After the sunshine of Friday morning normal service has been resumed this weekend. I was out yesterday (full details can be found here), and it was overcast, dull with gale force winds which made bird watching very difficult for both the watchers and the birds. So the sight of partially blue skies this morning was very encouraging, but the situation did not last, the clouds very quickly returned and with it a light drizzle. I was intending to get out for a walk, so with the weather forecast saying it would be dry in the afternoon, I decided to do some work in the garden, and then get out in the afternoon. The best laid plans always go wrong.
The light drizzle never really stopped, and as I finished in the garden the drizzle started to get heavier, there was no way it was going to be conducive to seeing and recording any nature this afternoon so I decided to stay in.
With me out of the garden though the birds started to return, and as I made a cup of tea I could see the Long-tailed Tits massing on the feeders so I decided to watch the garden, and see what did turn up, and adopting the Garden watch approach to count the birds.
The Long-tailed Tits did not seem to be too happy with the weather, looking up at the sky and the rain.
The maximum count of these lovely little birds was 12 as they buzzed around in the branches.
They seem to have a way of communicating as when one uses a feeder others just collect with them. I have seen the feeders completely covered, here though there are four on the fat feeder.
I have also showed this before, but I find this behaviour fascinating. From the sunflower seed feeder the little tit takes the seed from its bill, and holds it in its foot, and then hanging from the branch feeds on the seed it is holding.
There was bird song even in the rain, the melancholy song of the Robin, and the chirps of the House Sparrows that are all sitting in the middle of the conifer hedge. Every so often the sparrows would com out and make their way to the feeders.
I counted seven House Sparrows, but I know there were a lot more in the hedge. In amongst the sparrows was a male with a large amount of white feathers on the back and wings making it stand out. I had to look carefully, but it was definitely a House Sparrow, and of course it avoided the camera.
I had been pleased this autumn to see a Goldcrest in the garden, and when I was first watching the Long-tailed Tits I saw one in with them, fortunately for me it returned and I was able to get some good views.
There were four Blackbirds in various places in the garden. One male would sit in the middle of the main tree, while another male was watching all the comings and goings from the top of the conifer hedge.
The busiest birds in the garden were the tits. There was seven Blue Tits at one time, and three Great Tits, but the entertainment came from the Coal Tits. There were three in total, and they were buzzing all over the place going from the feeders back into the safety of the tree, then down to the trays and table and away again to feed on their prizes in the tree.
Some consider the Coal Tit a smaller version of the Great Tit, but the one distinguishing feature is the white patch on the nape, shown really well here.
Two Robins have a territory in the garden one on the left hand side, and the other around the conifer hedge and the pond. The left hand Robin though was not only defending its territory from other Robins but it also had an issue with the Coal Tits and Blue Tits. It would chase the birds as they made their way through the tree towards the feeders, and even the ground bird table.
Interestingly it didn't have an issue with the Goldfinches or the Great Tits which are of similar size.
The beauty of just sitting and watching is that there is always the chance of seeing something different. The Goldcrest earlier was interesting, and then the other tiny bird appeared, first there was the call, then it appeared on the top of one of the small ornamental trees.
Like a little mouse it made its way through the branches and along the ground.
The most numerous bird was the Goldfinch, with a maximum count of 16, they flock around the feeders and are probably the main reason why the seed needs topping up all the time.
During the quiet spells I scanned the area around the garden. A large flock of Jackdaws drifted over calling as they went.
And on a tree that has been cut very closely were a pair of Collared Doves, they visit the garden regularly taking advantage of the seed that is dropped as the Goldfinches feed.
It had been the right hand Robin that had been singing, but the song had now stopped, and the Robin then appeared from the hedge.
There was another quiet spell, then from no where the Starlings appeared. At first flying into the trees and perching on the high branches to watch and see what they could go after.
Then once that felt that it was safe the drop onto the feeders and the ground bird table where inevitably they would squabble and fight over everything.
Always entertaining to watch they come in, create havoc and then leave.
It was disappointing not being able to get out, but at the same time it was a great opportunity to watch the behaviour in the garden. As I keep saying I hope the weather becomes a little more considerate in the next few weeks, something more winter like would be nice, but hopefully without any significant disruption.