Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Cottam 26th December

Had a couple of hours in the southern half of the area this afternoon, and found another sizeable colony of House Sparrows in the hedgerow between Cottam Way and Valentine's canal bridge. There were at least 13 birds, and could have been anything up to 20 present.
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In the same stretch of hedgerow, and in many other places as well, were Blackbirds that were typical of Scandinavian winter visitors; most of the birds I saw were females for some reason.
- click on the image to enlarge-
Just one of the migrant (probably) Continental Blackbirds seen this afternoon in Cottam.
Photo: Steve Halliwell
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Posted by: Steve Halliwell

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Thursday 22nd December

Thursday 22nd December 2011   Cottam - over the Primary School - 35 Pink-footed Geese flew north at 1pm.
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Shortest day of the year today - from now it's onwards and upwards!
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Posted by: Steve Halliwell

BATS in COTTAM

Right now, our only flying mammals are hibernating in trees, buildings and specially provided bat-boxes, in our area - but where? See below for a request for information.
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In the few months that I have lived in Cottam, I have established some good hunting/feeding areas, including Haydock Lane pond, where I think there are Daubenton's (or Water) Bats, with Pipistrelle Bats feeding abundantly at the Cottam Way/Valentines Lane junction, and the Hoyles Lane/Miller Lane junction.
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In addition to these spots, individual bats have been located at many, many places in the area.
The tiniest of creatures (compare with the tip of a thumb)
but a wing-span of up to 9.5 inches
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It is my intention to hold some bat-walks in the spring and early summer - in fact as many as demand dictates. I have approached the primary school with a view to running parent and children Friday evenings, and I'm sure there must be other interested parties. I have also had an offer from a bat expert to come along and help lead the walks.
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I have bat-detectors for use on those walks, so if you're interested, please register that interest with me:

prestonbirder@aol.com

Also, if you know of the location of any bat roosts in Cottam, please let me know about them at the same email address.
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Posted by: Steve Halliwell............ want to know a little more about a year in the life of a bat, starting from now?

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Birds of the Preston Area

If anyone would like to get an overview of the 'Birds of the Preston Area from 1943 - 2008' I published a review on the website of the Preston Bird Watching and Natural History Society a year or two ago. If you click on the link you may have a look:

http://www.prestonsociety.co.uk/p/birds-of-preston.html

Posted by: Steve Halliwell

Wednesday 21st December

Wednesday 21st December North part of Cottam. A quick look round some of the ponds despite it being damp. A sparrowhak floated over Haydock Lane pond and the school; Haydock Pond held 40 Mallard - 18m and 22 f; 3 Waterhen; 11 Black-headed Gulls; and a singing (sub-song) Robin. Greenside Pond held 19m and 16f Mallard; 4 Waterhen; a few Blackbirds, males with dark bills, which would suggest that they were Scandinavian migrants. Very skittish and alarm calling, but not as many of them as there were a week or 10 days ago. Two Grey Squirrels were in trees by the pond.
Miller Lane - Pair of Collared Doves; 3 Goldfinch; Blue Tit; 2 Greenfinch. Greenmead Pond - Just 4m and 2f Mallard. Bideford Pond - 3m and 2f Mallard, and a huge amount of rubbish in and around the pond and adjacent woodland - despite the provision of a waste bin near the playground. Ancient Oak Pond - 1m Mallard; 2 Jackdaw (over) 4 Woodpigeons and a Magpie. Over the last week I've notice one or two areas where there seems to be a good concentration of House Sparrows. Today I heard a lot calling from some evergreen bushes close to Greenmead Pond and Swallowfield. Last week I heard a lot in similar circumstances close to a house on Valentines Meadow, where it backs onto Valentines Lane footpath.

I've just been reading about the difficulties that House Sparrows are still having, Have a look at the following link, and consider how YOU could 'Step up for Nature' in 2012:-

http://www.rspb.org.uk/steppingup/

Posted by: Steve Halliwell

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Birds in Cottam

Male Tufted Duck
Right, let's make a start. There's probably only one time that's better than January 1st to make a start with anything. That's right now!!
SEND YOUR SIGHTINGS TO ME: prestonbirder@aol.com
Please only report sightings you are certain of, as an erroneous record is worse than no record.
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Sunday 18th December 2011  Cottam Hall Brickworks.  SD 508316  8+ Bullfinch, 1 Jay, 5 Greenfinch, and 45 Pink-footed Geese that flew over in a WSW direction.   pp Peter Bainbridge
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Posted by: Steve Halliwell

Saturday, 17 December 2011

2011 Moths

Having moved to Cottam at the end of August, there has only been a limited amount of time to devote to trapping moths.
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However, for those who still think that all moths are small brown things that eat your clothes (incidentally 4 or 5 species out of a British moth fauna of 2,500 species will eat them) I offer you a few species that I've caught in my garden in the last month or two.
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If anyone will allow their garden to be used for moth-trapping, please get in touch with me, and we'll make arrangements for next year. Email me at prestonbirder@aol.com
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Angle Shades       Photo: Steve Halliwell
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Angle Shades from a shade different angle! 
Photo: Steve Halliwell
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Merveille de Jour        Photo: Steve Halliwell
Small and brown? - do me a favour!
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 i.d. to be confirmed                 Photo: Steve Halliwell
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Feathered Thorn (no guesses as to why it's called that!)
Photo: Steve Halliwell (Taken at Maxy House Farm in Cottam)
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Brimstone Moth  - similar in colouration to the Brimstone Butterfly.
Photo: Steve Halliwell
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Garden Carpet Moth           Photo: Steve Halliwell
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Pyralis farinalis - Meal Moth
Photo: Steve Halliwell
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Setaceous Hebrew Charachter  Photo: Steve Halliwell
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More to follow soon.
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Posted by: Steve Halliwell