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AJB Temple

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After much excitement seeing my first Swallow again earlier this year, I sit out in the garden even day and wonder where on earth they are. As I write it's a warm evening with clear skies and it must be three weeks since I have seen a swallow.

Also - despite having a very nature friendly large garden with lots of trees, several ponds etc, I am not seeing bats out and about either in the evening.

I wonder what is going on. I was expecting a bumper year for nature.
 

Blackswanwood

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We’re definitely not short of bats. I put boxes up last year not really knowing if they would be used but they all seem to be. We’re also blessed with several owls which I have been surprised to see during the day. I am guessing that they have young to feed so are hunting around the clock.
 

AJB Temple

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Yes, to my surprise we have a Tawny owl pair who are pretty lively. Normally we have lots of bats but this year is odd. If anything the habitat has improved.
 

MikeG.

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Loads of bats here Adrian. It's the lack of cuckoos which is bothering me. Other than that I don't think I've ever seen so many birds.
 

Fitzroy

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Cuckoos are Covid susceptible so the cuckoo council has them on lock down.

Sparrow and starling crazy in Aberdeen but not a goldfinch in sight this year and they are normally plentiful. I wonder if nothing is actually different except we have more time to watch and think we are seeing differences!

F.
 

Richard_C

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Here just outside Cambridge we still get our late evening bat's. Other birds in abundance, sparrows seem noticeably up on past years.

I wonder if less traffic = less roadkill in breeding season, traffic picking up again now though.

Slugs way down, ground hard and dry and more blackbirds perhaps. Maybe slug pellet ban actually helped birdlife.

Swifts abound, high in morning lower in evening, but if I had to stake money on it I really couldn't be sure if they are swifts, swallow or house martins - height and speed make detailed spotting difficult.
 

AJB Temple

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Hmm, very little evidence of Swifts, Swallows or House Martins here. We heard cuckoos for about a week at the start of their breeding season, but nothing since. Only saw one. Had lots of starlings this year (not happened before), several blackbird families, song thrushes too, lots of finches of various sorts and both greater spotted and green woodpeckers in abundance. Sparrow population is definitely up. Small birds like wrens about the same I would say.

Secretive Moorhens are in action as usual, and one pair of Mallard. Too many pigeons. A few collared doves. I don't recognise all bird species.
 

Just4Fun

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Blackswanwood":37qtg0z5 said:
We’re also blessed with several owls which I have been surprised to see during the day.
Last week I saw an owl during the day for the first time ever. I don't know enough about owls to identify it more exactly but it was huge, gliding past me about 15 feet away with wings fully outstretched. Impressive to see.

Cranes are unusual this year. We normally see them in the spring as they migrate past us on their way somewhere more interesting to them, but we never see them later in the year so they must take another route back. This year we have 2 pairs who have taken up residence nearby. Also we only normally see 2 or 3 pairs at a time but this year I have seen groups of 20 or so and my wife saw a group of about 80.
 

Shaggy

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Just4Fun":9rqzvkdu said:
Blackswanwood":9rqzvkdu said:
We’re also blessed with several owls which I have been surprised to see during the day.
Last week I saw an owl during the day for the first time ever. I don't know enough about owls to identify it more exactly but it was huge, gliding past me about 15 feet away with wings fully outstretched. Impressive to see.
May have been a Short Eared Owl, they often hunt during the day and are quite large.
 

Trevanion

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The swallows live on the light above my surface planer and they like to perch on a tent pole above the mitre saw, subsequently both have to be covered with dust sheets when not in use! :lol:

Also had a new pair move in on the external socket box outside the back door this year.
 

lurker

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Can I do a slight hi jack.
My new place has some mature trees next door (Victorian cemetery) and I would like to put up a bat box or two.
Can anyone suggest a good design?
Also, are grey squirrels a problem to bats?
 

Blackswanwood

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lurker":l0kpd3ae said:
Can I do a slight hi jack.
My new place has some mature trees next door (Victorian cemetery) and I would like to put up a bat box or two.
Can anyone suggest a good design?
Also, are grey squirrels a problem to bats?
We have squirrels (aka rats with PR!) and they don't seem to bother each other.
 

AJB Temple

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Squirrels will kill anything small that they can reach.  They raid birds nests for eggs and chicks and they will take bats if you leave the box slits in the bottom too wide. For anyone trying to encourage nesting birds, regrettably control of the grey squirrel pest is essential.
 
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