Tag Archives: jay

Birds, birds, birds…

Today will go down as The Day of Colourful Birds. Unfortunately I can’t use that as a title as I didn’t get any photos of them so it would be false advertising.

My first stop was Budby Flash – a small lake formed by mining subsidence in 2007. In fact it was my only stop. I didn’t have time for a long walk so that really cut out Rufford and Clumber, and I wanted somewhere with a bit more to it than the duck pond at Arnott Hill.

In addition, I thought it would be nice to go somewhere new. I’ve not actually been along the road since 2007 so I’ve never seen the flash.

I’ve looked flash up in the dictionary, but you have to search hard to find it. It took several dictionaries and when I eventually found it, it was 12th in the list of British nouns.

12. Yorkshire and Lancashire dialect

pond, esp one produced as a consequence of subsidence
I know what a flash is, as I’ve seen several, but I thought I’d better look it up to be sure about it. When you write it in a blog you really need to check. As so often a Nottingham word is claimed for Yorkshire, as the boundaries for this sort of thing can be quite vague.
That, by the way, is why there is a drowned tree – it must have been growing by the side of the River Meden when the flash formed. A good day for ducks, but not so good for trees.
The first thing I noticed was the feeding station, with fat balls and seeds in mesh bags. There was a reasonable flock of tits feeding (Great Tits, Blue Tits and a few Coal Tits) with a Robin and a Dunnock. The surprise of the morning was the Kingfisher.
I was standing on the bridge looking for ducks when a flash of blue shot out from the side of the bridge and flew away down the valley. There’s only one thing that shines that blue on a grey day, so though it wasn’t a great view it was most definitely a Kingfisher.
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Robin – Budby Flash – Nottinghamshire

That was the highlight of the day.
On the way back a Jay flew down by the roadside and picked something up, probably an acorn, before flying off. That was a good view, though, as usual, I couldn’t get a photo.
Finally, feeding on a roundabout on the way home, a small flock of Fieldfares looked bright in the sunlight, despite being shades of grey and brown.

It’s built on seven hills

I do not, of course refer to Rome, because that would be too simple, and too exotic. No, I refer to Sheffield. Unlike Rome, which is famous for culture, romance and Roman ruins, Sheffield is famous for cutlery, silver plate and Henderson’s Relish.

Now, I have to admit that I have never counted the hills in Sheffield and I rely on Number Two son for this information. However, I can say that wherever you go in the city you do seem to be on a hill or next to one, so I find the seven hills story easy to believe.

The reason for this digression from my normal tale of life on the farm is that after work on Monday night I took him back to Sheffield when I should have been blogging. It was a trip I didn’t mind making. Though it was nice to see him for a few days my wallet and the fridge both heaved a sigh of relief when he left.

There are no photographs of Sheffield, though I do have some from the farm.

We had New College down to get some practice with animals, tried out a new unit on egg quality and spotted two male and one female Orange Tip, though (as usual) I couldn’t get a picture, and I finally got to grips with the new booking system. The old booking system had a major flaw, in that it wasn’t a system, so this is a great improvement. I felt quite virtuous for a few minutes.

On the trip to Sheffield we went through Chesterfield, a town famous for its twisted spire. Whilst by-passing the town non the A61, which is a bit of a concrete canyon at the lower end, we were surprised to see a Jay perched on a section of crash barrier by the roadside. It’s not the first bird I think of seeing in an urban environment but there were some trees and patches of waste land within a few hundred yards so I suppose it wasn’t too far away from its natural habitat.

I suppose the moral there is that you don’t always appreciate what is actually in the landscape as you drive down a dual carriageway.

Tuesday (or today, if you prefer) has passed quickly. Julia has painted the outside of the pigsaw and is making the tail. She also had a meeting about the kitchen extension. I passed my time pottering about and, whilst clearing out some old files, found a web-based Health and Safety course that I had forgotten all about. That took up most of the afternoon but if I hadn’t done that I’d only have frittered my time away searching the net for trivia.

Alasdair and I filled the bird feeders last night at 3 pm. At 9.45 am, when we arrived this morning, the fat ball feeder in the hedge was empty (three balls gone in 18 hours!). I knew the jackdaws had found it, but they must have been working hard to eat three in that time. One more secure feeder in the back also came under Jackdaw attack this afternoon. It’s not just the quantity they eat but the way they drive the smaller birds away. I think we may have to stop feeding fat balls.

Good week for the birds

It’s been a good week for birds this week. Apart from the normal visitors we had a Great Spotted Woodpecker on Monday and a Jay on Thursday. The Jay was chasing a magpie, which makes me think the magpie was trying to raid the Jay’s nest. I’ve seen a buzzard and barn owl facing off before, which was quite eerie in the fading light, but never seen a Jay chase a magpie. With them being closely related it seems a bit strange, though with the Magpie being a renowned robber of nests I suppose it isn’t that unusual. What I do know is that I missed a dimension by being in the car, because it wouldn’t have been a quiet pursuit. We regularly have magpies quarrelling in our street and they are quite vocal, with jays also being well known for their calling.

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OK, I confess it’s a poor photo…

We’ve had two good sightings of buzzards this week too, both standing on fence posts next to the A46 – one virtually white on the breast and the other almost all brown. I don’t know why they select the posts they do as they are usually a bit below the level of the road. I’m used to seeing them on lamp posts and telegraph poles so the fence post seems a bit unambitious. It’s strange to think that when I was growing up we had to travel to Devon or Wales to see buzzards.

Finally we saw the yellowest yellowhammer I’ve ever seen. It’s the sunlight – everything looks better in the sun.

As a last sighting for the week – driving to Hobbycraft after picking  Julia up from work we saw a Common Tern flying along the canal, and actually diving to feed. It’s not rare, because they breed in the gravel pits along the Trent, but it was nice to see.