Local sightings

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February 2014

Long-eared owl a / the Long-eared Owl was again seen early morning along the road between David's Wood and Nutley Bottom Lane. Towards dusk a Red Kite was in the same area, a Buzzard being seen between Nutley Bottom Lane and Ashe.
Right: Long-eared Owl, Asio otus. A rare resident locally with the call of the young, likened to a creaking gate, often being the first sign that they're again present.
House Sparrow remained vocal at their roost in Woodlands.
a Mute Swan was walking one of the Station Road footpaths late afternoon!
the warmest day of the month, the average being recorded at 10.4°C.
the rain and flooding continued, and increased. The increased water levels had few benefits, though a Red Kite was seen bathing in the excess waters off the Burley Lane crossroads. A small skein of Canada Geese headed north / north-west over Berrydown late afternoon. A Grey Heron was standing in the river Test by the bridge on Kingsclere Road in the morning.
early evening saw a Kestrel on a roadside lamp on Overton Hill.
a Sparrowhawk, probably a female, moved low west across Town Meadow mid-afternoon. The coldest day of the month, an average of just 5.5°C being recorded.
16mm of rain fell during the day, the wettest one this month. The night was drier, but was the coldest during February with an average of just 2.7°C noted.
Kestrel large amounts of wind-blown vegetation were on Parish roads during, at least, the morning. A Red Kite was over Kingsdown Wood mid-afternoon.
Right: Kestrel, Falco tinnunculus. Another 'common' bird that's suffered large declines locally — once the most expected raptor to be seen they now are perhaps the fourth most likely to be encountered, after Red Kite, Buzzard and Sparrowhawk.
-1.4°C about dawn was the lowest temperature recorded this month. A male Blackbird enjoyed an easy harvest of earthworms from a pile of horse manure in a Greyhound Lane garden.
A Blackbird was seen in a garden on Greyhound Lane.
14.7°C mid-afternoon was the highest recorded during the month, and so far this year. This was followed up by the warmest night, an average of 9.5°C recorded.
two Long-tailed Tit, a Great Tit and a Robin were at the Kingsclere Road allotments in the morning as well as 3 Blackbird further up the road at Foxdown.
the warmest day of the month and year to date, an average of 10.7°C being recorded. A Kestrel was flying above the station in the afternoon.
A female Sparrow was seen in a garden on Greyhound Lane.
Starlings in the sky a stunning crescent moon and accompanying star were available to those rising before dawn. At the other end of the day one of the Blue Peafowl was again noted vocalising, for the one hearing this the first time they heard any this year.
a Red Kite lingered over London Street late afternoon. The continuing need to detour because of the railway bridge works added a Buzzard in a tree off Nutley Bottom Lane..
both Starling and House Sparrow were active in their pre-roost gatherings about Woodlands and nearby.
Right: Starling, Sturnus vulgaris. Not quite what we see over Overton!
A bird very much taken for granted, their numbers however having dramatically reduced in recent years and many of those that we see locally only visiting for the winter.

Contributors: Peter E. Hutchins, Veronique Kerguelen & Adam Trickett.

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