On Wednesday 10 February 2016, a rare bird was seen in Penkridge. A Black Redstart was seen on a housing estate in the village, both on the ground in a front garden and on the roof of the house. I understand a bird has since been trapped and ringed elsewhere in the parish since this siting.
With the recent cold weather and frosts, lots of birds have been attracted to our bird feeders in our gardens. Birds recorded include Blue, Great, Coal and Long-tailed Tits, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch and the odd Brambling, Linnet, Redpoll, Siskin, Song Thrush, Robin, Dunnock, and Blackbird (I had 8 at once in my garden feeding on apples). Starlings, House Sparrow, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, and Black-headed Gulls are common, with the occasional Lesser Black-backed Gull and Herring Gull.
I have had Sparrowhawk and Buzzard regularly, the sparrowhawk taking one of the blackbirds. Birds flying overhead have included Heron, Canada Goose, Mallard, Mute Swan, and late this afternoon, over 500 mixed gulls were heading SE towards their roost at Belvide Reservoir, a local nature reserve. A Great Spotted Woodpecker made a brief visit recently, as did Jay, looking for acorns. If you live near woodland, as well as Woodpecker, you will probably have visits from Nuthatch too. Friends of mine get Bullfinch, Woodpecker and Nuthatch and all the Tits regularly - but they do have fields all around them and plenty of trees close by.
The winter is not over yet, even though the crocus, snowdrop and daffodil are out. Hazel catkins are opening, and several garden plants are in flower. On a sunny day, my bees are very active and bringing lots of pollen of many colours back to the hive. Spring is not far away but I fear we have not yet seen the last of the rains, frost and maybe snow.
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