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Letter: ‘Thanks For The Latest Birdwatcher’s Diary’

From Juliet Miller Hills

Thank you for the latest Birdwatcher’s Diary No.155 by Malcolm Fincham.

I live in the Midwest of the USA and we are just getting heavy rain after three snowfalls of five inches each time.

I have heard the cardinal’s spring song, and a small Cooper’s hawk was on the swing this morning.

A gull had claimed the river bridge house site where she was born for this year’s nest, but a goose is there today and the gull is dive bombing it – speed or weight, which will triumph?

We will not get our cormorants until late April, same with the swallows, whose population sank dramatically last summer when the county sprayed for Vica virus by getting rid of the mosquitoes, the swallows’ main diet.

I saw a swan recently but they are usually going north in March and April, and in small groups.

All winter I have had chickadees, sparrows, house finches, cardinals, nuthatches, juncos (who will go north soon) and a few crows. We will get our starlings back soon, and the spring warblers that pass through can be very tiny. Sometimes the kinglets stay in the parks for the summer.

After spending my first 30 years in Woking, there are slim pickins here but it does make me more grateful for every tree creeper, and a nuthatch welcomed me the first time I turned the key in the lock of the house I bought 12 years ago.

I see a few things from the bus stop. A squirrel is building a nest in an elm in front of the home of a truck driver who idles his truck for a good 15 minutes every morning, so I don’t know if she will really want those fumes.

She was running down the tree and getting dry leaves from under his yew hedge beneath his front windows. He probably doesn’t even know how useful those yews are to her.

We don’t get ravens this far south but I have a sketch of one in B.C. on Goose Mountain, and a papier-mâché maquette on my fridge leering at me when I’m eating.

Thanks for a slice of home. I miss the RSPB!

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3 Responses to Letter: ‘Thanks For The Latest Birdwatcher’s Diary’

  1. Martin Whitley Reply

    February 22, 2018 at 11:49 am

    Malcolm makes it to International status as his readers write from as far away as the Midwest USA.

    Indeed, he has previously received a comment from Canada. Ed

    • Juliet Hills Reply

      February 22, 2018 at 5:09 pm

      You can take the girl out of Woking but you can’t take Woking out of the girl!

  2. Malcolm Fincham Reply

    February 22, 2018 at 10:24 pm

    How delightful it is to hear news from across the pond, what a small world we are now living in.

    Thank you, Juliet, for your, short, but detailed nature report of life in the Midwest. I could almost feel I was there, even though I have never visited.

    On reading my reports, I expect you may be quite surprised with some of the birds I feature. Although many bird species have diminished since the days of my youth, with much assistance from conservation groups (including the RSPB) birds of prey have certainly increased since the millennium. Red kites and buzzards are a regular sight now in the Surrey sky.

    A pair of peregrines has now taken up residence in nearby Woking. Although not breeding yet, they can be now be viewed on a webcam. Something I will be including, hopefully in future reports.

    Thank you for your letter, such feedback is always inspiring.

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