMG_4930

Long-tailed Tit…

IMG_4942

Nice to see this male Sparrowhawk checking out the field north of Highgate Common. Its usually Buzzards that are sitting in these trees…

IMG_4943

Standard