Saturday 30 September 2023

RSPB Pagham Harbour, Sussex

Friday 29 September

It was gone 1 o'clock when we arrived at nearby RSPB Pagham Harbour reserve so first time for our picnic as we watched House Sparrows, Blue and Great Tits along with a Woodpigeon making use of the feeders.

The now flooded harbour channel at RSPB Pagham Harbour

Time to head off to the Ferry Hide where we found that the pool held a number of birds but not as many as last Saturday morning.  Still clear weather but now a stiff breeze blowing in through the open windows in front of us.  Off to the far right a Little Egret with another half-way down the right-hand side of the water and a third at the far back left.  On the water immediately on front of us a lone male Shoveler and further back a number of Teal. to the left of the Teal a small flock of Lapwing and a score or more Black-tailed Godwits.  Needless to say there were a number of Black-headed and three Herring Gulls on the water.

Juvenile Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis

Behind us at the feeders, a regular supply of both Blue and Great Tits along with very many Greenfinch and Chaffinch plus a quintet of Goldfinches.  Certainly no shortage of House Sparrows and then a Chiffchaff came to feed on the weeded pond cover plus a single Robin.

Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita

Back at the water and checking the adjacent fields we found plenty of Carrion Crows and Rooks plus Woodpigeon and a resting Buzzard on a distant post.  Finally, we found a couple of Jackdaw and then a handful of Rock Doves.  meanwhile, a lone Shelduck had revealed itself on the water plus we also note a couple of Mallard.

Leaving the hide we made a quick walk to the nearby harbour channel where we found a pair of Mute Swans with their three well-grown cygnets.  A couple of Moorhen then crossed the water as we returned to the hide and then on back towards the car park in readiness for our return drive.

The Mute Swan Cygnus olor family

Birds seen:

Mute Swan, Shelduck, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Little Egret, Buzzard, Moorhen, Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Rock Dove, Woodpigeon, Barn Swallow, Robin, Chiffchaff, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch.

Mute Swan Cygnus olor

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RSPB Medmerry, Sussex

Friday 29 September

Perfect weather for birding, so after collecting friend Richard Osman from Park Gate we were at RSPB Medmerry near Selsey Bill before 10.30 and in time to reach the first viewing point overlooking the rapidly filling channel whilst still a few waders about.  From the car park we had already recorded Woodpigeon and a number of Carrion Crows mobbing a resting Kestrel atop a telephone poll whilst immediately opposite a Robin was carousing us from a bare tree.

Medmerry reserve seen from the first viewing point

A lone Little Egret watched us approach the scene before making its departure whilst below at the water's edge a solitary Greenshank was feeding.  Within minutes it had been joined by a single Redshank. Further away many Teal and a handful of Mallard plus a pair of Mute Swans which, too, made their departure and flew over us towards a neighbouring water.

Little Egret Egretta garzetta

A distant Kingfisher was spotted which then flew much nearer to come to rest close to the only Black-headed Gull in sight.  Meanwhile, there seemed to be a constant movement of Barn Swallows as if in pairs they continued on their migration route.

Mute Swans Cygnus olor

Continuing on along the path overlooking the water the next viewing point we had a number of Robins and Chiffchaff in the trees to or right. A Magpie was seen below us and on a distant, small bare tree in the water a Merlin took flight and passed overhead. Time also to note a couple of Herring Gull, quickly followed by the first of the morning's Blackbirds. No sooner had we observed a small flock of passing Starlings then we came across a very large flock of Linnets which continued to forage on the fields between us and the water.

Distant Kingfisher Alcedo atthis with Back-headed Gull Larus ridibundus

Our final viewing point overlooked the filling estuary in front of us and to the right a large pool had a score or more Canada Geese along with Coots, Moorhen, Mallard, Tufted Duck and a single Great Black-backed Gull.  In addition to the dozen resting Cormorant, more were found on the other side of the track resting at the water's edge.

Making our return journey we stopped to admire the trio of feeding Roe Deer and also noted the the movement of a quintet of Meadow Pipits.  Continuing onwards a field away to our left held a mixed feeding flock of Rooks and Carrion Crows.  A Cetti's Warbler was calling from behind the gorse bushes near some water and a distant Buzzard drifted away.  Back at the car park we added Rock Dove and on a short walk along the road also picked up both House Sparrow and Blue Tit.

Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus

Birds seen:

Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Mallard, Teal, Tufted Duck, Cormorant, Little Egret, Buzzard, Kestrel, Merlin, Moorhen, Coot, Redshank, Greenshank, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Rock Dove, Woodpigeon, Kingfisher, Barn Swallow, Meadow Pipit, Robin, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blue Tit, Magpie, Rook, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Linnet.

Greenshank Tringa nebularia

Redshank Tringa totanus

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Thursday 28 September 2023

Titchfield Canal

Thursday 28 September

Having returned home from the early morning walk for a coffee, I then set off to the car park at Titchfield Canal in the hope that one of the long-staying Glossy Ibis might be found.  Just an hour spent on the walk down to the end of the wooded avenue and back but no ibis to be seen.

Robin and Woodpigeon recorded the minute I set off and checking the water at the Bridge Street floods I found a number of Teal and Black-tailed Godwit but just the two Mallards. Black-headed and a lone Herring Gull were also noted.

Walking down the path I noted the a small number of Barn Swallows feeding over the meadow and in the bushes and trees to my right more Robins and a number of Chiffchaff.  A Little Egret departed down stream from the water whilst above me a couple of Carrion Crows.

Robin Erithacus rubecula

Once at the Posbrook Floods water mainly Teal but also a single Moorhen and a couple of Heron. A rather noisy Cetti's Warbler was calling from my right and then the first of a few Jackdaw before a Jay flew across the path. So on down through the trees and back adding both Wren and Blue Tits. A second Jay was seen and once back at first water I found a lone Egyptian Goose on the far bank.  A pair of Buzzards arrived at the far end and were on the receiving attention of a Carrion Crow before I found a Magpie back in the trees near the car park.

Birds seen:

Egyptian Goose, Mallard, Teal, Little Egret, Heron, Buzzard, Moorhen, Black-tailed Godwit, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Woodpigeon, Barn Swallow, Wren, Robin, Cetti's Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blue Tit, Jay, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, 

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Warsash Shore and Solent

Thursday 28 September

A few minutes after 8.30 this morning when I set off in cloudy and almost still weather to walk along Warsash shore to the Spit and then on down the Solent to both the crape and Meandering Pools before returning.  A couple of hours which finally produced 31 species.  Being  only two hours from high tide the water had pushed the birds up the muddy shore to give excellent, if dull, views of the Oystercatchers, Curlews, Redshanks and Black-tailed Godwits.

Curlew Numenius arquata

Naturally there many Black-headed and the occasional Herring Gull and closer observation also produced a trio of Turnstone turning over the soggy vegetation. passing Strawberry Fields a pair of Carrion Crows and a half-dozen Woodpigeon were noted along with both Robin and Blue Tit. Having already seen my first Little Egret I was to find a further quintet before reaching the Spit and six Mallard took off from the water.  Also present a dozen Rock Doves.

Turnstone Arenaria interpres

More activity on the mud flats just after the School of Navigation including many more Black-tailed Godwits and Redshanks and in the lee of the Spit a small group of Ringed Plover.  On the water itself a small flock of seven recently arrived Wigeon and a dozen resting Black-headed Gull.  More Carrion Crows and Oystercatchers could also be seen on the far side of the Spit.

Wigeon Anas penelope

Making my way to the Scrape I encountered the first of a quartet of Magpies and once arrive with a view over the water counted eight Avocet along with a score or more Teal.  Just the single Moorhen and Little Grebe.  On the far side a Kestrel was resting in a small dead tree. Making my way to the Meandering Pools, where just a further quartet of Teal were noted, A lone Sandwich Tern, was working its way up the Solent very close to the shore.

Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis

The gorse area once again produced a number of Linnets and a lone Greenfinch before finding a single Whitethroat

Linnets Carduelis cannabina

Making my way back to the mouth of the Hamble River a noted a Cormorant making its way down the Solent.  A Wren was seen in the brambles near the drain and then back on the final walk near Strawberry Fields a trio of Collared Doves.  The final bird of the visit, a Pied Wagtail, was found feeding on the floating weeds back in Warsash at the edge of the slipway.

Pied Wagtail Motacilla alba yarellie

Birds seen:

Wigeon, Mallard, Teal, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Kestrel, Moorhen, Oystercatcher, Avocet, Ringed Plover, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Redshank, Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Sandwich Tern, Rock Dove, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Robin, Blue Tit, Magpie, Carrion Crow, House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Linnet.

Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa

Curlew Numenius arquata

Moorhen Gallinula chloropus with Teal Anas crecca

Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus

Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa with Redshank Tringa totanus

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Wednesday 27 September 2023

Cabo de Gata with the Arboleas Birding Group

 Wednesday 27 September

Sounds like a fabulous day's birding by Dave and his Arboleas Birding Group and at one of favourite sites in Spain - with or without birds!  63; now that's sure a high score based on recent visits.  And soon the Trumpeter Finches and Dotterels will be back - lucky you!  Good that you, too, managed to record Bar-tailed Godwits as I did at the week-end, but back in Blighty.

Cabo de Gata & Rambla Morales: Wednesday 27th September

I picked Juda up from Los Gallardos, using the new dual carriageway from Arboleas all the way to the A7/E15 at the Ballabona services, saving me about 15 minutes travelling.  Once we got off the motorway near Retamar we began our list.  By the time we'd got to the first hide we had only seen Collared Doves, a few Barn Swallows and a Thekla Lark.  Kevin had already arrived having spent the night in his campervan.  His list from scanning the salina in front of him included Jackdaw, Avocet, Redshank, Mallard, Spotless Starling, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Greater Flamingo, Black-winged Stilt, Kentish and Ringed Plover.  By this time Barrie, Beryl and Trevor had arrived.  We jokingly told them we had 63 species on the list already!  Barrie was quick to spot some Ruff and 3 Little Stints. Kevin added an Iberian Grey Shrike.  Only two gulls seen, a Yellow-legged and a Black-headed.  Kevin spotted a very distant Grey Heron and then a Grey Plover.  In a pool nearby, where the ruff were, I spotted another smaller wader.  Barrie ID it as a Curlew Sandpiper.  The group were joined by some Dunlin.

We adjourned to Cabo village for coffee, Kevin claiming some House Sparrows.  (Ha,ha)  We then drove towards the second hide. A flock of gulls on the beach looked to contain Yellow-legged and Lesser Black-backed Gulls.  There was nothing out to sea apart from an incoming Oystercatcher which flew over us.  We made our way to the hide.  Trevor and I scanned for Stone Curlews, but there was none to be seen.  Trevor spotted a Kestrel.  I added a Greenfinch.  Another Iberian Grey Shrike was noted.  As I was following Trevor's Kestrel, I noticed some distant soaring raptors.  They were beyond the Michelin test track.  Barrie got his scope on them.  The three of them were probably Honey Buzzards.  A short time later we had a confirmed sighting of a female Marsh Harrier.

We moved on to the public hide.  Loads of Greater Flamingos.  I counted 700+ in the various salinas I could see.  Kevin counted 60 Black-necked Grebes.  Some Sand Martins were flying about in front of us.  Kevin added Shelducks and Slender-billed Gulls.  Barrie found a Sanderling and a Bar-tailed Godwit.

2 of the 700+ Flamingos (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We convoyed along the beach side track to the Rambla Morales.  A flying Cormorant was seen at once. Kevin checked out the estuary end and found some Turnstone.  We heard a Sardinian Warbler.  As we walked towards the hump Barrie spotted three flying waders and identified them as Knot.  He was also first to see the flotilla of 12 White-headed Ducks on the water through the reeds.  A Yellow Wagtail flew over.  Kevin added a Little Grebe and a Moorhen.  Barrie had another Bar-tailed Godwit.  There were 80 Greater Flamingos there.  I spotted a Chiffchaff.  Another Marsh Harrier was seen before Barrie added the last species for the day, a Cattle Egret.

Unbelievably our total was 63 species.  Great day in good company.  Not so good on the photography front though!

Congratulations to Carolyn and Steve on your marriage.

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Monday 25 September 2023

Farlington Marshes

Sunday 23 September

Following some early morning very light drizzle I drove over to Farlington Marsh to join the HOS meeting under the leadership of Kevin Stouse, making a total group of 14 members.  It was with a very strong, cold wind that we set off northwards towards the marsh and, with the tide making its slow way out, very many Oystercatchers and Curlews relatively close to the shore along with scores of Black-headed Gulls and a fair few Carrion Crow foraging on the the wet mud. A female Marsh Harrier was quartering the island in front of us and succeeded in disturbing all the roosting birds below.

Two of the very many Curlew Numenius arquata
Curlew (above) and Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus

Working our way along the shore path we found many more Curlew and Oystercatchers the, at last, a couple of Whimbrel. Redshanks and Black-tailed Godwits were also noted.  With the tide rapidly ebbing more and more Little Egrets were recorded along with the many Black-headed Gulls. A Cormorant flew low across the water and soon we were ready to leave the waterside and enter the marsh proper as we headed inland in the direction of the distant, former observatory.

Loads of Oystercatchers Haematopus ostralegus

No sooner had we entered a field than we had recorded both Cetti's Warbler and Long-tailed Tit and then, as we watched a Heron moving low long the adjacent field, it was jointed by a handsome quartering male Marsh Harrier. Woodpigeons became a regular sighting and then a Great Tit flew across the track into a nearby tree.  Our first Meadow Pipit spent considerable time bathing in a pool to our left and, as we watched, a small skein of Canada Geese flew over.

Male Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus

Many more, hundreds, of Canada Geese were seen as we approached the former centre and lagoon but we did also stop to admire the trio of juvenile Yellow Wagtails and yet another Heron.  Not a lot of birdlife at the lagoon but we did find a few teal and Lapwing plus a Coot and pair of Shoveler. Just two Wigeon but ore were to be found further along the water.

Wigeon Anas penelope

As we walked along the path adjacent to the river we recorded many more Lapwing, Teal and Mallard plus scores of Black-tailed GodwitsCanada Geese appeared to be everywhere but amongst the small group of the water was a singe Greylag Goose.

Greylag Goose Anser anser (centre) with Canada Geese Branta canadensis and Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa

Another check a little further along the path produced a pair of Avocet and using bins and scopes to check the Canada Geese beyond the water we found the local "white goose" which led us to quickly and easily find the resident lone Barnacle Goose. A closer check on this stretch of water also found a quartet of Shoveler and a pair of Pintail before the juvenile Shelduck put in an appearance.

Avocets Recurvirostra avosetta with Wigeon Anas penelope

Then it was on up to the embankment overlooking the now almost empty Langstone Harbour and onto the mirador for our picnic lunch.  Below us on the lagoon side we found a quartet of Gadwall resting near a small flock of Mallard.  On the harbour side of the wall a couple of Herring Gulls and a single Grey Plover.

Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola

Pushing on ahead I then completed the last couple of miles but only added a single Magpie before reaching the car, completing my check list and heading for home having recorded a total 41 species.

Birds seen:

Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Barnacle Goose, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Gadwall, Wigeon, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Pintail, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Avocet, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Curlew, Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Rock Dove, Woodpigeon, Barn Swallow, Meadow Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Stonechat, Cetti's Warbler, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Starling.

Canada Geese Branta canadensis and Wigeon Anas penelope

Departing Curlew Numenius arquata 

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RSPB Pagham Harbour

Saturday 23 September

A beautiful warm and sunny start to the day for my first visit to RSPB Pagham Harbour, accompanied by Richard Osman, to meet up with the programmed walk around the reserve in a party of a dozen led by our leader for the day, local birder Julian Moseley.  The local feeders produced Blue and Great Tit plus many House Sparrows before we set off to the first hide, whilst above we had both a pair of Buzzards and a male Kestrel.

RSPB Pagham seen from the Ferry Hide

Arriving at the Ferry Hide we  were presented with a glorious range of birds both on the water in front and the feeders behind. Whilst the feeders in the trees behind us produced Blue and Great Tit, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, many House sparrows, female Blackcap and Chiffchaff there was no shortage of variety on the pool in front of us. Scores of resting Lapwing plus Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Teal and Mallard before we started a closer check with scope.  A Spotted Redshank was found a the rear along with a couple of Bar-tailed Godwit.  

Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus

A single, juvenile, Shelduck proceeded to wander across the water and then the first of three Little Egrets.

Record shot of female Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla

On the fields at the back of the water we first found a Woodpigeon followed by a resting Buzzard on a distant fence post.  To their right a number of Carrion Crows and Rooks were feeding and then the Heron crossed the field so putting up the hidden Cattle Egret.  Above there a large flock of moving Starlings and a couple of feeding Barn Swallows.  Lovely to see the hunting Sparrowhawk and then another look at the far end of the water produced a female Pintail in eclipse plumage and to its far right a handful of recently-arrived Wigeon.

Very distant Buzzard Buteo buteo

Having taken a long look at the very close Dunnock near the feeders we moved on to the nearby, now almost empty of water, creek.  A single Great Crested Grebe was accompanied by a few Black-headed Gulls and both Moorhen and Common Sandpiper were seen on the adjacent, muddy banks. A Great Black-backed Gull flew downstream and over our heads.  Both Robin and Rock Doves were close by as we made our way up to the bank to take the walk towards the shore where we quickly found the occasional Mallard and more Black-headed Gulls and Little Egrets. And whilst the rest of the group far ahead of me recorded a departing female Reed Bunting, I had the pleasure of finding a female Yellowhammer.  Meanwhile, a couple of Cetti's Warblers were heard calling.

Dunnock Prunella modularis

Stopping at a viewing point to check out the distant mud flats we seen found many more Little Egrets along with Mallard, Redshank and Curlew. Our final stop, before Richard and I bade farewell to the group to return to the car in order that Richard could attend his Covid appointment at 2.30, gave a distant sighting of Oystercatcher and more Curlews.  The return walk too the Ferry Hide was not without incident as we found a quintet of Stonechat and two more Yellowhammers including a most handsome male.  A Whitethroat was a bonus and then, at the back of a filed to our left, what looked like a game pen for raising partridges, also produced a foraging male Pheasant to its right and on the opposite a couple of Red-legged Partridges.

Juvenile Stonechat Saxicola torquatus

Once back at the hide a closer look at the Spotted Redshanks and Little Egrets plus a resting Herring Gull. As we started back to the car park a Jay flew across the path and once in the car park a Blackbird put in a brief appearance.  Finally, a single Collared Dove as we drove out of the reserve.

Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus with Black-headed Gulls

Birds seen:

Shelduck, Wigeon, Mallard, Teal, Pintail, Great Crested Grebe, Red-legged Partridge, Pheasant, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Heron, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Moorhen, Oystercatcher, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Common Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank, Redshank, Black-headed Gull, herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Rock Dove, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Dunnock, Robin, Stonechat, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Whitethroat, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Jay, Magpie, Rook, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Yellowhammer.

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Friday 22 September 2023

New Forest Birding

Friday 22 September

At last, a still start to the day with bright sunshine and only a little cloud. Perfect for a drive into the New Forest to visit Blashford Lakes with a slight deviation on the way to take a look at Eyeworth Pond near Fritham.  And that was about as good as it got as there was virtually nothing to be seen at my brief stop at Eyeworth and Blashford itself was disappointedly quiet.

Approaching Eyeworth both Starlings and Woodpigeons and then eight Mallard on the water.  Just a couple of Blue Tits seen along with a handful of Chaffinches and the same number of House Sparrows.  Therefore, a bare ten minutes at the site before carrying on, via Fordingbridge, to Blashford Lakes but not before also recording a trio of Pied Wagtails on the exit lane from the water.

Just for a change, I started at the main centre at Blashford Lakes so that I could visit the various hides before heading back to Ibsley Water. Blackbird and Robin recorded as I made my way towards Ivy North Hide with a Blue Tit and a trio of Magpies as I approached my destination.  The water from the hide had a strong sun in my eye but I could make out a single Cormorant and a handful of Coot on the water itself.  A well-grown juvenile Moorhen was foraging in the reeds below the hide.

Robin Erithacus rubecula

Moving through the trees to wards the Woodland Hide I recorded a couple of Chiffchaff and a quartet of Wrens before another Blackbird and Robin. But, save for a single Robin, nothing to be seen from the hide itself.  All the feeders had been temporarily removed due to a local infection so nothing to attract the small birds.  The distant Ivy South Hide was equally quiet with just a couple of Great Crested Grebes and a single Little Grebe.  But then a Kingfisher flashed past below the hide to add a little colour.

Great Crested Grebes Podiceps cristatus

Back to the car and across the road to the Tern Hide overlooking Ibsley Water.  On this occasion at least five relatively nearby Great Crested Grebes in addition to the larger number at the back of the water.  Save for a few Coots off to my right all the bird life was on or near the gravel islands at the far end.  Checking the open water first I found at lest a hundred Coots plus a two Little Grebes, a pair of Gadwall and a half-dozen Tufted Duck.

Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca and Gulls

The islands themselves contained a mixture of Canada, Greylag and Egyptian Geese plus at least 120 Lapwing.  Also present were a mixture of Black-headed, Lesser Black-backed and Herring Gulls with a dozen resting Cormorants and a couple of scavenging Carrion Crows. Just the one resting Grey Heron at the very back whist over the water a good number of feeding House Martins and at least a half-dozen Barn Swallows.

Cormorants Phalacrocorax carbo with a mix of gulls

Birds seen:

Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Egyptian Goose, Gadwall, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Heron, Moorhen, Coot, Lapwing, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Woodpigeon, Kingfisher, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Robin, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Blue Tit, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch.

Mainly Canada Geese Branta canadensis

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