Birds and wildlife sightings

This new page on our site is all about the birds and wildlife see in and around the park.  We would love contributions from readers about what they’ve seen in the area. You can add comments at the end of this post, or send us an email. Don’t feel obliged to write pages, small contributions are equally welcome.

To start things off here’s a piece from  local resident Lesley:

This cold Winter has attracted a few birds that I’ve not spotted before in the garden. They’ve probably visited in the past but perhaps in lower numbers so I’ve missed them. I like to keep a range of birdfood out to appeal to as many different birds as possible. I especially enjoy watching the goldfinch and occasional greenfinch feasting on the nyger seed but this Winter I’ve noticed redpolls enjoying a good scoff up here too. They look a bit like a female sparrow but smaller with lovely red heads (presumably hence the name) and the males have red breasts too so they’re quite easy to spot. I think these were lesser redpolls although they are quite difficult to distinguish from their cousins the mealy redpolls so I could be mistaken.

A Lesser Redpoll

A Lesser Redpoll

The fieldfare has been spotted a few times in the beech tree this Winter. They, and the redwings, seem to like hanging out together in flocks in the Springmead’s school playing field. My other “new” visitor was a female blackcap. Apparently they have a lovely song but this one didn’t hang around long once she’d caught sight of me watching her through the binoculars.

Blackcap

Blackcap

I’ve also noticed that we have far more regular sightings of red kites, quite often a pair wheeling over Panshanger Aerodrome. Or maybe they are several different kites not the same two. It’s amazing how far these birds have spread from where they were first reintroduced to the wild in the Chilterns over twenty years ago.

A Red Kite

A Red Kite

Taking a walk across Moneyhole Park this Sunday I saw what I believed was a firecrest in Henry Wood flitting about from tree to tree. Such a tiny little bird. However, when I later looked this bird up on the RSPB website I saw that its numbers are considerably lower than the almost identical goldcrest so maybe the chances are that it wasn’t the amber listed firecrest afterall. Are there any other readers out there whose experience might be able to inform me which it might have been?

Firecrest

Firecrest

Carrying on the walk through to Panshanger Park, Birch Green, Letty Green and Cole Green I saw seventy to eighty lapwings poking around on a farmer’s field near Birchall by the A414. Another Winter visitor I’d not noticed before and unfortunately on the red list, ie endangered.

Lapwing

Lapwing

And talking of endangered creatures, a week ago we found a hedgehog curled up in a tight ball on our snow covered lawn. Since he only weighed 300g and shouldn’t have been out during the day time but in hibernation it didn’t look good. I checked our hedgehog house and it didn’t look as if he’d been using it. Normally hedgehogs have to weigh a minimum of 600g and be in hibernation to survive winter, especially a cold one. However, he was still alive so I wrapped him up in an old towel and laid him in a washingup bowl with a hotwater bottle in the bottom to warm him up. I drove him to Miss Tiggywinkles, the well known wildlife rehabilitation outfit near Aylesbury. They took him in and advised me that after they’d fattened him up and got him into hibernation he would probably be released back into the wild in April.

I rang up a week later to check he was still in the land of the living and was pleased to hear he was, so all being well he’ll be back to roaming around someone else’s garden and next Winter tucked up in a cosy bed of leaves.

Tiggywinkles has a visitor centre which is open from Easter, you can find out more on their website HERE.

Pictures above are courtesy of the RSPB, clicking on them will take you to their website and more information.

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