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User / Jeff Lack Wildlife&Nature
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N 145 B 975 C 72 E Feb 21, 2020 F Apr 8, 2020
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Siskin - Carduelis Spinus


The Eurasian siskin (Spinus spinus) is a small passerine bird in the finch family Fringillidae. It is also called the European siskin, common siskin or just siskin. Other (archaic) names include black-headed goldfinch, barley bird and aberdevine. It is very common throughout Europe and Asia. It is found in forested areas, both coniferous and mixed woodland where it feeds on seeds of all kinds, especially of alder and conifers.

These birds have an unusual migration pattern as every few years in winter they migrate southwards in large numbers. The reasons for this behaviour are not known but may be related to climatic factors and above all the availability of food. In this way overwintering populations can thrive where food is abundant. This small finch is an acrobatic feeder, often hanging upside-down like a tit. It will visit garden bird feeding stations.

These birds can be found throughout the year in Central Europe and some mountain ranges in the south of the continent. They are present in the north of Scandinavia and in Russia and they over-winter in the Mediterranean basin and the area around the Black Sea. In China they breed in the Khingan Mountains of Inner Mongolia and in Jiangsu province; they spend summer in Tibet, Taiwan, the valleys of the lower Yangtse River and the south east coast.


The Eurasian siskin is occasionally seen in North America. There is also a similar and closely related North America counterpart, the pine siskin, Spinus pinus.

Their seasonal distribution is also marked by the fact that they follow an anomalous migration pattern. Every few years they migrate southwards in larger numbers and the overwintering populations in the Iberian Peninsula are greatly augmented. This event has been the object of diverse theories, one theory suggests that it occurs in the years when Norway Spruce produces abundant fruit in the centre and north of Europe, causing populations to increase. An alternative theory is that greater migration occurs when the preferred food of alder or birch seed fails. This species will form large flocks outside the breeding season, often mixed with redpolls.

It is a bird that does not remain for long in one area but which varies the areas it used for breeding, feeding, over-wintering from one year to the next.

They are very active and restless birds. They are also very social, forming small cohesive flocks especially in autumn and winter. They are fairly trusting of humans, it being possible to observe them from a short distance. During the breeding season, however, they are much more timid, solitary and difficult to observe.

Population:

UK breeding:

410,000 pairs

Tags:   Siskin Siskins Avian Animal Animals Birds. Bird Bird Photography Countryside Cairngorms Caledonian Forest Forests Forestry Finch Finches Song Birds Garden Birds Trees Pine-Forest Pines Wildlife. Wildbirds Woodlands Woodland Wildlife Photography Jeff Lack Photography Nature Nature Photography Nikon Ornithology

N 134 B 1.1K C 60 E Feb 26, 2020 F Apr 7, 2020
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Great Tit - Parus Major

The great tit (Parus major) is a passerine bird in the tit family Paridae. It is a widespread and common species throughout Europe, the Middle East, Central and Northern Asia, and parts of North Africa where it is generally resident in any sort of woodland; most great tits do not migrate except in extremely harsh winters. Until 2005 this species was lumped with numerous other subspecies. DNA studies have shown these other subspecies to be distinctive from the great tit and these have now been separated as two distinct species, the cinereous tit of southern Asia, and the Japanese tit of East Asia. The great tit remains the most widespread species in the genus Parus.

The great tit has a wide distribution across much of Eurasia. It is found across all of Europe except for Iceland and northern Scandinavia, including numerous Mediterranean islands. In North Africa it is found in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. It also occurs across the Middle East, and parts of central Asia from northern Iran and Afghanistan to Mongolia, as well as across northern Asia from the Urals as far east as northern China and the Amur Valley.

The great tit is generally not migratory. Pairs will usually remain near or in their territory year round, even in northern parts of their range. Young birds will disperse from their parents' territory, but usually not far. Populations may become irruptive in poor or harsh winters, meaning that groups of up to a thousand birds may unpredictably move from northern Europe to the Baltic, the Netherlands, Britain and even as far as the southern Balkans.

The great tit is generally not migratory. Pairs will usually remain near or in their territory year round, even in northern parts of their range. Young birds will disperse from their parents' territory, but usually not far. Populations may become irruptive in poor or harsh winters, meaning that groups of up to a thousand birds may unpredictably move from northern Europe to the Baltic, the Netherlands, Britain and even as far as the southern Balkans.

The Eurasian sparrowhawk is a predator of great tits, with the young from second broods being at higher risk partly because of the hawk's greater need for food for its own developing young. The nests of great tits are raided by great spotted woodpeckers, particularly when nesting in certain types of nest boxes. Other nest predators include introduced grey squirrels (in Britain) and least weasels, which are able to take nesting adults as well.

Great tits compete with pied flycatchers for nesting boxes, and can kill prospecting flycatcher males. Incidences of fatal competition are more frequent when nesting times overlap, and climate change has led to greater synchrony of nesting between the two species and flycatcher deaths. Having killed the flycatchers, the great tits may consume their brains.


Tags:   Great Tit Tits Tit Avian Animal Animals Wildlife. Wildbirds Wetlands Woodlands Wildlife Photography Jeff Lack Photography Birds. Bird Bird Photography Countryside Copse Cairngorms Garden Birds Glades Grasslands Song Birds Trees Woodland Woods Farmland Forest Forestry Forests Nature Nature Photography Nikon Ornithology

N 145 B 1.3K C 81 E Oct 2, 2019 F Apr 6, 2020
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Grey Heron - Ardea Cinerea


The grey heron (Ardea cinerea) is a long-legged predatory wading bird of the heron family, Ardeidae, native throughout temperate Europe and Asia and also parts of Africa. It is resident in much of its range, but some populations from the more northern parts migrate southwards in autumn. A bird of wetland areas, it can be seen around lakes, rivers, ponds, marshes and on the sea coast. It feeds mostly on aquatic creatures which it catches after standing stationary beside or in the water or stalking its prey through the shallows.

The birds breed colonially in spring in "heronries", usually building their nests high in trees. A clutch of usually three to five bluish-green eggs is laid. Both birds incubate the eggs for a period of about 25 days, and then both feed the chicks, which fledge when seven or eight weeks old. Many juveniles do not survive their first winter, but if they do, they can expect to live for about five years.

In Ancient Egypt, the deity Bennu was depicted as a heron in New Kingdom artwork. In Ancient Rome, the heron was a bird of divination. Roast heron was once a specially-prized dish; when George Neville became Archbishop of York in 1465, four hundred herons were served to the guests.

The grey heron has a slow flight, with its long neck retracted (S-shaped). This is characteristic of herons and bitterns, and distinguishes them from storks, cranes, and spoonbills, which extend their necks.

Fish, amphibians, small mammals and insects are taken in shallow water with the heron's long bill. It has also been observed catching and killing juvenile birds such as ducklings, and occasionally takes birds up to the size of a water rail. It may stand motionless in the shallows, or on a rock or sandbank beside the water, waiting for prey to come within striking distance. Alternatively, it moves slowly and stealthily through the water with its body less upright than when at rest and its neck curved in an "S". It is able to straighten its neck and strike with its bill very fast.

Small fish are swallowed head first, and larger prey and eels are carried to the shore where they are subdued by being beaten on the ground or stabbed by the bill. They are then swallowed, or have hunks of flesh torn off. For prey such as small mammals and birds or ducklings, the prey is held by the neck and either drowned, suffocated, or killed by having its neck snapped with the heron's beak, before being swallowed whole. The bird regurgitates pellets of indigestible material such as fur, bones and the chitinous remains of insects. The main periods of hunting are around dawn and dusk, but it is also active at other times of day. At night it roosts in trees or on cliffs, where it tends to be gregarious.

Population:

UK breeding:

13,000 nests

UK wintering:

63,000 birds

Thanks to all who take the time to view, Comment or Fav, It is Always Appreciated.

Tags:   Grey Heron Heron Herons Avian Animal Animals Wildlife. Wildbirds Wetlands Water-Birds Waterways Waders Wildlife Photography Jeff Lack Photography Reservoirs Reeds Reed Beds Ponds Lakes Estuaries Estuary River Birds Rivers Birds. Bird Bird Photography Nature Nature Photography Nikon Ornithology

N 839 B 57.7K C 124 E Feb 23, 2020 F Apr 6, 2020
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Snow Bunting - Plectrophenax Nivalis


Snow buntings are large buntings, with striking 'snowy' plumages. Males in summer have all white heads and underparts contrasting with a black mantle and wing tips. Females are a more mottled above. In autumn and winter birds develop a sandy/buff wash to their plumage and males have more mottled upperparts.

Globally, they breed around the arctic from Scandinavia to Alaska, Canada and Greenland and migrate south in winter. They are a scarce breeding species in the UK, in Scotland, making them an Amber List species. They are more widespread in winter in the north and east when residents are joined by continental birds.

They are listed under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act.

The snow bunting lives in very high latitudes in the Arctic tundra. There is no apparent limit to its northern range, while the southern range is limited by the duration of daylight, which influences their reproductive activity. This species is found in the high Arctic tundra of North America, Ellesmere Island, Iceland, higher mountains of Scotland, Norway, Russia, North Greenland, Siberia, Novaya Zemlya, and Franz Josef Land. During the winter, this bird migrates to the circumglobal northern temperate zone including the south of Canada, north of the United States, north of Germany, Poland, Ukraine, and east to central Asia. During the last ice age, the snow bunting was widespread throughout continental Europe.

During the breeding period the snow bunting looks for rocky habitats in the Arctic Since the vegetation in the tundra is low growing, this bird and its nestlings are exposed to predators, and in order to ensure the survival of its offspring, the snow bunting nests in cavities in order to protect the nestlings from any threat. During this period, buntings also look for a habitat rich in vegetation such as wet sedge meadows and areas rich in dryas and lichens. In the winter, they look for open habitats such as farms and fields where they feed on seeds in the ground.


Population:

UK breeding:

60 pairs

UK wintering:

10,000-15,000 birds

Tags:   Snow Snow Bunting Buntings Bunting Birds. Bird Bird Photography Avian Animal Animals Countryside Coastal Birds Cairngorms Highlands Scotland Moorland Moors Mountains Mountain Song Birds Wildlife. Wildbirds Wildlife Photography Jeff Lack Photography Nature Nature Photography Nikon Ornithology

N 224 B 1.9K C 169 E Feb 26, 2020 F Apr 5, 2020
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Red Squirrel - Sciurus Vulgaris

Double click for large

Highlands, Scotland.

The red squirrel is found in both coniferous forest and temperate broadleaf woodlands. The squirrel makes a drey (nest) out of twigs in a branch-fork, forming a domed structure about 25 to 30 cm in diameter. This is lined with moss, leaves, grass and bark. Tree hollows and woodpecker holes are also used. The red squirrel is a solitary animal and is shy and reluctant to share food with others. However, outside the breeding season and particularly in winter, several red squirrels may share a drey to keep warm. Social organization is based on dominance hierarchies within and between sexes; although males are not necessarily dominant to females, the dominant animals tend to be larger and older than subordinate animals, and dominant males tend to have larger home ranges than subordinate males or females.
Red squirrels that survive their first winter have a life expectancy of 3 years. Individuals may reach 7 years of age, and 10 in captivity. Survival is positively related to availability of autumn–winter tree seeds; on average, 75–85% of juveniles die during their first winter, and mortality is approximately 50% for winters following the first.
Although not thought to be under any threat worldwide, the red squirrel has nevertheless drastically reduced in number in the United Kingdom; especially after the grey squirrels were introduced from North America in the 1870s. Fewer than 140,000 individuals are thought to be left in 2013; approximately 85% of which are in Scotland, with the Isle of Wight being the largest haven in England. A local charity, the Wight Squirrel Project,[26] supports red squirrel conservation on the island, and islanders are actively recommended to report any invasive greys. The population decrease in Britain is often ascribed to the introduction of the eastern grey squirrel from North America, but the loss and fragmentation of its native woodland habitat has also played a role.
In January 1998, eradication of the non-native North American grey squirrel began on the North Wales island of Anglesey. This facilitated the natural recovery of the small remnant red squirrel population. It was followed by the successful reintroduction of the red squirrel into the pine stands of Newborough Forest. Subsequent reintroductions into broadleaved woodland followed and today the island has the single largest red squirrel population in Wales. Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour is also populated exclusively by red rather than grey squirrels (approximately 200 individuals).

Tags:   Red Squirrel Squirrel Squirrels Animal Animals Mammal Trees Woodlands Woodland Woods Bark Forest Forests Forestry Pine-Forest Pines Wildlife. Wildlife Photography Jeff Lack Photography Nature Nature Photography Nikon Highlands Caledonian Cairngorms Scotland Winter


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