Abbey Meadows

Abbey Meadows

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Spuggies and Starkies

The next Corn buntings?

Starling and House sparrows on my roof

Jelly or Jew's ear

Velvet shank...high up on an old Sycamore

With most of the snow and ice gone this week has been a bit dreak. Monday was the only day when we have had some winter sunshine. The bird pictures above were taken then. The woods are full of common woodland birds and there are a few Brambling among the Chaffinches; most notable around the Skinnery bridge area of the Stanners and along the footpaths around the abbey. Song and Mistle thrushes have been singing and Tawny owls are calling in the early morning. The retreating snow is revealing the fresh shoots of Wild garlic (Ransomes) and there are quite a few Snowdrops in flower in other peoples gardens. Still some fungi to be found like Velvet shank and Jelly ear, Jelly or Jew's ear is found throughout the year but always looks better in winter.

Winter sunshine brings out the best in common birds like Spuggies and Starkies (I still call them that) but it set me thinking back to the dawn of my birdwatching in the early seventies (yes I'm a bit of a dinosoar) when House sparrows were so common that you couldn't accurately count the flocks particularly around harvesting time. Even in winter a good hundred or so would be battling over a plate of Swoop on top of the coal bunker. The recent cold snap has produced just twelve in my garden. Along the common there are smaller numbers but I have seen more Tree sparrows here. Could these be the next fat birds of the barley?


Kingsdowner said...

Swoop - do they still make that?

I also posted on those fungi today - coincidence, or just the turning of the seasons?

Anonymous said...

Great post Nigel and what a treat to see some blue sky. A very rare sighting indeed..

abbey meadows said...

Thanks for the comments...It's a long time since I have seen Swoop. There were two places in Morpeth that always used to sell it. Dean...The blue skies were last Monday, it's been overcast ever since.

C. E. Webster said...

It is amazing how things change when the snow melts. Looking forward to spring. Thanks for posting.