Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Banbury :: 29 April 2020

As the national lockdown drags on, I continue to work from home but now am intermittently asked to take some of my remaining holiday. GreenfinchThis has allowed me to spend a bit more time looking out of the window but at the time when the weather has turned a bit more like April is supposed to be - the summer weather has retreated at present.

Mostly I have seen all my usual birds with little new of note - I do seem to have more greenfinches than in previous years.

My attention was drawn to a light coloured bird initially on the ground, and since then also on the feeders. Goldfinch x canary muleA strange coloured goldfinch is what I photographed and shared on Twitter. A really useful comment from @old_caley pointed to the fact that it was a goldfinch x canary mule.

It appears that most canary types are used in the production of Mules for various reasons exhibition, song, colour etc. In fact, new species can be produced from mules and hybrids - occasionally a mule or hybrid is found to be fertile and if bred it creates a new species. Mostly they are sterile.

The bird has now been in the garden for three consecutive days and I've enjoyed watching out for it.

Hopefully something unexpected will pass in the coming days / weeks.Goldfinch x canary mule Goldfinch x canary mule

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Banbury :: 14 April 2020

Halfway through April and we are in the 'middle' of a lockdown Dark-edged bee-flyfor the Covid-19 global pandemic. The official advice is to "stay at home", and so I am - that and my office is closed in any case. Work continues as usual, without the overseas travel and perhaps with longer hours, but from the comfort of my home office space. Birding has taken a major hit.

I am in the process of removing what remains of the back garden, having built on much of it last year; not much to entice insects and birds other than the feeders, although the wild area - previously the vegetable plot - has a nice array of dandelions which is proving popular with dark-edged bee-flies. WoodpigeonOnce we are able to get out again I will start filling with plants again.

A few butterflies through as well including: peacock, small tortoiseshell, green-veined white, orange tip and holly blue.

Mostly my time outside is during a 30-45mins lunch break but the Easter weekend just passed allowed for time out in the great weather we've been having.

I have struggled with any migration sightings but was astonished to see a female marsh harrier while looking up from the screen and out the window. Other than that for the most part the garden birds have entertained, Common Buzzardespecially with their song while I am on conference calls - it has been a topic of conversation as it is apparently really obvious in the background.

The thermals have given the red-kite and buzzards the opportunity to circle and rise high with a best count of two kites and four buzzards at once. I haven't even seen an osprey, although @grimsbury_birds and @Vanellus26 had the same bird over their houses in Parklands and Hanwell Field. Another was seen in a dead tree near the Borrow Pit. Still time!

The #lockdownlist has been depressingly small, much as when I do the 'Big Garden Birdwatch'. What they lack in numbers though, they make up for in song. HedgehogLast night we were also graced by not one, but two hedgehogs in the back garden - a first that we know about.

It is likely that this lockdown will continue for the next three weeks (at least) and so there is still time for something of note to pass by.