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GO WILDwith eric paylor.

TEESSIDE'S chaffinch population is no doubt heading for another excellent breeding season.

I have spotted a lot of these attractive finches in recent weeks, while the males have brightened up many a stroll by singing away happily in the trees.

Chaffinches have such a loud song that at first you wonder whether you are listening to one of our summer visiting warblers.

While you are likely to see chaffinches on any countryside walk at the moment, they are even more common in the winter when they congregate in large flocks, sometimes comprising of all male birds.

In fact, one of the chaffinch's old country names is bachelor bird.

The male chaffinch is particularly smart with his blue-grey head, pinkish-brown breast and cheeks and chestnut back.

too The female is yellowish brown but both sexes have a very distinctive white stripe on their wings, which helps to identify them in flight.

less This fine picture, above, of a male chaffinch was taken by Mark Walpole.

Chaffinches have adapted to gardens but are particularly common on woodland fringes.

Unfortunately I don't see too many chaffinches in my garden, though Les Laviolette reports that a chaffinch is a frequent visitor to his Guisborough garden after quite a few years' absence.

Another finch that is seen less regularly these days is the greenfinch, though Les adds that a pair of greenfinches have been visiting his garden after an absence of seven or eight years.

As has been widely reported, greenfinch numbers have dipped in recent years because the species has suffered from the spread of the trichomonosis disease.

Trichomonosis is caused by a parasite that affects the back of the birds' throats and gullets and makes it difficult for them to swallow, while breathing can also be laboured.

Naturally death normally results, and greenfinches have been particularly badly hit. One way to help fight the disease is to make sure that you clean your bird-tables on a regular basis because contaminated food and water are one of the major causes.

Meanwhile, Derek Whiting's Stokesley garden has also received an interesting visitor. He has spotted a brimstone moth, which usually flies by night but can regularly be spotted at dusk.

This attractive moth gets its name because of its bright lemon colouring and similarity to the more familiar brimstone butterfly.

If you have noted any interesting or unusual wildlife sightings in and around Teesside and Cleveland lately, contact Eric on eric.paylor@gmail.com

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jun 5, 2019
Words:409
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