Saturday, 19 May 2012


I went to check on a male Firecrest in a local wood this morning.  I hadn't been to look at it for a few weeks but last time I did it had paired with a female Goldcrest and she was making a nest.  I'd never heard it sing, despite others telling me it did so regularly.  However, after re-finding the right spot in the wood and hearing what I thought was a Goldcrest sing close-by I locked my bins on the male Firecrest moving around the folliage.  It was good to know he was still in residence.  After a couple of minutes I heard the Goldcrest sing in the same tree - a bit close for comfort I thought, especially as I know Firecrests and Goldcrests don't really get on.  I then realised the 'Goldcrest' song was actually coming from the Firecrest!

My ears are definitely getting slowly worse with age, but I have never heard a Firecrest give a song so close to a Goldcrests before.  I recorded it on my Remembird and have created a sonogram in Ravenlite, as well as recording a Goldcrest in the same area, and I have also created a sonogram of a 'normal' Firecrests song I recorded a couple of years ago.  Take a look and listen and please drop me a comment if anyone's come across this before - it had me a bit foxed!

I do wonder if because it's paired with a female Goldcrest it has adapted its song to be more attractive?  It is certainly something I've never come across before, however I have now seen at least four mixed pairings of Firecrest and Goldcrest, several of which have made nests and at least one of them feeding young, although I never saw the outcome of that nest.  Are there any definite hybrids know about?  I may have to do some Googling to find out...

Edit - found out somre more.  See here.

Firecrest singing like Goldcrest

Firecrest normal song

Saturday, 12 May 2012


Red-rumped Swallow at Grafham Water
I had a quick trip up to Grafham Water this morning to see this lovely Red-rumped Swallow.  When I first arrived I couldn't see any birders or the bird.  A quick walk on to the dam and something flicked up from my feet - the swallow!  It flew around for a while and landed no more than around 8 feet from me.  It gave stunning views for around four minutes until a blundering cyclist came along to within a few inches of it and it flew off towards Plummer car park.  Luckily we relocated it flying over the road between the dam and the car park a while later, and still giving fantastic views.

Sunday, 6 May 2012


Prairie Dogs at Broom

Prairie Dogs at Broom
Prairie Dogs running wild at Broom
This wasn't a species I ever thought I'd see around Broom - Prairie Dogs!  After a tip-off the other day about these I was a little sceptical of their existence - I thought it was so unlikely, especially as I'd been down to try and see them a few times and only seen Rabbits.  This morning I ambled down and saw what I thought was a huge ginger rat zoom over the grass.  After a minute or so I spied two little heads peeping out of a burrow - blimey!

So, where are they from, how long are they going to last in the wild, and are they bad for the local environment?  I guess time will tell, but for the moment they're an interesting addition to the local fauna.

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