OUR BIG GARDEN BIRDWATCH 11/03/2013

Welcome back to our ‘Big Garden Birdwatch’

This month has welcomed the returning of our feathered friends

‘Greater Spotted Woodpecker’ and ‘Jay’

Enjoy our photos.

Great Spotted Woodpecker Male Knocking  Top off dead Tree Trunk for Insects 08032013   Great Spotted Woodpecker Male Knocking tree Bark for Insects 08032013   Great Spotted Woodpecker Male 10032013

GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER (Dendrocopos major)

Our Great Spotted Woodpecker feathered friend has come back this year, a Male adult, knocking a long the trees and branches. We have seen him on the Coconut Treat, hanging outside our window that he enjoys, we’ve see him hanging upside-down knocking into the fat and buggy-bits, a real treat! As and when he will let us take a pic we will upload for you all to see. He has striking beautiful Black and white plumage and a small bit of Red at the back of his head and beneath is tail . The photos we have taken through the windows on the 08/03/2013 yep it was wet and cold that day, but our Great Spotted friend was out and about knocking the bark for bugs n beetles.

HABITS: The rapid “drum roll” of this bird is a common sound of Spring Woodland. The Woodpecker itself is often easy to locate, propped on its tail as it hammers at back or timber. Although similar to the Middle Spotted, it has less red on its head,  and more beneath is tail. He has a bright red on back of his head, bright buff below, bold black and white above and vivid red under his tail. Rarely seen on the ground. Generally solitary outside the breeding season. When danger threatens, it will spiral up a tree trunk or branch and often ‘freezes’ on the side facing away from the danger. When attacking food with tongue shells it it will wedge it in a crevice in a tree trunk or branch and hammer it open with its powerful bill. During courtship pairs engage in noisy chases among the trees.

HABITAT: Likely to be found almost anywhere there are trees, both in coniferous and deciduous woods, provided the trees are large enough to support the nest-holes. Some live in parks and large mature gardens in urban locations.

FEEDS ON:  Feeds mainly on insects in Summer and seeds and nuts in Winter. Eats  a wide variety of insects, including adults and larvae of wood-boring beetles, which the woodpecker reaches by chipping away at dead wood and using its long tongue to reach into the insects’ chambers. Will also create a hole in a nest box to reach the young birds inside, which it then eats or feeds to its own young. May visit bird tables and will frequently cling to hanging feeders. Gardens and scrub a well as mature woodlands; breeds in both deciduous and conifer woods. digs insects and grubs from bark with strong bill; also seeds and berries. He will hang from a peanut feeder and coconut fat, seed, treats.

NESTING:  Bore nest hole in tree trunk or branch; 4-7 eggs, 1 brood; April-June.

VOICE: Sharp and loud ‘kick, kick’ may be heard throughout the year and is often the best indication of the bird’s presence. ‘Song’ is an instrumental sound made by drumming with its bill on a branch. The short bursts of drumming last around 5 seconds and accelerate before fading away at the end. Most drumming takes place in late winter and early spring.

Later…today we threw out some Monkey Nuts in their shells we thought for the local Squirrel, but little did we know we had other company. Josh said look there through there a new bird…we looked and behold there were two Jays swooping down and picking up every one of the Monkey nuts we put down. Flabbergasted we threw and a whole load more monkey nuts down on to the ground and sat back and watched they showed themselves even though being very shy birds but even though one after another each of the Jay few off with every one of them Monkey nuts, and as we thought they were storing them for the winter and for feeding their chicks. It was amazing and we were truly blessed with the visit and they will be back later for sure when we get some more Monkey Nuts. Enjoy our photo they allowed us to take.

Jay in branches waiting to come down to pick up monket nuts for winter and chicks 10032013   Jay in branches woodland 10032013   Jay in branches woodland 10032013a

jay gathering with a beak full of insects or beetles10032013  Jay gathering monkey nuts from scrubland and Ivy. beautiful markings and colours 10032013

‘JAY’ (Garrulus glandarius)

Noisy but shy, the Jay often keeps to thick cover and beats a swift retreat if disturbed, flying off with a flash of its bold white rump. It has a curious habit of allowing ants to run over it plumage, probably to employ the ants’ chemical defences against parasites. Mostache thick and black, pinkish grey body; barred blue wing panel; white patch on black wings; white under tail and black tail. “Anting” posture and raised crest.

HABITS: For most of the year a secretive woodland bird that is more likely to be heard than seen. However, individual birds or small groups become more obvious as they travel away from woods in late summer and autumn, and search out new supplies of food, especially acorns. On the ground it moves with a series of hops. Flight can appear laboured and ‘floppy’, but it is manoeuvrable in woodlands. Territorial when breeding, but in spring gatherings of 3-30 Jays may take place. Breeds in woodland and parks,  especially with oak trees, and visits gardens.

HABITAT: Essentially a woodland bird that lives in both coniferous and deciduous woods especially where there are oak trees. Also found in copses,spinneys and parks. Has recently moved into suburban areas in many parts of southern Britain and is frequently seen in gardens, cemetries and other places with mature trees.

FEEDS ON: Eats mainly insects in summer, with some eggs and nestling, stores acorns in autumn for use i n winter. Acorns are eaten all year round, and sometimes fed to the young. This is possible through the Jay’s habit of hiding food and recovering it later. Food may be hidden in crevices in trees, but is most often buried and covered. Also eats insects, especially caterpillars, cockchafers and other beetles, fruit, nuts, eggs, nestlings of other birds and small mammals.

NESTING: Bulky stick nest, low in dense bush; 4-5 eggs; 1 brood; April-June. Nesting begins in mid-A pril. Nest of twigs lined with fine roots and hair is built by both adults on a branch in a fork in a tree. Female incubates 4-5 eggs for about 18 days. Young are fed by both adults and leave their nest after about 21-22 days, but continue to be fed by their parents until they are 6-8 weeks old.

VOICE: Call is a harsh screech that travels considerable distance through the woods. It also has other, less obvious calls, including a Nasal, mewing pee-on, sound, short bark; loud, harsh, cloth-tearing skairk!

Well my lovelies, fellow Bird Watchers and Twichers, thats it for today.

Sending prayers for a good day:-)

Written By Lizzie and Joshua Christian Copyrighted (c) 11/03/2013

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