Saturday, 26 January 2013

26th January - Garden Bird Watch

Finally the temperatures have risen, and along with the overnight rain, the snow is beginning to leave the garden.  This weekend is the annual RSPB garden watch weekend, and I set out to do my hour early this morning.  I was hoping that the birds that had been around all week continued to be present this morning despite the rapid thaw, and the sunshine.

The birds were obviously enjoying the warmer conditions, as there was plenty of singing with the calls of Great Tits, Goldfinches and of course Robins being heard.  The Fieldfare was still with us, guarding the apples of course, I wonder how long it will stay.

The next visitor to attract the attention of the camera was a Pied Wagtail sitting high in the acer tree.  The background produced by the branches, and the light from the snow producing a lovely scene.

The warm conditions were having a real effect on the Blue Tits, they seemed to be more interested in the fences, and foraging around in the ivy than using the feeders, and they were doing so in distinct pairs.  Love this picture as if you look closely you will see there are two birds in the shot.

The count for Blue Tits was four which was a lot down on the numbers I had seen at the start of the week when the snow arrived.  I only hope the cold weather has not killed them off.

About half way through the hour I was rewarded by the Great Spotted Woodpecker returning to the garden, and feeding on the suet block.  It was a female again so it is probably safe to say it was the same bird that I saw at the start of the week.

Blackbirds were present in good numbers with a maximum of six birds being seen at one time.  There normal feeding behaviour is to wait under the feeders, and before the Fieldfare turned up they would feed on the apples in the tree.  This female though has learnt to use the feeders.  She is quite comfortable wedging hers elf into this covered feeder.

But more impressively she has learnt to use the perches on the feeders, although she does need to use the wings to maintain balance.

Wood Pigeons put in an appearance with three birds patrolling the area beneath the feeders.  There was also a pair of Collared Doves that put in an impressive air display before popping in to have a drink.

House Sparrows were also quite vocal, but also quite flighty, and were easily scared off the feeders.  This female was quite happy to sit on the snow on top of the hedge.  In the hour we had two pairs present at any one time

There were two Robins around, but they did not get on, and would chase each other away.  It was difficult to see who was actually the dominant territory owner.

The Fieldfare stayed for the whole hour, but was joined occasionally by another, but it never stayed long because the moment our regular bird saw it, then it would fly at it and chase it off.  Apologies for more photos but it is a spectacular thrush, and you do not get the chance to photograph them like this.  The colour of the branches and the grey background matches well with the bird's plumage.

Only one Blackcap today, the female, she crept through the branches of the tree to feed on the apples away from the Fieldfare.  Her approach and feeding methods appear so gentle.

Goldfinches were present in good numbers, peaking at an amazing 14 at one time.  They were extremely feisty with each other, squabbling and engages in fights in the air.  However they seemed to tolerate the other species that would join them on the feeders.

Greenfinch numbers have been down this year, there was only Four this morning.  We also had four Linnets, and a single Siskin, which have been extremely rare this winter.  The Goldfinches are very photogenic, and once again the background frames them very well.

The other bird that was present in good numbers was the Starling.  I counted 12 in the garden, but there was a flock of approximately 50 birds flying around the area.

The count is only for birds in the garden, flying over there were Magpies, Jackdaws and Rooks, but the most bizarre event was a Buzzard that I picked up in the distance.  I watched it as it flew over the tree.

As you can see there is a nest in the tree, and as I watched the Buzzard turned back and dropped into the tree, and it then settled into the nest.  This did not go down well with the Magpies and Rooks, and they started to Mob the Buzzard.

The Buzzard didn't seem to care and it just sat there in the nest.  It reminded me of how children when asked "where do birds live?" reply "In a nest".  Maybe it was checking out a possible nest site for the spring?  I don't know, but it stayed there for some time, much to the distaste of the Magpies and Rooks.

We didn't go out around the patch today, but decided to try and find some special enigmatic birds.  You can find details of this here.

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