If anyone wondered why I’d been quiet for the last week or so, it’s because I had a week away in Prague. It’s a beautiful city, but it would be off-topic to talk too much about it. Needless to say I kept my eyes open for birds while I was there, though. I missed out on middle spotted woodpeckers and hawfinches, which I’d heard weren’t impossible to see in the centre or Prague, but I did see a few things of interest.
Birds or prey were quite common – kestrels especially, flying overhead or yickering away from the tops of buildings, but I also saw a peregrine and sparrowhawk in the city centre, and a buzzard soaring high over Letna park. Woodpeckers were also very common, with a few great spotteds seen and heard around Letna and Prague Castle, and greens seen or heard at nearly every bit of green space I visited, even busy parks bordering the centre of the city. Jays were common, and at Vysehrad were as fearless and cheeky as magpies are here, hopping around the gravestones of the cemetery there no further than a foot away from me. Other notables included the white-headed, Eastern European race of long-tailed tit, which were quite common and look very different from the ones here.
On arriving home, I discovered the harlequin ladybirds are emerging in good numbers now, with no fewer than five wandering about on the bedroom window. One was of the black ‘spectabilis’ form, and the other four the spotty ‘succinea’ type. I really hope it’s not the start of an infestation…
And today I went for the first look at my patch since I got back, with a walk up to Low Bradfield. No early migrants yet, I’m sorry to report, but I did see:
A tree sparrow on Loxley Road, near Stacey Lane.
A redwing by the side of Loxley Road near Damflask.
Two curlew flying over Damflask, near Bradfield. Two also seen later feeding in a field on Loxley Road, near Storrs Bridge Lane – the same ones?
A GSW calling by the cafe at Bradfield.
A flock of around 10 meadow pipits in a field near Loxley Road.