Female blackbird lays first egg, video


This video from Britain says about itself:

Female [Blackbird] Laying First Egg (Edited Footage) in #CDWG [Camo Dave’s Wildlife Garden] 1/4/2016

Meanwhile, the male blackbird sings in the background.

British, Florida bird migration update


This video from the USA says about itself:

Painted Buntings‘ Spring Migration North From Florida

23 March 2015

Painted Buntings – the most colorful songbirds in North America are passing through the Backyard on their way north to breeding grounds around the Sea Islands of coastal Georgia and South Carolina. We had four that were permanent winter visitors but this time of year travelling migrant buntings continue to pass through on their way northward. Usually by early to mid April they are all gone. Continuing a trend of recent years there have been fewer of the spectacular mature males as in this video.

From the BTO Bird Migration Blog in Britain:

Friday, 1 April 2016

Migration getting started at last

Migration has been slow going until last weekend, but things have noticeably picked up since then with a change in wind direction. Chiffchaff, Wheatear, Sand Martin and Swallow were much more in evidence around the country and the first Reed, Sedge and Willow Warblers arrived.

Pipits were on the move as well. Spurn, Yorkshire recorded 357 Meadow Pipits on 30 March and 300+ moved through Portland, Dorset on the same day. On the west coast, 100+ were counted daily on Bardsey, Gwynedd the past week.

The highlight of the week was a big arrival of Firecrests along the south coast, with 101 counted at Dungeness, Kent on the 26 March. This local record tally was beaten just four days later with an amazing 120 Firecrests on site. A handful of other sites reached double-figures and the species was noted at many coastal watchpoints.

The south-westerly winds during the week also gave returning winter visitors a helping hand. Brent Geese were noted moving east off Portland, while Redwing and Fieldfare have also been on the move. Surprisingly few Ring Ouzels have been reported so far, but counts should pick up later this month.

There has been a distinct dearth of rarer spring migrants with only a few unconfirmed reports of Alpine Swift. Likely candidates to look for this week include Hoopoe, Woodchat Shrike and potentially a rarer warbler such as Sardinian.

The forecast for the next few days shows more southerly winds which would help migrants cross the Channel and the North Sea. However, from the middle of next the week there is a potential return to cool north-westerly winds which could migration on hold again.

Paul Stancliffe and Stephen McAvoy

Black-tailed godwits and avocets


This video is about avocets.

Today again to the Baillon’s crake nature reserve.

A great cormorant resting on the windmill.

Near the entrance, northern shovelers and tufted ducks. Many grey lag and Canada geese. A moorhen. Coots.

In the shallow part of the northern lake, about fifty black-tailed godwits standing. Along ten avocets.

Also northern lapwings. Oystercatchers. And teal swimming.

Siskin is back at the feeder


This video says about itself:

Siskins eating sunflower seeds with female blackbird.

23.1.2013.

This morning, there was again a male siskin, eating peanuts at the feeder.

Probably, the same siskin as yesterday.

Yesterday, there also was a robin at the other feeder. And, of course, great tits and blue tits keep coming.

Many godwits, ten Egyptian goslings


This Dutch 15 March 2016 video shows meadow birds: young northern lapwings, a redshank nest and black-tailed godwits with youngsters.

Today, again to the place where I once saw Baillon’s crakes.

Near the entrance Canada geese, grey lag geese and coots. A bit further, jackdaws.

Standing in shallow water in the northern lake, sometimes flying, often calling: about 150 black-tailed godwits, probably just back from Africa.

Near them are northern lapwings, oystercatchers, black-headed and herring gulls. Two great cormorants.

Ten tufted ducks swimming. Also northern shovelers. Teal. Mute swans.

Near the railway a male blackbird and magpies. A moorhen swims.

In the lake, a male and a female common pochard. And a great crested grebe.

Finally, in the northern canal an Egyptian goose couple swims with their ten goslings.

Greenfinch, dunnock sing


This is a greenfinch video.

This morning, a greenfinch singing in a tree.

Earlier, I heard a dunnock singing.

Many daffodils flowering.

Barn swallows will return to their nests


The life cycle of the Barn Swallow © Wild Bird Society of Japan (BirdLife Partner)

From BirdLife:

Spring Alive for Swallows this spring!

By Shaun Hurrell, Wed, 24/02/2016 – 15:39

One of the most familiar and popular birds in the world is declining. Rather than being sad, let’s celebrate the swallows of our neighbourhood because they give a great start for young people to care about conservation.

Barn Swallows are small, pretty birds with dark, glossy-blue backs, red throats, pale underparts and long tail streamers – so-called ‘swallow tail’. They are extremely agile in flight and spend most of their time flittering around us catching insects.

Swallows used to breed in caves, but now almost always nest in the eaves of buildings – such as farm barns (hence the name) and even in busy restaurants – meaning that the bird is one of the most familiar bird species in the world!

The BirdLife Partnership is not just about saving endangered species. BirdLife (as the authority for birds on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species) lists Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica as ‘Least Concern’ and their population size and range is huge. Nevertheless, they have marked population declines in some areas which means their global population trend is listed as ‘decreasing’ – so in the future this common species might not be so common. Unless people care for their future.

This is where YOU come in!

All along their migratory routes, children and adults will be excitedly preparing for the arrival of swallows and other birds with Spring Alive, an international project that launches its 2016 season in February. Spring Alive is a BirdLife International educational conservation initiative organised by OTOP (BirdLife in Poland) that encourages children to take action for the conservation of the migratory birds they learn about.

Intimately associated with humans, swallows are a species that anyone, almost anywhere can help with, through the Spring Alive 2016 season theme:

Swallows of my Neighbourhood

We will soon be sharing tips and advice on how you can look after swallows in your neighbourhood, but for now we want you to be a Swallow Scientist!

Listen out for their arrival! You can learn to hear their calls here.

Monitor your neighbourhood and note how many swallows and nests you see

Adopt a nest, without disturbing them, and note the key dates of arrival, egg-laying, hatching and fledging so we can compare them to next year
Stop people from destroying swallow nests, even if their droppings make a mess – help put up a board to catch the droppings instead

Learn the difference between Barn Swallows and House Martins and the best ways to look after each species

Plant lots of flowers to make your garden insect-friendly – so the birds have lots to eat when they arrive

Follow www.facebook.com/SpringAliveForBirds to learn more about Swallows and get updates on their migrations!

Barn Swallows from Europe spend the winter in Africa south of the Sahara, in Arabia and in the Indian sub-continent. Their wide range also makes them great ambassadors that link many countries in their migrations, with initiatives such as Spring Twins which pairs schools in Africa and Eurasia.

As well as the Swallow theme this year, every season by posting their first sightings of Barn Swallow, White Stork, Common Cuckoo, Common Swift, and European Bee-eater on the www.springalive.net  website, children from Europe, Central Asia and Africa create a real-time map of the incredible journeys these birds take every year.

Not convinced? Here are 10 reasons for your child/student to celebrate spring with Spring Alive.

Swallows are beginning to start their spring migration, where they travel hundreds of kilometres a day at a speed of over 30km/h – pretty tiring! These small birds are vulnerable to starvation, exhaustion and storms – so when they arrive in your country they will need all the help they can get to recover!

Spring alive for birds! How you can get involved with Spring Alive this year:

1. Check the Spring Alive events calendar and birds events map on the Spring Alive website to go to an event near you.

2. Share in the wonder of birds with others from Europe to Asia to Africa. Share your photos of swallows, Spring Alive events, make videos of swallows nesting and actions to make your gardens/balconies bird-friendly on the Spring Alive facebook page. Keep checking it for exciting photos and facts about the migratory species you can see, and tips on how to help them.

3. Get outside and take photos of swallows and birds in your garden as later this year we will be holding a photo competition on our Flickr page.

4. Swallows of my Neighbourhood: be a Swallow Scientist (see instructions above)

5. Record your observations of Barn Swallow, White Stork, Common Cuckoo, Common Swift, and European Bee-eater on the website.

Spring Alive is an international campaign to encourage children’s interest in nature and the conservation of migratory birds. Spring Alive is organised by OTOP, the BirdLife Partner in Poland, on behalf of the BirdLife Partnership. Wildlife groups, teachers and others who would like to become more involved in Spring Alive should contact the International Manager, Karolina Kalinowska, at karolina.kalinowska@otop.org.pl

Follow Spring Alive on YouTube.

Some meadow birds back from spring migration


In this 23 February 2016 Dutch video, warden Hanne talks about northern lapwings and other meadow birds. Some of them are already back in the Netherlands from spring migration.

Teal mating season and spoonbills


This is a spoonbill video, from the Basque country in Spain.

12 April 2015. Again, to where I once saw Baillon’s crakes. Today, not far from the entrance, I see two spoonbills. They are searching for food in the shallow water.

Canada geese. Grey lag geese, many already with goslings.

Two great cormorants sit on the windmill’s sails.

About eighty black-tailed godwits fly around, calling. Then, they land. Their numbers here are lower than earlier in spring. Quite some have already migrated on to their nesting sites.

On the northern lake, shoveler duck groups swimming.

In the eastern part of the northern lake, scores of teal. You can see it is mating season for them. You can hear their whistling calls; softer than wigeons‘ calls.

A hare runs across the northern meadow.

White wagtails and northern lapwings there as well.

On the north side of the canal, two oystercatchers on a lawn.

A greenfinch sings.

On an islet in the northern lake: a little ringed plover.

As we leave, a redshank calls.

Field horsetails are back


This video is called Field horsetail (Equisetum arvense).

Today, over a dozen fertile stems of field horsetails growing on the bridge near where I live.

A sign of spring.