Swifts picture       Birds in
      Robin picture

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Many different birds have been seen in Willersey

January 2023

Firstly a big thank you to the 54 people who gave up an hour of a recent weekend to take part in this year's Big Garden Bird Watch, creating an opportunity to compare our village bird sightings with results from 2022. Even reporting sometimes disappointingly low numbers - “If I'd only counted last week....” - is still important in giving a broad picture; and perhaps the birds you might normally have seen will have popped up in another person's garden survey!

This of course is only a field study snap shot, but nevertheless a fun way of taking an interest in one aspect of the wildlife in our own gardens. Willersey's Birds in Numbers.
  • A total of 1008 birds were seen, only slightly down on 2022.
  • The greatest number reported once again were Goldfinch with 159 (15.8%).
  • Followed by House sparrow with 126 (12.5%) and then Blackbird with 109 (10.9%).
  • Interestingly, 93% reported seeing a blackbird and 77% mentioned a robin, perhaps two of our most common and much loved garden birds.
  • Greenfinch numbers sadly seem to suggest that we may be following the national trend with numbers down from 33 last year to just 18 reported this year.

There were of course other birds not included in the survey which showed up - with these being perhaps the most noteworthy:- 20 blackcaps, both male and female, 12 wrens, 3 fieldfare, 3 pied wagtails, 2 green woodpeckers, 1 greater spotted woodpecker, 1 yellow wagtail, 1 brambling, 1 siskin, 1 bullfinch and with garden visiting raptors too: kite 2, sparrowhawk 1 and buzzard 1.
37 different species were recorded in our survey - 6 more than last year.

You were invited to take part in the Willersey garden bird watch for 2023, by downloading, printing and completing this form.
You could also find ready printed copies at 19 Collin Close, 2 Nash Road, 13 Badsey Lane and on the Village Hall noticeboard.

Enjoying a sparrow       Heron on Willersey Pond 2019

Recent Village Sightings Nesting & Nest Box Focus July 2022

Those few who were lucky enough to have a bird box camera with an active nest this spring will be all too familiar with some of the ongoing dramas that most of us can only imagine. Laying and then incubation and egg hatching; young chicks desperately trying to be fed alongside their more assertive siblings; parents ejection of failed eggs and neatly wrapped sacs of poo; and dead chicks being dragged unceremoniously out of the bird box to help ensure hygiene and the future of the other nestlings as they grow and edge towards their first flight. All often out of sight but dramatic stuff.
  • Lovely reports received of nesting successes for dunnocks, robins and blackbirds reported by Roberta, Lauraine & Tony, Annie, Laura, Andrea & Mark and by Bill.
  • Noisy chimney nesting jackdaws with three fledged young (Laura).
  • Nest box successes for house sparrows; and successes and loses for a pair of great tits where 4 youngsters eventually fledged out of 8 hatched eggs; and blue tit parents raised two chicks from the 4 eggs that were laid. Uneven feeding by parents and lack of caterpillars, whose liquid content is absolutely essential to chicks, can often be the cause of such loss. Thanks to Penny & Peter, Sandy and to Tom for their reporting.
  • Village starlings seem to have done okay too with gangs of naive and noisy fledglings seen hoovering up fat balls. (Mark and also Ella)
  • Late returning swallows have been quick to repair last year's nests and raise their young with some already on their second brood. Although in one case a swallow's first nesting attempt was predated and the young it would seem lost. (Flic and Adine)
  • Elsewhere, Lauraine & Tony and also Mike have all spotted a Muntjac within the village; Ann has seen cavorting hares in the parish; Helen has shared seeing a migrant painted lady butterfly; Sue, Heather and others have enjoyed seeing great spotted woodpeckers on feeders; views of a stunning male bull finch recorded by Gi; but all balanced sadly by Glennys' newly fledged beautiful long tailed tit fatality. But, as we know, such sad loses are all part of nature.
STOP PRESS - But at last, a cuckoo heard from the village.
If you would like to report local sightings to Nature Box please email Bob Topp at bob.topp@btinternet.com

Willersey Birds 2020
What follows is a record of the birds seen in and close to the village: a snapshot recorded over the past three years between 2018-2020. Well over 40 contributors across the village via emails, phone calls and casual conversations have helped capture this picture. So, some low level citizen science in action.

Whilst we are right to be concerned about once familiar losses to the immediate area of such birds as the cuckoo, lapwing, turtle dove and spotted flycatcher, and declining birds numbers and wildlife generally, there is good new too, with a wide range of Willersey bird sightings reported, and in increasing numbers in some cases to help balance the losses. Rough accidental habitat on the village edge is helping support numbers; but the role of gardens in providing good habitat and bird food is a significant factor too.

Many of the birds listed below are often to be seen throughout the year, whilst some are less commonly seen but part of the rich mix across the year, and others of course are seasonal visiting migrants.

Garden and farmland birds

Robin, blackbird, house sparrow, dunnock, wren, blue tit, great tit, long tailed tit, coal tit, marsh tit, goldfinch, chaffinch, greenfinch, bull finch, goldcrest, tree creeper, nuthatch, song thrush, mistle thrush, starling, wood pigeon, collared dove, stock dove, feral pigeon, carrion crow, rook, jackdaw, raven, magpie, jay, green woodpecker, greater spotted woodpecker, pied wagtail, grey wagtail, wood cock, linnet, siskin, skylark, yellow hammer, mallard, mandarin duck, coot, moorhen, Canada goose, ring necked parakeet, lapwing, heron, kingfisher, greater black backed gull, herring gull,
cormorant, pheasant and partridge.


Kestrel, buzzard, sparrow hawk, red kite, peregrine falcon, tawny owl, barn owl and little owl.

Migrant birds

Swallow, swift, house martin - all nesting in the village, blackcap, chiffchaff, white throat, wheatear, redwing and fieldfare.

No doubt there have been other unrecorded birds, but all of the above have been reliably reported making an impressive total of 67 species.

Bob Topp      bob.topp at btinternet.com

Greater Spotted Woodpecker 2021        Ducks on Willersey pond 2020        Green woodpecker in Willersey 2020

Typically In May our swifts will be back, flying all the way up from their winter home in central Africa. They settle into nesting boxes or tree holes to have their young. It is great looking up all summer and seeing them wheeling around catching insects. They are one of the fastest birds in the sky.
It would be wonderful if all UK house builders installed swift bricks on all new-build homes. Existing homes can retrofit nest boxes. Alarmingly, swift numbers are decreasing together with house martins and greenfinches. The RSPB put them on the red list last December red meaning a severe decline in the UK breeding population. They need more places to nest. Think about putting up boxes and swift bricks. We should be able to give an increasing numbers of homes to swifts every summer.
You can make the boxes yourself, or have them professionally made and fitted. A good source of information is Edward Mayer, of Swift Conservation.

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