24 November, 2011

Urban Birding

Having to get up a little early to get Something Done, I found myself walking the streets in daylight on a work day, for the first time in a fair while. Naturally I had my eyes and ears open - though not just for birds as I had to walk through one of the more, er, interesting neighbourhoods in my Patch. Birding-wise, there's not a huge amount of prospect to it, a [sub]urban area with a few trees and bushes, a bit of rather muddy and over-dogged grass, plenty of tarmac [tatty] and concrete [stained]. Lots of rooftops, though.

The housing in my Patch is very much divided into haves and have-nots. The haves have nice big gardens with trees and bushes full of promise, the have-nots have rooftops and maybe a little bushy garden in place of the far-too-frequent decking. You might get a Blackstart on a roof. Not to say Blackstarts aren't interesting, they're wonderful, but you get the comparison.

What did I see today? Well, there are the ubiquitous Herring Gulls - a nice 1w with a very Iceland-y shape and colour to it [spoiled by the head and bill, it was just a Herring] - plus a few others, mostly messing about in the wind. Magpies, too. Lots of them about, they're doing very well here, have been for a couple of years now. Crows, too, though fewer than Magpies where I was. A Grey Wagtail was a little unexpected [though shouldn't really be any more] and very welcome, Pied Wagtails more expected. This urban Grey Wagtail thing - is it just here or are they in towns a lot? Its a year-round thing; they breed in central Torquay, for goodness' sake... Could it be that as they're 'supposed' to like the rocky sides of rivers and streams, houses with gutters are good enough? Is it a case of ongoing adaptation? Have you seen Grey Wagtails in built-up areas? Answers on a postcard, please.

Anyway.. Feral Pigeons lurking on roof corners and that was it. No other small passerines, not even a Sparrow. Too windy, really. It was just a quick trip out, though, so not too surprising. On a longer trip.. well, if I get over 15 species I'm usually doing well [or getting into the areas the last government seemed to think everyone lives in down here...].

Of course, because nothing in birding is black and white [well, Black and White Warblers aside]; last winter.. this was where the Waxwings were. :D

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