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Emergency Sprawk.

Posted by on December 9, 2013 4:25 PM | 


Not even the arrival of an emergency Sprawk could delay the inevitable for that long this morning - three or four digiscoped shots through a misty back window as the accipiter sat on our next-door neighbour's surgically sheared hedge, and then I still had to go shoppin' with Mrs D to Liverpool.
Bit like the seventh level of Dante's Hell with extra Bing Crosby and overpriced Bratwurst.
Come to think of it, those bloody shops are certainly hotter than anything the inferno has to offer.


I did ponder as the umpteenth dead-eyed orange sales assistant asked me if I wanted any help (help? help? I should co-co), as to whether the young Sprawk had caught and then clumsily dropped its prey through the hedge - it certainly seemed preoccupied, and they usually perch higher up at Dempsey Towers.
We may never know.
Ask not for whom the bells jingle, they jingle for you.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...



A Jay flew through the garden this morning briefly landing on the fence and I've had a Blue Tit roosting in my camera nest box for over three weeks now. It comes out between 7:30 and 8:00 in the morning depending on the weather conditions.

Spent a few hours this afternoon around Marshside unsuccessfully looking for the Baikal Teal. Me and forty or fifty others, some of whom had come many, many miles. No sign all day apparently, but the sight of tens of thousands (?) of the beautiful Wigeon and a flock of Golden Plover that must have numbered C2000 birds, it was still a great few hours.


BTW - Song Thrush in full voice in Coronation Park Ormskirk yesterday morning.

Nuthatch in the tall trees by Freshfield Station this morning, calling away...

The Wren is a familiar sight in our gardens but you’d be forgiven for not giving it a second thought, especially when the festive Robin is around.
In the past, however, the Wren was the focus of a seasonal hunt and sought out by eager boys and men. These days, the worst Wrens have to face is the cold weather which they are extremely vulnerable to. In order to see how they cope this winter, the British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) Garden BirdWatch (GBW) needs your help.
The Wren has been revered since the time of the druids, who regarded it as a sacred bird and a symbol of wisdom and divinity.
Despite the veneration surrounding it, in the 17th century Wrens became prey in a ritual hunt held once a year.
This maybe linked to a story in which a Wren betrayed St. Stephen and the resulting custom was to ‘stone’ a Wren to death as a punishment on St. Stephen’s Day (26th December).
Once dead, the Wren would be paraded from house to house, with those involved seeking rewards. The custom is still practiced in parts of western Ireland, though these days an effigy is used instead.
Wrens are no longer ritually persecuted by humans but they do still suffer during cold weather.
Severe winters can wipe out much of the Wren’s population. In the winter of 1962/1963, for example, BTO data showed that the Wren population declined by as much as 80%. It then showed a tenfold increase over the next decade, underlining its capacity to ‘bounce back’.
Would you like to help us find out how this winter affects our Wrens? For a free BTO Garden BirdWatch information pack, which includes a copy of our quarterly magazine, email, telephone 01842 750050, or write to GBW, BTO, The Nunnery, Thetford, Norfolk, IP24 2PU.

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