The structure of Kirkmichael is typical of many rural villages in Ayrshire - a big house and estate with mixed woodland and a small loch, the traditional mature stand of trees in the Church grounds and a farmland surround which still retains hedgerows as field boundaries. The Dyrock Burn runs through the core of the village and the large number of of diverse gardens provide additional habitats. This results in an interesting mix of wildlife, easily viewed by residents and visitors alike.
One of most noteable events in 2013 was in late May, when large numbers of lesser redpolls descended on the feeders in village gardens. Twenty six were recorded at one time in one garden feeding on the nyger seed with the more common siskin. Many of the birds were in full breeding plumage, the males being especially colourful.
The reason for the sudden influx is not clear but they may have been birds heading north which were held back by the poor spring weather conditions. Several of the males carried rings and the ring number of one found dead in Bob Sutherland’s garden was reported to the British Trust for Ornithology. Details will be posted when the recovery comes back.
Update Feb 2014
The lesser redpoll found dead in Bob Sutherland's garden on 28 May 2013 had been ringed on 21 October 2011 at Hollesley, Suffolk.
Fiftenn long-tailed tits is the highest number seen at one time on the feeders in my garden last month. A male blackcap has been seen in one garden in the village when it should be enjoying the heat in Africa. Overwintering birds are regularly recorded in Ayrshire.
Nuthatches too have been seen regularly at three locations this winter, feeding on nuts and soft food. They are extremely attractive birds and are a welcome addition to our residencts. Numbers of greenfinches seem to be quite low and I have only recorded one on my birdtable this winter among the massed ranks of the chaffinches and house sparrows.
The ravens are particularly active at this time, being one of the earliest breeders. They have been continuously displaying and calling above the village, their 'cronking' call being very distinctive.