Have been pretty busy recently, so just a quick update and rundown of what has been going on in the brief moments I have managed to spend at the hill over the last couple of weeks..
Since the last post (when pretty much only one blue tit and a few others had fledged), everything seems to be out. The whole park is alive with the sound of begging calls from fledglings to their busy parents.. Plenty of wing-flapping, nervous first flights and dithering from juveniles – very funny to watch the juv. magpies being hesitant, when they look so much like their confident and majestic parents. Coal tits, tons of robins, all other great tit and 6 blue tit nests I was aware of flew within a week of last post – blackcaps were just after a week and not many of them.. Think the Jay might have had something to do with that.
The high winds of late have been a mixed blessing for the fledglings of Brandon Hill: It might have been a bit of a baptism of fire for the early ones, but on the plus side, there doesn’t seem to have been that many raptors about recently. Not sure if they hunt less in the high winds, as although many predators will take advantage of harsh weather and noisy winds to help conceal themselves from prey, birds of prey are more liable to damage a wing, which may prove too much of a risk when they have their own chicks to think about. I think a few nestlings might have stayed in an extra couple of days when the winds picked up too, which might have meant they were a bit more developed when they eventually fledged.
Other bird news – dawn chorus still strong and lively, although only peaking for c. half an hour now between 4:15 and 4:45. Evensong notably less boisterous, particularly now that the song thrushes have quietened down. Able to hear more finches in the evening now as a result – plenty of greenfinches, goldfinches and chaffinches, but still no sign of the elusive bullfinch, which I am assured is resident according to this list published by the Avon Wildlife Trust.. Maybe later in the year 😉
A few new pics of the friendly squidger now just to break up the text…
not sure if he is just checking out his reflection in the lens..
or maybe just enjoying a bit of a pose.
last one – perhaps a bit too friendly this time..
I’m convinced the wildlife in the area these are taken must be habituated as a result of being fed regularly as I have never met such a friendly bunch of creatures – the robins will come and sit on the bench with you and even jays and magpies will occasionally come and hang around your feet.
In the meadow, thick-kneed beetles and common blues are still thick on the ground, the first meadow browns (lots of) have come out, southern hawker dragonflies are hunting and have seen a couple of ichneumons feeding on the umbellifers, which I think are Amblyteles armatorius, but will double check. Have managed to ID the moth I’ve been spotting on occasions over the last month as the day flying burnet companion moth – pretty common, but new to me. Most notable change in the last 2 weeks though is the sudden tumult coming from the grasshoppers and crickets in the meadow.
– Brandon Hill Nature Blog has made the papers: Taking some notes whilst Ed checks a lime tree with a butterfly net during the bioblitz at Tyntesfield with the manor house directly behind.. Looks suspiciously set up to me…
– Sparrows: Had a good meeting with the AWT about Bristol’s sparrows and a few other projects and was directed to a fantastic resource that they have put together as a result of a recently conducted house sparrow survey. Check out their map of house sparrow sightings around the Bristol area here. Note the world’s end population next to Brandon Hill Nature Park looks like only one of 2 in the whole Clifton area!!!
– Inspired by the AWT house sparrow map, I am now working on my own map of Brandon Hill, which will be up very soon to provide a guide to all of the wildlife to be found at the hill. Watch this space!
– Great performance of Midsummer Night’s Dream at the old bowling green last week by the Lord Chamberlain’s Men. Had a great time, even though I kept calling it Twelfth Night, but not sure the blackcap was as happy about the invasion of his territory.
– Have found a lot more broomrape on the JW side. All on Ivy.
– Will be seeing raptors with fledglings soon I reckon 🙂
Still going to be busy for the next 2ish weeks, but will do what I can to keep an eye on things!