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Stoneywell is home to lots of birds and provides a haven for bird spotters.
The blue tit, or cyanistes caeruleus to use its Latin name, is one of the most easily recognisable birds found in the gardens and woodland at Stoneywell. Often spotted on the bird feeders outside the cottage and the tearoom, blue tits' yellow breasts and blue caps make them easy to identify. Look out for any with yellow cheeks instead of white – this indicates their youth. There is estimated to be between 20 and 44 million pairs of blue tits spread across the British Isles, and especially like to live in woodland and hedgerows. Famed for their skill, a blue tit can often been seen clinging upside down on branches when looking for food.
The great spotted woodpecker (dendrocopos major), a distinctive bird about the size of a blackbird, is easily identified by its distinctive black and white patterning – males also sport a red patch on the back of their head. Despite this prominent plumage the great spotted woodpecker will try to stay hidden in woodland. The male of the species is well-known for drumming its bill against a branch; this typically lasts only a few seconds and comprises of 8 to 12 beats before fading away. The great spotted woodpecker is particularly fond of peanuts and may venture from the trees when tempted by nuts on a bird feeder.
The barn swallow, (hirundo rustica) is a small bird with a dark blue back, red throat, pale breast and distinctive long tail streamers. Males and females are virtually identical in appearance, but the swallows long forked tail makes it identifiable as being a swallow rather than a swift. One of 83 species of swallow in the UK, Stoneywell’s barn swallow is the breed found throughout the Northern Hemisphere including every European country except Iceland. They are extremely agile in flight and spend most of their time in the air. The swallow is called 'the bird of freedom' because it cannot endure captivity and will only mate in the wild.
Many other birds have also been spotted here, including sparrowhawks, buzzards, song thrushes, willow tits, cuckoos, nuthatches and many more. Why not come along to Stoneywell and tell us which birds you see!