Thursday, 20 January 2011

Shopping for songbirds

I could say all is quiet but the amount of bird song at dawn at the moment disputes that. This morning for example, at 06:15hrs and despite it being only just above freezing and a heavy frost, Waldridge's garden birds were singing their hearts out. From the garden I could hear 4 Blackbirds, 3 Robins, 2 Wrens, 1 Dunnock, 1 Great Tit, 1 Collared Dove and a drumming Great spotted Woodpecker as well as surprisingly 3 different Song Thrushes. The latter just goes to show how many birds live locally as I really thought there was only the one pair of the latter within earshot of the garden. A Jay also flew over, which I only see now and then but I had another fly over Sunderland city centre yesterday,  so I wonder if some are on the move at the moment?
Also yesterday, walking through Chester-le-Street, I took a shortcut through the St. Cuthberts Walk Shopping Centre before the shops were open. I have seen the odd Feral Pigeon and House Sparrow inside (ie indoors) but today there was a Blackbird and 2 Pied Wagtail hopping about. The doors were wedged open which is presumably how they got in but as there was no sign today I hope they managed to get out alright.
Later, my first moth of the year, not in the trap, that's been empty on the few non-freezing nights I've had it out, but sitting on a shady wall during the middle of the day. It was a male Pale Brindled Beauty. The males of this species fly from January to March looking for females, which are quite different being completely wingless and can be found on tree trunks. This thing of flightless females is called being apterous, a feature which is often found in moths which emerge in the winter months. I didn't have my camera with me, nor my phone, but (sadly?) usually have some plastic pot or similar on my person, so I potted it up and brought it indoors to photograph later.

Pale Brindled Beauty - my first moth of the year

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