A few feathery notes, whilst I have a few minutes spare...
A) I found a dead greenfinch on the roof of our chicken coop, in our chicken run, yesterday.
Now, I should perhaps point out that we've not kept hens for a couple of years now, so the covered run (in which the coop sits) is empty - but wee birds can get in and out (as the walls of the run are covered in chicken wire).
The finch was an adult female greenfinch and looked in pretty good nick other than she was lying on her back with her eyes closed.
As I said to my wife and eldest boy - it's not often you happen across dead passerines just lying around - as they tend to be snaffled up by passing foxes, badgers, cats, rats, squirrels, crows, kites, buzzards, dogs, what have you. Of course in the case of this greenfinch, nothing could get into the run to carry off this free meal. I think it had been lying on the roof of the coop (UNDER the roof of the run) for a day - perhaps two. That's all.
B) Me and my eldest boy went for a dusk walk last night - and as well as seeing our favourite local barn owl (how lucky are we to have these birds so close to us), we also saw SIXTY-SEVEN grey partridge in two "super coveys" of 22 and 45. What an incredible find that was.
Again, as I explained to my boy on hearing these (quite noisy) partridges about half a mile away from the field they were squabbling in, in order to see birds you very often need to rely on your EARS first, rather than just your eyes. We followed the sound and eventually got to see these birds flying low into a very dark field.
These partridge flew into this particular field at dusk and even through my super-duper (at light gathering) binoculars, no details on the birds could be made out OTHER than the dark horseshoes on the males' chests.
I've probably only seen a couple of handfuls of grey partridge in my life until last night, in two small coveys - one of which in a neighbouring field as it happens. Coveys of grey partridge usually consist of around 6-8 birds, so to see two SUPER COVEYS of 22 and 45 is almost unheard of. It's like seeing a dozen or fifteen or so jays in an oak tree. Just doesn't happen.
C) Finally - I'm testing a new Defender CCTV system in several bird boxes around the house at present. My old pals at Handykam sold it to me a week or so ago - and at present I think it's just what the doctor ordered.
I bought it mainly to perhaps record swifts in our attic space after this year's partial success and thought I'd test it on a few boxes over the winter. So far it's passing the test with flying colours.
I've set it to start recording (on its hard drive) any motion in the swift attic space, the blue tit box, the cedar swift box and the hedgehog tunnel.
And over the weekend its picked up a wren visiting the cedar swift box (bet that doesn't happen again in a while) and a blue tit exploring the very cobwebby blue tit / sparrow box. (The hedgehogs were around up until about ten nights ago so I assume they've moved on or hibernated).
Yup. At present I'm very happy with my motion-activated cameras and hard drive and even though I've probably got the compression all-messed-up in the brief YouTube test video below (technical details for nerds like me are in the video description on YouTube), I think this system may become very useful in the Spring.
More soon perhaps.