Wild side with Professor Ian D Rotherham

Rooftop Grey Heron by Chris Percy
Rooftop Grey Heron by Chris Percy

Gill Robinson reported some heron sightings. “After reading the Saturday Star Wildside, I thought I would tell you of the many times we see herons around Queens Road, Sheffield 2. They regularly swoop behind Graham Plumbers Merchant and perch on the roof. Last year I was lucky enough to see one on the roof of a terrace house on nearby Lancing Road, as I got ready for work one morning. It stayed quite a while. Lately the arrival of the large gulls in the area means a second glance sometimes to see if it is the heron or a gull. Living in such a busy area, we are lucky to see such things.”

Similarly, Mrs F Howe emailed from Gleadless Townend to say: “I saw a heron on Tuesday resting on a tree at the bottom of my garden here in Gleadless. The heron did not stay long, perhaps around five minutes.”

Also on the grey heron theme, Norma Kangley took a photograph about 10.15 am on the morning of Sunday, January 11. The bird was in her garden at Wadsley, when as she said: “The weather was not too bright but I snapped quickly whilst it was still.”

Norma reported other sightings in her neighbour’s garden on Monday, January 5 in the afternoon.

Saleema Imam was in touch abut the Sheffield Environment Weeks programme for 2015. Events will run from April 25 to the first week in June this year. Importantly, the annual free booklet, listing all the events, will be going to print shortly and the deadline for copy is mid-February. Volunteers do all the work for the booklet so copy needs to be in as early as possible. To get environmental events in the booklet, groups need to either add them to the interactive online calendar themselves: http://www.sheffieldenvironment.org// or send them to Pat Barsby on barsby38@gmail.com by February 15.

The online events calendar can be used all year round. Do support Sheffield’s programme, the biggest in the country, and send all your events and activities in to the team.

David and Joan Trundler of Handsworth responded to my question about greenfinches. “Our garden in Handsworth is constantly visited by birds. Last weekend as we had breakfast watching the birds and commenting on the absence of greenfinches, two extremely green ones came to the sunflower-feeder.

“Other birds visiting our garden this year include blackcap (never seen one in the garden before), great tits, blue tits, (already nest-building), coal tits, willow tits, dunnocks, chaffinches, abundant goldfinches, magpies (nest-building), fighting robins, house sparrows, collared doves, wood pigeons, and starlings. They all feast on sunflower hearts, fat balls, and scraps.”

This is a great garden bird-list; good to hear..

n Professor Ian D Rotherham, www.ukeconet.org