tree sparrow

Tree Sparrows

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Tuesday 9th November 1999, 1/2

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goldfinch and sparrow on teasel TWO GOLDFINCHES feed on Teasel seedheads. A House Sparrow flies over and watches quizzically - it tilts its head as if trying to work out what is going on.

meadow pipit A pair of 'little brown birds' flies over farmland. From the nasal 'zwee - eep!' call I guess they are Meadow Pipits.

tree sparrowtree sparrow There's a flock of ten sparrows in Hawthorns alongside the lane. They're not calling raucously and we are some distance from houses so I check them out through binoculars. They're Tree Sparrows, with a brown cap (rather than a grey like the House Sparrow), cheek patches and a white ring on the back of the neck. Their call is a soft whistle, not a chirrup.

orb web spidermale winter gnat In the low afternoon sun spiders' webs and clouds of dancing midges are picked out by the golden light. A small Winter Gnat is trapped on the orb web in the corner of our window. The medium-sized brown spider comes out and twangs the web with one of its long forelegs. It quickly parcels up its victim and starts to feed. The gnat has feathery antennae, so it is a male. As with moths, the male uses these elaborate antennae to detect the pheromones of the female.

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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