Monday, December 17, 2007

Garden list update

A garden update is long overdue. The rains of autumn have given way to the cold days and nights of winter, which means the garden is now packed with birds from dawn to dusk and they are consuming prodigious quantities of food. I estimate 3-5kilos of various foods per day.

You can tell the weather is getting harsher and the food scarcer when the Blackbirds show up again. The chap looks like a juvenile male Blackbird:

Even though the chest and wing colours suggest female, the posture and holding of the wings and tail suggest juvenile male to me...?

Anyway within a fortnight of the first blackbird showing up we've counted a record 14 in the garden, which is uncomfortable for the birds, who spend the whole day feeding, fighting and alarming all the other birds, as you can see from this shot there's a number of birds feeding in a relatively small space:

Still it's good to see so many birds, evidence of a successful breeding season, which is good news (we found 2 Sparrow bird-boxes in the garden had been used too!). The Goldfinch are the messiest eaters in the garden, as you can see from the picture below, each sunflower seed is bitten down to half, with half dropped, which is good news for the other birds when they are very hungry but normally it's left to congeal into a soup like goo before it grows it's own special kind of mould, so now we have 6 feeder poles set so we can rotate the feeders and keep the ground (relatively) fresh.

The garden list continues to grow with three new species in the last couple of weeks, including this Pied Wagtail:

This hen (Common) Pheasant:

and finally, to my mind the best new addition recently, this Siskin:

This time the bird is looking at the camera, but I was behind a window and hadn't disabled the flash so the colour is washed out, which is a shame as otherwise this would have been a very good snap (I was on the phone at the same time, which explains the lapse!).

In addition to the new birds we've recently seen both a Brambling (though fleetingly) and Reed Buntings returning to the garden, together with a Great Spotted Woodpecker. We'd like to see the Green Woodpecker again and apparently, the lime trees sometimes house Tree Creepers, fingers crossed :)

Last Saturday we did our second Timed Tetrad Visit, we've now done six out of our eight so must squeeze the last two in before the end of the month. We would have completed all eight but we'd have had to walk past a group of shooters and frankly that would have got messy, no doubt about it. We decided that rather than get involved in a direct confrontation with them we'd head home, as the light was poor and the continual gunfire was again very depressing (why on earth do they need to do it?).

In the two tetrads we did manage to complete we counted many Redwings and Fieldfares, including this one:

And a Greater Black-backed Gull, who did count as he was low and looked to us like he'd been ground feeding amongst other gulls:

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