Friday, 28 February 2014

28th February - Cause You Ain't Usen The Right Bait Man

There was rain overnight, but the colder and wintry weather didn't seem to have arrived as dawn gave way to a sunny morning.  I have noticed that the evenings stay lighter longer for some time now, but it is only in the last week that I can say the mornings are getting lighter. 

With the sunshine came the birds in the garden, as is always the case first thing in the morning the Starlings lead the way, they start high in the tree next door, usually taking in the sunshine while singing away.

It only takes one to lead the way then they all drop into the garden, and hit the feeders.  The buggy nibbles have been a major hit this year, and the starlings are probably responsible for emptying the feeders so quickly.  This globe feeder is designed for the smaller lighter bird such as a tit, but once worked out it is no match for the Starling.

After awhile I noticed a small grey bird creeping through the branches of the tree close to the fat feeders.  As it came into the open I could see the chestnut red cap, the female Blackcap.

It was too busy for her and she was off.  By now the starlings had moved to the Acer tree in the sunshine.  The light was catching their feathers and showing the purples and greens in them as they turned and caught the sunshine at different angles, and couples with the brown fringes on the feathers they looked beautiful.

The Blackbirds had joined the starlings in clearing the nibbles from the food tray, so I decided on a little experiment.  A little while back I wrote about the mistake I made in buying a different make of nibble, and that the birds would not eat them.  I decided to mix the Gardman with the RSPB ones that were going like hot cakes to see if they really were selective.  Here is the food tray with the mixture, lets see what happens later in the day.

The next to arrive were the Long-tailed Tits, they are now going around in pairs, and not the large flocks that would fly in calling and move through the garden.  They still can not resist the nibbles and go straight to the feeder.

Having taken a nibble they would then fly off into the tree, and perform some amazing acrobatics to eat the nibble.  Hanging by one leg, the nibble would be held with the other leg, and then pecked at like so...

In contrast the Blue Tit would take the nibble to safety of the tree.

But would then hold the nibble with its claws against the branch and peck at it.

There had been two Robins singing all morning on either side of the garden, suddenly they both decided to come to the food tray and trouble broke out.  It was mostly posturing, and there wasn't actually a fight.  Capturing this action has always been something I have wanted to do, and while this isn't the best, and I will still want to do better it shows how the Robin uses its red breast as a threat to any potential suitor for his territory.

This was ment to be a cold day, but the sunshine and lack of the forecast cold wind saw the birds continue to sing.  Blackbirds have been singing at first light, and they are probably thinking of their first broods, however this male that was picking up the bits of sunflower kernels dropped by the finches...

Was chased away by this large female.

He tried several times to get back but the female stood her ground and protected the source of food, maybe she is eating for five or six!

A male Greenfinch sang from the nearby trees, the song is that of a twittering and wheezing sound.  At the moment it is being sung from the tops of trees, but soon it will be accompanied by a fluttering flight, that sometimes I confuse with that of a House Martin.

As always the Woodpigeons were not far away.  This one sat on the roof nearby, taking in the sunshine.

Chaffinches and Goldfinches were also about, although the Chaffinches are not so keen to use the feeders, preferring to pick up the pieces that fall to the lawn.  The Goldfinches though fly into the tree, and then make their way quickly to the feeder, checking always for other Goldfinches that may beat them to it.

Having gorged themselves on nibbles the Starlings returned to the tree to chatter away and sunbathe.

With the Starlings gone the Blackcap returned to feed on the fat feeder.  This seems always to be the attraction to the Blackcap, both her and when there is one about, the male like to feed on this.

The House Sparrows were chattering away in the honey suckle on the pergola, and every so often a male would come out to sit in the sunshine.

Another singing bird was the Hedge Sparrow, it would perch in amongst the conifers and rattle out its song, which is similar to that of a Wren, but no where near as loud.

As is always the case as we get to mid morning the activity dies away.  A Buzzard flew over and the alarm calls rang out, and seemed to signal the end of the morning feed..

Well what about the nibbles?  After lunch a look at the food tray revealed that the RSPB nibbles are definitely the preferred nibbles, and that the Gardman are not liked at all.  All the RSPB nibbles have been taken.  Over the same period with only RSPB the tray would be empty.

Definitely not the best bait man!

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