Notes from a field - Bob Sheridan
Langham in Rutland
February 2016 Now   that   the   leaves   have   fallen   it   is   much   easier   to   see   the   birds   that   were   previously hidden    in    the    foliage.    The    number    of    species    seen    on    my    regular    dog    walks    has surprised me. Munday's Close was popular with bullfinches and on Mickley Lane   were     regular     sightings     of     goldcrests     busily     picking     tiny     insects     from     the     ivy. Large numbers   of   blackbirds   were   picking   the   remaining   haws   and   in   the   tops   of   the bushes   redwings   and   fieldfares   were   taking   sloes.   Other   birds   regularly   seen   were great tit,   blue   tit,   long-tailed   tit,   hedge   sparrow,   house   sparrow,   robin,   wren,   chaffinch, goldfinch   and   a   kestrel   perched   on   the   power   lines.   Reports   of   other   birds   seen   in   local gardens   include   coal   tit,   magpie,   pied   wagtail,   yellow   wagtail,   great   spotted   woodpecker and green woodpecker. The kingfisher is seen regularly flying along the brook. In   the   field   there   are   always   pied   wagtails   flicking   their   long   tails   and   of   course   many   of the   other   birds   already   mentioned.   Russell,   the   crow,   is   still   around   and   so   are   the second   brood   chicks.   They   don't   seem   to   have   been   driven   off   as   were   the   first   brood. The   buzzards   and   kites   are   still   regularly   seen,   the   buzzards   often   perching   in   the   trees. Brownie,   the   female   pheasant,   has   finally   returned.   I   thought   she   had   not   come   back   as a   lot   of   other   females   have   been   around   for   weeks.   She   immediately   went   to   the   top   of the   pecking   order   seeing   off   another   female   that   had   become   hand   tame.   She   has   now developed   a   new   strategy   by   sitting   on   a   rail   of   the   fence   while   I   feed   her   leaving   the others   on   the   ground   to   retrieve   what   she   drops.      A   pair   of   mallard   have   joined   the pheasants   at   feeding   time.   It   must   be   the   pair   from   last   year   as   they   are   not   bothered by   my   presence.   A   green   woodpecker   spends   time   on   the   ground   going   through   old horse   droppings   to   collect   the   masses   of   dung   beetles   underneath   them.   A little   egret irregularly    makes    a    guest    appearance    and    a    lone    swan    was    seen    flying    overhead. Only one   moorhen   seems   to   have   survived   from   the   two   adults   and   ten   chicks   of   last year.   Were   they   all   lost   to   the   mink?   The   high   winds   have   caused   some   aerial   acrobatic displays   from   flocks   of   rooks   as   they   battle   against   it.   They   come   to   a   standstill   and hover   for   a   while   before   wheeling   away   all   the   time   cawing   loudly.   When you   get   thirty or more at a time it seems the sky is filled with rooks. In   the   garden   I   spotted   an   unusual   orange   and   black   bug.   I   took   a   quick   photograph   on my   phone   and   went   to   fetch   my   camera   for   a   better   shot.   When   I   returned   it   was nowhere    to    be    seen.    However    the    phone    picture    was    enough    to    identify    it    as    a cinnamon   bug    which   apparently   is   becoming   more   common   in   the   area.   I   put   out   some over   ripe   bananas   and   strawberries   on   the   bird   table   for   the   blackbirds.   They   did   not get much chance with the strawberries as a grey squirrel  became quite partial to them.