2000 Starlings, a new bird for the area and Spring is coming!

Hello all out there!

I thought I’d start the first blog of this year with a bit of a bang and a new bird for the area.

Short-eared Owl

Short-eared Owl

This is a Short-eared Owl and this is actually a photo I took of one up in Scotland but there is at least one flying around Twineham/Wineham!

This photo below is the best photo I could manage as the one I saw today as it flew away.

That shape in the middle!

That shape in the middle is an owl!

A good place to look for this is around the river Adur, has large hooped wings and is quite pale underneath. Size wise, they are just a little smaller than a Common Buzzard, but are still about 35cm in length and have a meter wingspan. Short-eared Owls fly during the day, this was at about 3pm.

Short-eared Owls do come down into Sussex in the winter from further north and are an anticipated sight at places like Lewes Brooks and they are associated with wet grassland and open farmland.

I think they are a very special sight and that brings the ‘area total’ to 106!

Right now, I think that the weather might have decided to be more what it should be like at this time of year.

Some of the signs of the early warmth we had are still around, with the daffodils still out and a few other plants ‘waking up’. Here is a hawthorn leaf just coming out into leaf and I have already noticed a Blue Tit coming out of a nest box.

Hawthorn coming into leaf

Hawthorn coming into leaf

Whilst it is still wet out there is it worth remembering that wet grassland is a key habitat for some species, such as Lapwing and if the conditions are right later in the year this for Red-Data List species, they could produce one of these again which won’t happen if there are ever houses there.

Lapwing chick

Something else bit more obvious you get when it rains a lot is puddles (I like to be informative) and puddles are used by birds to bathe in. All fairly straight forward so far. This morning though on the Recreation Ground, this was the case in a major way when, I estimate, something like 2-3,000 Starlings descended on and around the cricket wicket and started bathing on mass.

Starlings on the Recreation Ground

Starlings on the Recreation Ground

They covered the pitch and were heads down, feed on what ever they could find through the grass and occasionally flew up in small clouds.

Close up of the bathing Starlings.

Close up of the bathing Starlings

Whether they’ll make a habit of this, I’m not sure but it was quite a sight!

Moving on to something else, a few weeks ago now I rediscovered a few videos I put up on Youtube of wildlife in and around Twineham and even though it isn’t really the time of year for things like snakes, I thought I’d share them here anyway!

Starting with the previously mentioned Grass Snake, this was sunning itself in the ditch along Gratton Lane (it does start moving).

This is of a Peregrine perched on one of the pylons that runs though here. When I re-found this video it had 8 views which is probably what it deserves as a video, but here it is anyway!

Lastly, is a Roe Deer in the front garden on my outdoor camera and all I’ll say is, I don’t think you’ll see it coming (I didn’t)!

With that, I’ll leave it there.

Tom.

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