Tuesday, 24 December 2013

24th December - And So Here It Is....

After the savagery of yesterday today dawned quiet, as if nothing had happened, unfortunately one of my roof ridge tiles was not so lucky, and we found it on the front lawn, where a huge chunk in the turf was testament to how lucky it had not landed on the patio, or worse a car.

Even before it was light Blackbirds could be seen busying themselves around the hedge and on the lawn, with a little more light the Robin was chipping away.  As it became light there were huge flocks or charms of Goldfinches around the garden.  There would be birds in the feeders, and birds waiting in the surrounding trees.  At one time I counted an incredible 42 in the area.

They were feeding yesterday, but were being thrown around on the feeders in the wind, today must have seemed like a complete pleasure.  They are very active and vocal birds when feeding, and there are constant little battles and squabbles going on as they jostle for space on the feeders.  The birds in the trees also seem to know when the others have had enough, or they decide when they have had enough, and as they drop down those on the feeders fly off.

As well as the Goldfinches there have been up to six Greenfinch at one time, which is very pleasing considering the disease which seems to be reducing there numbers in many places.  The males are really quite splendid birds.

At times the Greenfinches happily share the feeders with the Goldfinches, but if there is any trouble it is usually started by the Goldfinches

The starlings also drop down in small groups, they fly into the tree and wait.

 Then when there are sufficient numbers they make for the fat balls or feeders, and hang from them with unseemly agility.  They have also learnt to get food out of one of the bowl feeders designed mainly for tits.

The Blue Tits were much calmer, gradually making there way through the branches, and trying everything that is on offer, apples, sunflower hearts, the nibbles and the fat balls.  They have an uncanny knack of being able to find the fresh apples that go out, heading for them straight away for a sugar fix.

The Robin remains a real character, and this morning as I filled the feeders even flew at me to ward me off.  It allows me to get close, and watches me carefully as I hold out my hand, but as yet has no ventured close enough to feed from my hand.  Of course when this is going on I never have a camera, and I am yet to catch it chasing off the Starlings which is very amusing to watch.

After a while the flock of Goldfinches would fly off, with the Starlings for company.  There would be a whirr of yellow wing flashes and the tinkling of their calls, and they would head off towards the far trees with that bouncy flight that suits perfectly the jingle of the calls.

They never leave for long though, and soon they are back, and all over the feeders once again.  The sunflower seeds they eat mean they have to drink to aid digestion, and some would peel off the feeders and drop to the bird bath.

I then noticed a group on the house opposite drinking from the gutter, something I had not seen before, but then I do not recall having this many Goldfinches in the garden before.

Supporting this main event were two Chaffinches and a waddling Woodpigeon.  They were extremely grateful as the squabbles on the feeders was throwing seed to the ground which made it easy to pick up.

Very soon another squally shower came through, and the birds took shelter and the garden returned to peace.  I hope for all of you out there that you have a very Merry, Peaceful, and Safe Christmas.

Storm Update:  There is one of the huge oak trees that make up the rookery at the garden centre in Alton Lane down.  The trunk has snapped, showing it to be hollow on the inside.  Other trees are down around the area, a Eucalyptus in Telegraph Lane being the largest.  On Lymington Rise one of the bushes that is always an attraction to late butterflies has also been blown down.  It remains to be seen what has happened in the woods

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