A Year at Bickley
Join me as a take a photographic tour of Cheshire Wildlife Trust's Bickley Hall Farm Nature Reserve
5 January 2020
A distinct increase in the number of Chaffinch and Reed Bunting since my last visit: approximately 200 Chaffinch were feeding in the bird crop with the Linnets, the Reed Buntings (around 50) were feeding from or around the feeders with the Tree Sparrows and assorted Tits. Small numbers of Redwing and Fieldfare were feeding on what remains of the berries in the hedgerows. A single Bullfinch was calling from the hedgerows.
Birds of prey seen included several Buzzard, a Kestrel and a single Peregrine.
28 December 2019
I made my last visit of 2019 to Bickley Hall today. The flocks of finches are now feeding on the various winter bird food areas. There is still plenty of seed in the mix, but any birds are now using the supplementary feeders. Standing beside these and not moving, provided opportunities to photograph the many Reed Buntings coming to them. A few Tree Sparrows were at one of the feeders but were more wary. Linnets and Chaffinches favoured the seed crops, whilst the feeders also attracted Blue and Great Tits. Around 30 Skylarks fed on the stubble fields and were accompanied by a single Golden Plover.
20 November 2019
With a spare day from work I popped down to Bickley to spend some more time photographing farmland birds. The flock of finches now contains around 400 Linnet and over 100 Chaffinch, with much smaller numbers of Goldfinch, Reed Bunting and Tree Sparrow amongst them. With the increase in numbers, a female Sparrowhawk made two unsuccessful attempts to grab a meal.
Over 40 Skylarks were feeding in the stubble fields, and winter thrushes were feasting on the hawthorn berries.
10 November 2019
A bright sunny winter day and I set off a bit later than anticipated to Bickley Hall Farm, where I have my portable hide set up overlooking one of the areas of winter bird crop. These are areas planted with various crops that are left for the birds to feed on - kale, mustard, quinoa and cereals.
Winter visitors are now beginning to arrive at Bickley. The number of Linnet and Chaffinch feeding on the various areas of winter bird crop have now passed the 100 mark, but they have yet to make it to the area in front of my hide. The berry laden hedges are attracting Redwing, Fieldfare and Blackbirds. Kestrel and Sparrowhawk were both hunting over the bird crop, the former no doubt looking for small mammals, whilst the latter would be hoping to snack on the small birds.