News Archive for 2007
- December 2007
The colder days have led to increasing numbers of birds feeding in the garden though still not as many as in past years.
Rarely are there no Blue Tits in the garden and while there are usually only two or three present there are many more around. A couple of Great Tits are regular visitors too, typically feeding on suet and black sunflower seeds. A single Long-tailed Tit has been in the garden, searching for insects among the plants. Two Coal Tits are still busily fetching and hiding black sunflower seeds all over the place and some are even germinating!
Up to 7 Greenfinches are usually squabbling over the black sunflower seeds, while as many as 7 Goldfinches devour niger seeds and sunflower hearts. There are at least 4 Bullfinches visiting regularly - two males and two females. A couple of female Chaffinches are still about, though only one has ever been seen in the garden at any time. Three Siskins flew over the garden on the first Sunday of the month.
There are up to 7 Blackbirds in the garden at any one time. Typically, they find their own patch in the garden but then want what one of the others has and so a chase ensues. A Mistle Thrush has been singing for just over a week, usually from atop a TV aerial or tree, and since Christmas has been visiting the garden daily, taking suet pellets from the ground feeder table. A solitary Song Thrush flew over on 16th, pausing briefly in a neighbour's tree.
The Robin has become bolder and almost always chases the Dunnocks, Tits and the occasional House Sparrow. There are a couple of Dunnocks in the garden most of the time, feeding underneath the shrubs, etc. House Sparrow numbers are still worryingly low with rarely more than a handful ever present in the garden, though towards the end of the month they have occasionally reached double figures.
A Wren is seen occasionally, darting about the garden, probing nooks and crannies for spiders and other insects. The even smaller Goldcrest has been seen in the garden a few times - on one occasion it spent quite a while feeding on a large suet ball.
Starlings have increased in number - up to 5 birds have been in the garden feeding on the suet blocks.
The Jays are still around but not visiting as much - peanuts have not been provided as often because as fast as they were burying them, the squirrels were digging them up (and the bulbs).
A male Sparrowhawk flew through the garden (9th) but seemed not to be hunting because it didn't bother with the birds around the feeders and nor did they bother over it.
A Great Spotted Woodpecker has been heard calling a couple of times and seen flying over once.
Two Collared Doves and a solitary Wood Pigeon have been visiting since just before Christmas.
There have been two surprise visitors: a Grey Wagtail visited briefly, going inside the net over the pond and gleaning insects from the margins, and a wintering Chiffchaff that was also gleaning insects but from the climbing roses along the garden fence.
- November 2007
November seems to be following on from last month in that some days hardly a bird has been seen in the garden and then on others it has been a hive of activity with dizzying displays of frantically feeding birds.
Finches are still present in good numbers, though the number of Greenfinches has declined - a maximum of only 6 being present. A couple of female Chaffinches are still about and at long last (17th) one has ventured into the garden to feed on suet that has spilled onto the ground. A male Bullfinch has been visiting regularly again after several weeks' absence. Up to 9 Goldfinches have been on the sunflower heart and niger seed feeders.
A couple of Blue Tits are continuing to visit the sunflower heart feeders most days, as do a couple of Great Tits, though the latter prefer the black sunflower seeds and the suet balls. The flock of Long-tailed Tits is still around, usually heard chattering to one another and then seen flying in convoy, but only one has been in the garden. The two Coal Tits are still busily fetching and hiding sunflower seeds!
The number of Blackbirds has increased further, some clearly being wintering birds from Scandinavia, and we have had up to 7 in the garden at any one time. Typically, they find their own patch in the garden but then want what one of the others has and so a chase ensues. A small mixed flock, about a dozen birds, of Fieldfares and Redwings has been seen flying over on one cold, frosty morning.
A Robin is still about but tends to be skulking among the plants at the end of the garden so we rarely see it. However, from quite early in the morning until after dusk it can be heard singing. Increasingly, the Robin is chasing away the Dunnocks.
House Sparrow numbers are still very low with rarely more than a handful ever present in the garden.
A couple of adult Dunnocks are still present and probably will be for the winter. When they are not looking for insects underneath the shrubs, they are making known their home range by uttering high-pitched "seep" calls and occasionally showing some aggression by flicking their wings.
The Magpies are still around but rarely venture into the garden, unlike the Jays that are still gathering peanuts for their winter caches.
Up to 4 Collared Dove have visited and a couple of Wood Pigeons have been in the garden so far this month.
A single Starling (24th) has been seen feeding on a hanging suet block.
A female Sparrowhawk nearly collided with my father while it was pursuing a House Sparrow, the House Sparrow escaped as a result.
- October 2007
So far, the month has been rather strange. Some days, hardly a bird has been seen in the garden and then on others it has been a hive of activity with dizzying displays of frantically feeding birds. Added to this, the first ever sick Greenfinch was seen - all fluffed up, slightly dishevelled and rather forlorn - this was the trigger for a thorough disinfecting of the feeders and a more rigorous cleaning regimen. Sadly, though perhaps also a relief, this bird has not been seen since the start of the second week of the month, nor have any other poorly looking birds been seen. Whether it was afflicted with Trichomoniasis or something else we'll never know for sure.
There are usually a couple of Blue Tits visiting the feeders most days and occasionally as many as 8 at once. The sunflower hearts are their favoured food but occasionally they venture on to the suet balls. A female Great Tit is also a regular visitor with a male being less frequent - they prefer sunflower seeds and the suet balls. A convoy of Long-tailed Tits sometimes flies over the end of the garden between neighbour's trees, but three popped into the garden briefly on one occasion to forage among the shrubs - there are about a dozen birds in the flock. Two Coal Tits are busily fetching and then caching sunflower seeds, so no doubt there will be many sunflowers growing in unusual places next year!
Finches are still present in good numbers, though Bullfinches have not been seen for several weeks now - they are feeding on elderberries in the local woods. As many as 9 Greenfinches and 12 Goldfinches are perched around the feeders - the Greenfinches usually on the black sunflower seeds and the Goldfinches on either the niger or sunflower hearts. A couple of female Chaffinches are in the neighbourhood, though one have been seen in the garden.
A Robin is still about but tends to be skulking among the plants at the end of the garden so we rarely see it. However, from quite early in the morning until after dusk it can be heard singing.
There are now at least a dozen Blackbirds in and around the garden, some are resident birds but others are immigrants. Up to 4 have been seen in the garden at any one time.
House Sparrow numbers have again dwindled further with rarely more than a handful ever being present in the garden. The maximum number that has been present is 8 birds.
A couple of adult Dunnocks are usually in the garden, looking for insects underneath the shrubs, and on one occasion there were 3 birds. They have also started to advertise their presence by uttering high-pitched "seep" calls and occasionally showing some aggression by flicking their wings.
The Magpies are still around but rarely venture into the garden, when they do there is usually only one bird at a time. We stopped offering loose peanuts in a small open-top feeder for a few weeks, but within minutes of resuming the Jays were back, holding as many peanuts as they possibly can in their crops before flying away to hide them somewhere. On one occasion, a Jay decided to hide peanuts among alpine plants on the rockery - I was amazed to see it first push the peanut into the plant and then pickup a large stone to push the peanut even further into the plant - another crow that uses tools!
For a while we have had a solitary Collared Dove visiting but then this increased to 4 birds one day. Up to 2 Wood Pigeons visit sometimes to feed on dropped seeds underneath the feeding stations or to drink from the bird bath, but our modified feeding arrangements seem to have successfully deterred the large numbers that were coming.
A Great Spotted Woodpecker has been heard calling from within neighbours' trees on numerous occasions and seen flying over just once. Suet balls have been put out to try and entice it into the garden but have so far failed.
A surprise but welcome visitor has been a Nuthatch. We've had fleeting visits in the past but this particular bird has so far visited many times to fetch black sunflower seeds - this is another species that caches food.
A female Sparrowhawk has made a few sorties into the garden and is seen most days, but so far the small bird population in our garden has remained intact!
A couple of Wrens have started visiting the garden, though they usually end up chasing one another when they meet! Typically, they are foraging for insects in nooks and crannies around the garden.
Mid-month, two elegant Grey Wagtails - a male and a female - dropped into the garden for a few minutes.
Despite there being ample berry crops in the local woods, many species have continued to visit the garden, though maybe not in the numbers we are used to.
Up to 3 Blue Tits are visiting regularly, usually taking a sunflower heart from a feeder into a nearby bush where they peck at it while holding it between their feet, before returning for another seed. The Great Tits, of which there are up to 3 regular visitors, though perhaps more because we have seen at least 2 of each sex, feed in a similar manner but usually black sunflower seeds. A Coal Tit has been dashing back and forth between the black sunflower seed feeder and various food caches. A party of up to about a dozen Long-tailed Tits have been heard chattering and seen flying over on a few occasions but as yet only one has entered the garden.
There are as many as 7 Greenfinches and 17 Goldfinches visiting. The Bullfinches have not been seen for some weeks now, but there are many in the local woods, feeding on elderberries, blackberries, etc.
There are at least two Robins, which when they met led to the usual territorial fight. Most of the time only one is in the garden, often popping into the sunflower hanging feeder cage for some sunflower hearts. A Robin is singing until quite late at night and often starts before 5AM.
A few Blackbirds are around - a couple of moulting juveniles and both a male and female adult.
After the explosion of House Sparrows in August we have dwindled back to more normal levels with about a dozen birds being present: sunning, preening and chirruping in the shrubs, leaving off occasionally for a sunflower heart.
An adult Dunnock continues to potter about underneath the shrubs, looking for food.
Up to 3 Jays and 2 Magpies are visiting. The Jays are fetching peanuts for their cache - there seem to be few acorns this year in the local woods - and one Magpie has almost mastered the Jays' technique for extracting peanuts from the top of the wire basket.
A solitary Collared Dove and up to 2 Wood Pigeons drop in sometimes to feed on dropped seeds underneath the feeding stations or to drink from the bird bath.
A Great Spotted Woodpecker has been heard calling from within neighbours' trees on numerous occasions and seen flying over just once. Suet balls have been put out to try and entice it into the garden!
On one occasion a male Sparrowhawk shot into the garden but had little opportunity to do anything as a Magpie was in hot pursuit! Another time and the raptor seems to have seized a juvenile Goldfinch because the wings and other plucked contour feathers were on the lawn - these remains were quickly taken by a Magpie.
August brought both increasing numbers of species and birds.
Among the Tit family there have been up to 5 Blue Tits and 3 Great Tits of varying ages in the garden, feeding mostly on sunflower hearts, but occasionally on a suet-filled coconut shell. At least one Coal Tit has started visiting, typically grabbing a sunflower heart and disappearing to hide it somewhere. Long-tailed tits have also been heard, but only one has been seen briefly in the garden.
There are 3 Robins visiting the garden: a juvenile Robin, which has skulked in the garden for several weeks, that has almost gained its red breast, another spotted juvenile and an adult Robin.
A few Blackbirds are still around, though they are not seen much - like most other birds, they are moulting and keep a low profile while in this weakened and vulnerable condition. There are at least a couple of juveniles and both a male and female adult visiting.
Wow! The House Sparrow community has suddenly exploded from the handful of recent weeks to as many as 21 birds, sun-bathing, preening and chirruping in the shrubs.
A couple of Starlings visit occasionally but rarely stay for more than a couple of minutes, usually just long enough to have a drink or bathe in the bird bath.
The adult Dunnocks that have continued to spend much of their time in the garden have been joined by two very spotty youngsters. These must be their second or perhaps even third brood.
The finch population continues to thrive with many young Greenfinches and Goldfinches feeding in the garden - Goldfinches on the sunflower hearts and niger seed, and Greenfinches on the black sunflower seeds. The Bullfinches also remain loyal visitors - a male is the most frequent visitor, feeding on sunflower hearts, but the female also comes. Up to 5 Greenfinches, 11 Goldfinches and 2 Bullfinches are here at any one time.
Daily visits from up to 4 Jays and 4 Magpies have also been taking place for a few weeks now. The Jays are fetching peanuts for their cache - there seem to be few acorns this year in the local woods.
A solitary Collared Dove drops in sometimes to feed on dropped seeds underneath the feeding stations. The Wood Pigeons that bred in a neighbour's sycamore are frequent visitors, both for spilled seed and drinking at the bird bath.
The second week of the month heralded a large congregation of Swifts flying overhead - I counted as many as 27, but there were probably many more. In the past, this gathering usually marks their imminent departure so I kept my eyes peeled each evening. So far, there are still a couple of Swifts flying about, but the majority dispersed around the 6th August and the last ones were seen on the 9th.
A Grey Heron has reappeared, visiting gardens early in the morning, but usually escorted by several Magpies and Carrion Crows.
Despite the seemingly incessant rain at the beginning of the month the garden was a hive of activity with birds feeding. As the weather improved, the number of birds dwindled a little, probably because they were dispersing to surrounding hedgerows, woods and parks to feed on the plentiful crops of blackberries, and berries of rowan and elder.
Up to 7 Blue Tits have been visiting the sunflower hearts and peanuts - most of these are yellowy juveniles but there are a couple of moulting adults too. A few Great Tits are visiting regularly, there are at least a couple of adults and at least one juvenile. Coal Tits and Long-tailed Tits have not been seen.
A solitary Dunnock is pecking for food on the ground around the garden most days, and occasionally it become agitated, flicking its wings and calling, but otherwise can easily go unnoticed.
Most of the Starlings appear to have dispersed, with only a couple of juveniles being seen every now and then.
House Sparrows numbers have stabilised at around 5 or 6 birds at any one time, though few juveniles are visiting. At the start of the month some of the adults are still dashing back and forth between their nests in eaves and our feeders, but then they appeared in the garden with up to 3 fledglings in tow.
Last month it was finches galore and it's the same this month! Up to 3 Bullfinches at any one time in the garden, but these may comprise adults or juveniles, so there are at least 6 of them. Greenfinches and Goldfinches are all regular visitors, with up to 5 Greenfinches and 10 Goldfinches flying around the feeders and squabbling among themselves.
A male Blackbird is still singing most days, but not as frequently as in past weeks. A female is seen occasionally looking for worms on the lawns.
The Magpies had not been seen much in the garden for a while after the young had fledged but now up to 4 birds are visiting the garden. A couple of Jays are seen most days, starting to cache peanuts and other food items that they find.
The cool, wet weather of the last few days of May were swept aside by
warmer weather, even if they were still showery at the beginning pf the
month. By the end of the first week, the garden was alive with birds,
especially young ones.
A couple of adult Blue Tits are still visiting the garden, though it's
difficult to know whether these are the pair that nested in the garden. The
Great Tit nestlings from a nest in a neighbour's garden fledged on the 3rd
and what a noise they were making while begging their parents for food. On a
few occasions, the 4 fledglings were being fed suet and sunflower hearts in
our garden. A Coal Tit put in a brief appearance at the beginning of the
month, and a couple of Long-tailed tits have also visited at least once. There seem to be two, maybe three, pairs of Dunnocks in the
neighbourhood. Regularly, they unobtrusively take spilled suet from beneath
the suet feeder, but chases often ensue if another one is present. Several juvenile Starlings are visiting, with up to 8 Starlings regularly
visiting, usually to feed on the suet or bathe in the bird bath or
waterfall. So far, only one inquisitive youngster has had to be rescued from
the pond! House Sparrows numbers are increasing as more fledglings appear, but
there doesn't seem to be the number we've had in past years - maybe the last
weeks of May have had an impact on nestling mortality. Finches galore! Bullfinches, Greenfinches and Goldfinches are all regular
visitors. Having Bullfinches visit for most of the year has been great, but
to see three males instead of the usual male and female was fantastic! Up to
Greenfinches and 7 Goldfinches continue to visit the sunflower seeds and
hearts - the sunflower seeds are being consumed at an alarming rate. A male Blackcap was a surprise visitor one day, but it didn't stay around
for very long. The Magpies in the neighbour's sycamore tree are making a nuisance of
themselves, upsetting other nesting birds, but so far they seem to have had
little effect. The Blackbirds, of which there are at least 3 pairs nesting
around our garden, give the Magpies as much grief in return, making their
alarm calls and mobbing them. A couple of fledgling Blackbirds were seen
briefly in the garden, but then disappeared.
So far this spring we've had one pair, maybe two pairs, of Blue Tits, a
pair of Robins and a pair of Blackbirds nesting in the garden and all of
them have been disturbed by other peoples cats. Happy? No, I'm flaming
furious! However, something good always seems to happen sooner or later... Two Blue Tits were seen
(9th) flying back and forth between our cotoneaster, foraging for
caterpillars and spiders, and somewhere at the end of the garden. Amazingly,
they have nested in a third box that is out of sight, located to the rear of
our garden hut. The young Blue Tits fledged on 27th May. The Swifts arrived on the 11th May -
quite a bit later than in recent years. The female Blackbird that had built her nest in our Photinia has been in
the garden collecting moss and mud from around the bird bath for another
nest further up the road. The male keeps a watchful eye over his mate and is
often seen at one of a few favourite vantage points. There's been no sign of the Robins for a few weeks now, so I fear they
have moved away from the neighbourhood. Or a worse fate befell them. One Dunnock is still seen in the garden; I suspect the female will be
incubating eggs. Up to 5 Starlings are regularly visiting the suet feeders. One of the
females has a damaged leg, but this doesn't stop her clinging precariously
on the suet feeders. Ungainly, inquisitive youngsters have started to visit
the garden, but have not yet discovered a way into the pond. The House Sparrows are fewer in number. Occasionally, we see a female
visiting the sunflower hearts, but most of the time it is the male birds
that are feeding, sunbathing and cheeping from a perch within one of our
bushes. By the middle of the month, however, quite a few yellow-mouthed
youngsters were appearing in the garden.
Up to 4 Greenfinches and 3 Goldfinches continue to visit the sunflower seeds and
hearts. The male Bullfinch has visited a few times - it is probably here more
often, but Bullfinches are an amazingly unobtrusive bird and so go unnoticed.
The first fledgling Goldfinches were seen in the garden on the 27th. The Magpies are still around though usually only seen individually - the
female may be sitting on her nest in the neighbour's sycamore tree.
- April 2007
The milder weather that arrived at the end of March was interrupted with a couple of colder days, with ground frosts on a couple of mornings, but has then continued into Easter.
A Willow Warbler was singing and feeding in our garden and neighbours' gardens during the second week of the month.
The Blue Tits continue to visit the garden, even though there now seems no chance of them nesting because of cats. A couple of Long-tailed Tits are nesting somewhere nearby and are collecting cobwebs from among the plants in the garden.
There was neither sight nor sound of the Robins, but then it transpired that they were nesting in an old open-fronted nest box inside the privet at the bottom of the garden. I say were nesting - a cat has put paid to any hopes of them being successful.
Both Dunnocks are seen in the garden, but less often than they used to be.
Up to 5 Starlings are regularly visiting the suet feeders. Some are also gathering dead moss from the lawn to line their nests.
A couple of Blackbirds are nesting in the next door neighbour's shrubs and our garden appears to be the boundary between their territory and at least two other pairs that are also nesting nearby. Every now and then a battle arises as one or the other strays into another one's territory! The neighbour's Blackbirds have abandoned their nest after repeated harassment from a couple of cats.
The Mistle Thrushes fly over occasionally and are usually noticed because they are giving their rattling alarm call. The male is heard singing occasionally, though usually later in the morning. On the other hand, the Song Thrush is heard singing from before 4AM!
The half dozen or so House Sparrows continue to congregate in the bushes, but quite a few are now collecting nest material: thin twigs, grass, moss, feathers, tissue paper, etc.
Up to 4 Greenfinches and Goldfinches continue to visit the sunflower seeds and hearts. The Bullfinches are visiting the garden most days, especially the male - feeding on sunflower seeds.
A couple of Magpies are building a nest in a neighbour's sycamore tree. They are grabbing beak's full of coir fibre from the hanging baskets with which to then line their domed nest.
The female Sparrowhawk blustered into the garden one day, scattering every little bird into shrubs and trees, and so left as hungry as she arrived.
A pair of Wood Pigeons are busy building their twiggy platform in a neighbour's tree, directly beneath a squirrel's drey.
- March 2007
A male Blackcap was singing sweetly for most of the morning on the 25th of
the month and then at various times during the day on the 26th to 28th
inclusive, but has not been heard since.
Two Blue Tits continue to visit the garden very frequently but showed little interest in the nest box
from mid-February until the weekend of the 11th and 12th when nest building
Great Tits, Coal Tits
and Long-tailed Tits have not been seen for several weeks.
At the end of last month there was considerable excitement as the "podgy"
Robin kept going in and out of an
open-fronted nestbox in our garden, though his mate seemed uninterested.
Since then, only one Robin has been seen and was showing no interest in the
nest box, and during the last fortnight no Robins have been seen at all.
A couple of Blackbirds are usually in the garden, though there are
perhaps still half a dozen visiting. One male Blackbird spends great lengths
of time inside the Photinia shrub.
The pair of Mistle Thrushes are seen
regularly in neighbours trees and flying
overhead, sometimes giving their rattling alarm call, but the male spends a
lot of time singing from atop a sycamore tree.
A Song Thrush is heard singing most days, most often shortly before 4AM
from a nearby tree! The number of House Sparrows appears to be quite
static at about half a dozen birds and the chattering coming from the bushes
is very noticeable at times, though there number has increased a little in
the last few days. One or two seem to be collecting nest material. After the cold spell
mid-month, up to 5 Starlings are now visiting the
suet feeders. A couple of Dunnocks are in the garden most of the time and
at the moment there is much wing flicking going on. A bit of a commotion arose
today (4th) when a third bird arrived, but was very quickly seen off!
Greenfinches and Goldfinches continue to visit the sunflower seeds and hearts -
usually about 4 Goldfinches and 3 Greenfinches, though there are many more in
A couple of Magpies and Jays are still visiting regularly, though we've
now stopped offering peanuts for the Jays so as to deter them during the
nesting season. The Magpies are building a nest in a neighbour's sycamore
tree. From just a few twigs last weekend (25th) it has progressed quickly
during the week and is easily recognisable as a nest now.
The Grey Heron has been putting in a few appearances during the last week
of the month, but is always mobbed by Carrion Crows and Magpies, which unite
in their dislike of this large water bird.
The colder spells of February brought greater numbers of birds into the
garden, but then most disappeared again when the snow fell.
There has been
no sign of the Great Tits, Coal Tits and Long-tailed Tits, and there have
been only 2 Blue Tits visiting - these seem to be a pair as they are never
far from one another, and the male has been doing much singing in and around
the garden. Hopefully, they have their eyes on the nest box fitted with the
camera! There are 2 Robins - one is quite podgy, which is probably the one that
has spent much time stuffing itself with suet! They now seem to be a pair,
whether they are the same two birds that didn't tolerate one another a few
weeks ago, we'll never know. Better still, this weekend (25th) the male
(which is larger with a brighter red breast) has been going in and out of an
open-fronted nestbox in our garden, but his mate so far seems uninterested. Only a couple of Blackbirds have been in the garden, where they feed from
the ground table or launch themselves at the suet feeder to bring lumps down
onto the ground. A couple of Mistle Thrushes are seen regularly flying
overhead, sometimes giving their rattling alarm call. During the snows,
small flocks of Fieldfares and Redwings have flown over, the latter have
stopped off sometimes in a neighbour's tree. The number of House Sparrows
appears to be quite static at about 5 birds, though none have been seen
during the snows. Up to 5 Starlings continue to visit; generally, they
feed on the suet, but occasionally venture onto the peanuts. One Dunnock
is here most days, but there is no sign of the others. The finch
family are the most common birds with up to 9 Greenfinches and 8 Goldfinches,
and an occasional visit from a solitary male Bullfinch or female Chaffinch. A couple of Magpies and Jays are visiting regularly. The Magpies usually
feed on the lawn or manage to extricate a morsel through the cage that sits
over the ground feeder. The Jays take crops' full of peanuts. Both
male and female Sparrowhawks have been visiting, but they've failed to catch
anything. A Wren has been seen occasionally, searching for food among the climbing
roses, honeysuckle and clematis.
The last few days of 2006 saw a sudden dwindling in the number of birds
visiting the garden and this has so far continued into the New Year. The
numbers of birds increases when the strong winds have subsided, but this has
so far been infrequent. Not one but two male Blackcaps appeared on the 20th, staying only a short
time in our garden, but spending much of the morning gleaning insects from
the branches of neighbours' trees.
Often there are up to 3 Blue Tits visiting the garden, but there have been
no signs of the larger flock of half a dozen or so birds. Great Tits and
Coal Tits have not been seen, though a party of about a dozen Long-tailed
Tits has flown over on a few occasions, with two venturing into the garden
on the 21st. Two of the Blue Tits are a pair and the male is singing quite
regularly, as well as occasionally chasing away other Blue Tits. There are 2 Robins, though they are rarely together so it is still
unknown whether they're paired up or not. There is one present in the garden
for much of the day, feeding from the high-energy ground feed on the ground
feeder table, which is now caged to keep away the pigeons, or sitting atop
the large suet ball. As many as 5 Blackbirds have been but more commonly there are only two at different
times during the day, but there still remain dozens down in the local woods,
feeding on natural foods. The decline in the House Sparrows has
continued with at most 4 birds most days and feeding entirely on sunflower
hearts or spilled suet, though this has recently increased to a maximum of
11 birds. In December, up to 5 Starlings had started visiting,
but only two have been seen since Christmas. Two Dunnocks are
still here most days, but there is no sign of the third bird - maybe this has
been chased away once and for all. Finches are still visiting in
relative abundance - up to 9 Greenfinches and 8 Goldfinches, with the
occasional visit from a solitary male Bullfinch and female Chaffinch. Up to 2 Collared Doves are continuing to visit, eating small seeds that
have spilled on to the ground. We've not had 9 Magpies visiting again,
but there are regularly 3 of these birds as well as a couple of Jays. The
latter takes peanuts from the small open-topped peanut basket hanging from the clothes post,
which only one Magpie has mastered so far. The Magpies usually search for insects, etc., around the edges of the lawn, in the soil,
reach what seed they can from the ground feeder table through the mesh of
the cage, or by clinging to the suet ball feeder - a trick at least one is
becoming increasingly good at doing! The female Sparrowhawk has
visited once, though she has been seen on a few occasions. A startlingly
fast attack occurred one day in which she flushed and then chased a small
bird out of the holly - the outcome was not seen, but it looked like one the
Sparrowhawk was going to win! The Grey Heron is about again, sometimes standing on our roof top before
flying away or, more usually, being escorted away by Magpies and Carrion
Crows. One Wren has been seen briefly.
21 Feb 2015
Copyright © David Gains 1999-2017.