Friday, 12 December 2014

12th December - You Can Stretch It If You Know What I Mean

The "weather bomb"  fizzled out like a wet squib over night, there was some rain, and some wind, but the latest media meteorological phrase never reached the south.  The morning then was damp and gloomy but remained dry.

I took the opportunity at lunch time to watch the birds that are now coming to the garden more often.  As I topped up the feeders I disturbed a Nuthatch, the first time I have seen one in the garden this winter.  When I came back inside it did not take long for the birds to arrive.  In a small amount of time there was some busy activity.  The House Sparrows are always about, the males seem to fight for the highest point in the trees.  Just after I took this picture another male flew in but was fought off.

The collared Doves fly in, then fly away again at the slightest hint of trouble, this one was spooked by the small group of Starlings that came into clear up the scraps under the feeders.

The Starlings are a joy to watch, they squabble, fight each other on and off the feeders, and then sing away in the trees.  This one was checking all about him.  You can see the wonderful colours in the feathers, and the lovely buff edging to the wing feathers.

Once it was sure of its position it settled down to chatter away, the bill doesn't necessarily open as it sings, but the throat moves, which in turn sees the feathers vibrate under the bill.

As I suspected the Starlings finally found the "fat snowman", it is no longer a snowman as the head has gone and the body is covered in pecks.  I gave up with it hanging as the birds did not have anywhere to grip on to.  On the lawn it is a very welcome addition.

Another site where they can squabble and fight each other to get a peck at Frosty.

movement in a neighbour's garden alerted me to a Jay.  It was taking peanuts from somewhere.  There were in fact two of them but I only managed to capture on on its own.

Blackbirds along with the doves and Woodpigeons patrol the area beneath the feeders.  The finches are not careful feeders and regularly drop the seed onto the lawn.  It doesn't stay there long though.

Goldfinches are by far the most numerous of the birds that visit the garden. Invariably there is a small flock of at least ten birds split between the feeders. They also seem to have got over the mite attack that was affecting the feathers around the bill, the red face markings looking splendid.

Robin and Dunnock were also present, creeping along the wall.  Greenfinches are also now coming back, this male competing with the Goldfinches for a spot on the feeder.

Although there are lots of Magpies around the patch they are not common in the garden, today though there was a pair hanging about, and one made a brief visit to the lawn but didn't stay long. 

Another corvid that is plentiful around the area is the Jackdaw.  They are frequently seen flying over the house, and around the trees close by, but they have never ventured into the garden.  I am not sure why, I would have though a bird as clever as the Jackdaw would have appreciated a ready source of food, but even in the hardest of weather they keep their distance.  This one though took an interest in what a Magpie was eating, and I watched it glide to the roof from a nearby tree and chase the magpie off.

After the Goldfinches the next commonest bird is the Blue Tit, their cousins the Great and Coal Tit are not as frequent.

Two Great Tits made their way through the trees to the feeders.

While a single Coal Tit performed its smash and grab technique on the sunflower seeds.  One of our smallest birds, they creep carefully through the branches, then fly to the feeder, immediately take a seed, then return to the middle of the tree for safety to eat it.  You have to be quick with them if you want to catch them in the open, and more often than not they are usually obscured by the branches.

Then as quickly as they arrived they were gone and the garden became still and quiet, the lunch hour done and it was back to business.

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