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Saturday, January 12, 2019

2018 end and 2019 begins

2018 finishes and 2019 starts with the same  goody

I have been struggling with what was eventually diagnosed as carpal tunnel syndrome. As the pain in my right hand and arm was so bad at times my doctor signed me off work for 2 weeks over the Xmas and New Year period. Driving wasn't comfortable but we did manage to get to Norfolk. The skies were grey almost the entire 7 days we were there. However when I needed it it didn't let me down. You can see below what I needed it for, my 3rd Black-bellied Dipper, that was available about 7 days. Due to the grey skies I only birded my local area, making several trips to the disused wartime airfield at Ludham. I say disused but there is a small hanger where a few locals fly a biplane  from.

What looks like a fast flowing stream is in fact water topping a disused and damaged lock

These high flying Whoopers were heading towards there night time roost

Heard of Whooper and Bewick's Swans at Ludham

Whooper Swans (above) while below you can see a few Bewick's amongst them.

Bewick's arriving on runway 1 one morning

The heard move from ploughed sugar beet field to grassland

The first group depart for their night time roost on a shooters pool near Sea Palling 

4 Russian White-fronted Geese amongst Greylags near Horsey Windmill

Female Stonechat by Martham Broad

It would have been nice if the Whooprs or Bewick's gave me a close fly by but you can't have everything.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Squirrel and parakeet proof feeders

Squirrel and parakeet proof feeders

In Regent's Park we have several areas where hanging bird feeders have erected. The feeding station in the Cricket Pen area 31 is well used by a variety of typical parkland birds and offers good views to the public. We battled for many years to prevent firstly the grey squirrels and then in the 90's the parakeets from using them. The squirrels often damage the feeders and aren't a species you should encourage into a garden especially if you have hedge nesting birds. The parakeets tend to monopolise them and when not eating will sit close by, thus deterring other birds from using them. Over the years I have tried many feeders from various companies, some work, others have failed miserably. At the moment suppliers, well not that I am a ware of  haven't come up with a feeder that excludes these green pests but allows woodpeckers and Nuthatches to feed. I have adapted several feeders in recent years and now feel I have the perfect designs they may look a bit shabby then I haven't got access to the best materials and as long as the birds that I want to attract are happy the that suits me. The feeders you will see in the following photos were all purchased from

Woodpecker feeders

The above feeder is a typical peanut feeder that has been enclosed inside a 4cm x 4cm square mesh wire cage that is a distance of 4cm from the feeder. This allows woodpeckers, nuthatches or tits to feed but excludes parakeets as they like to graze rather than peck.
This is a feeder that closes it's feeding portholes when the weight of a squirrel or something large lands on it. I have stopped this from happening as the following pictures will show.

When you take the feeder apart to fill it there is a central column if you cover this with a length of narrow tubing approximate length shown in pic. This then stops the portholes from closing when something heavy lands on it making it more comfortable for the slightly weightier woodpecker lands on it.

The last steps to making this squirrel and parakeets proof is to cut  some small gauged mesh (I used a squirrel damaged peanut feeder) so that it sits as shown in photo. You will need to cut a 2cm x 2cm sq  to allow the birds to reach the peanuts inside. I divided this small square in half as I found that the parakeets would still try and feed from it. This stopped that, even if they were not actually getting the food but were trying their luck. Having the larger hole first enabled the woodpecker to get used to  feeding from it before the feeding hole was reduced. They may have found the food if the hole was smaller to start with, I didn't have enough mesh if things had gone wrong.
I have used the larger feeder as that is what we had at the time, the smaller maybe more suitable as you do not have to close off the top two feeding holes. 

The aim of these slight changes is to stop the parakeets reaching in a eating the food. You need to cut a 10cm x 10cm piece of mesh and make sure that is secured so that the centre is in line with the feeding porthole (picture below has slightly to much extra mesh). You have to make sure that when filling the feeder the base of the guardian (cage) doesn't move around thus exposing the feed. 

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Mandarins fighting in Regent's Park 14th November

Mandarin Ducks at war

These two drakes fought for over 20 mins, occasionally taking a breather. Other birds in particular geese, Egyptian and Canada came to see what was going on but the ducks ignored them and kept on fighting.