The hectic feeding continued owing to acorn, beech mast and hazelnut crop failing. Up to 57 House Sparrows fed on sunflower hearts, with two sparrows falling prey to a female Sparrowhawk. Blue Tits, Great Tits and Coal Tits continued to visit, and a couple of Long-tailed Tits visited the shrubs and trees in search of insects. The number of Blackbirds in the area diminished to about 3 or 4 birds. Up to 2 Song Thrushes and half a dozen Starlings visited, the latter mostly to bathe. At least 4 Jays were about, though only 3 ever visited at one time; one Jay mastered clinging on to the peanut feeder. Very few finches about, though a pair of Bullfinches visited around Christmastime, but only one ventured into the garden at a time. The Robin visited a few times each day, but was unusually not fighting with the Dunnocks. A couple of Goldcrests passed through, and a Grey Heron flew over early one morning.
One female Blackcap visited at the beginning of the month. The flock of Long-tailed Tits were still around, but had reduced in size. Coal Tits had also dwindled to just 3 dashing back and forth. A couple of Blue Tits and Great Tits continued to feed on the peanuts and sunflower seeds. Up to a couple of dozen House Sparrows were loitering in the shrubs or feeding on the sunflower hearts. About 9 Blackbirds were in the area. A pair of Jays were taking peanuts from a bag, and one of the Magpies learnt how to get them out of the bag. Goldfinches and Greenfinches were about, but not seen very much. Two or three Chaffinches were seen, but did not visit. The Robin continued to visit, but was still not fighting with the Dunnocks. A flock of about 40 Starlings remained in the area though only about 20 visited. A couple of Wrens kept visiting.
Mid-autumn was very mild and leaves remained on deciduous trees. A flock of Long-tailed Tits were about, as well as Blue Tits, Great Tits and up to 10 Coal Tits, which were dashing back and forth between feeder and larders. A dozen or so House Sparrows loitered in the shrubs and fed on sunflower hearts. A Song Thrush and a Mistle Thrush were seen and heard early in the mornings. Nine Blackbirds moved in to the neighbour's apple tree. One or two Jays started visiting and taking peanuts, but the Magpies kept chasing them away - though the Magpies did not get it all their own way, the Carrion Crows kept the Magpies in their place! A female Sparrowhawk continued to hunt in the neighbourhood, narrowly missing one of the Coal Tits on one occasion. A number of finches returned: Goldfinches, Greenfinches, and Chaffinches. A Robin set up its winter feeding territory, but was not yet squabbling with the Dunnocks. A flock of about 40 Starlings kept flying around, but very few visited the garden. A couple of Wrens became regular visitors. A solitary male Blackcap visited the garden for a couple of days. Several Collared Doves and Wood Pigeons visited.
Where did all the birds go? This was one of the quietest months ever in the garden. The only noteworthy event was a Tawny Owl visited the garden one night at the beginning of the month.
A Robin became a daily visitor, feeding on fallen seed around the bird table. All the finches - Greenfinches and Goldfinches - disappeared. One or two juvenile Blue Tits continued to visit the peanut feeder. A flock of over 50 House Sparrows descended on the garden for a few days during the second week.
A Robin reappeared after disappearing to moult. Greenfinches visited occasionally for sunflower hearts. Blue Tits, both adults and juveniles, fed on peanuts. Lots of young House Sparrows continued to be fed by their parents. Goldfinches, including juveniles, were attracted to niger seed and sunflower hearts.
Blackbirds started feeding young; but the young were killed by a cat. Robins continued to feed at the bird table. Greenfinches, Blue Tits, Great Tits and Coal Tits visited bird feeders occasionally. Lots of young House Sparrows and Starlings were being fed in the garden by their parents.
Willow Warbler was still in and around the garden. Whitethroats and Swallows returned to the local patch. Blackbirds' nest was raided by Magpies; but they quickly repaired the nest and started again. Jays visited peanut feeder. Robins fed from the bird table. Greenfinches devoured sunflower seeds and hearts. Goldfinches nibbled on niger seed. Blue Tits, Great Tits and Coal Tits were ever frequent visitors to feeders, latter hid and buried food. Swifts returned on 8 May.
First Chiffchaffs seen and heard on local patch, and Willow Warbler feeding in the garden.
Many species started nest building: Magpies built their nest in neighbour's tree, but Carrion Crows drove them off and destroyed nest. Blackbirds built their nest in our Photinia bush and female sat on the eggs for nearly a fortnight, but then Magpie raided the nest. Dunnocks built their nest in neighbour's hedge. Long-tailed Tits built there wonderful nests in the local woods. Female Sparrowhawk continues to visit the garden. Song Thrushes and Mistle Thrushes still about but seen much less than a month or so ago. Robins (3+) are still about and visiting the bird table. The little Wren continued to wake everyone up at the crack of dawn! Visits from Greenfinches and Goldfinches increased.
The earlier mild weather spurred the birds into a spring fever, with a pair of Blue Tits showing an interest in one of the nest boxes, House Sparrows and Long-tailed Tits are gathering nest material. The cold spell and snow has stopped this. The mid-week snow blizzard brought a Common Buzzard to the garden; possibly the same one as seen on the local patch. Blackbirds, Song Thrushes, Redwing, Mistle Thrushes are all frequent visitors. The Song Thrush and Mistle Thrush are singing from before day break, as are the Robins and the noisy (but lovely) little Wren. Blue Tits and Great Tits continue to visit, but Coal Tits and Long-tailed Tits are not seen much now. Visits from Greenfinches are increasing. Also, Jays have started to put in an appearance more frequently. Female Sparrowhawk has stopped visiting, but is still about.
A solitary Waxwing was a bonus bird in mid-January - a flock of a hundred or so birds had been in the area, so this may have been a straggler.
Female Sparrowhawk chasing House Sparrows.
First Redwing seen in the local woods, and a Raven flew over.
Large mixed flock of 40+ Blue Tits, Great Tits and Long-tailed Tits are in the vicinity.
Niger seed continues to attract Goldfinches which started visiting for the first time this summer.
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