So here we are 2017, and the sixth year of this blog, things drifted a little at the end of last year, with their definitely being a need to have an injection of expectation to lift things. The New Year always provides that, and in the first week, with the weather cold and frosty, just as it should be at this time of year, there was definitely something of interest around the house.
Across the road there is a type of Rowan that is covered with red berries. Amazingly these have been around throughout the autumn, but with the turn of the year, it has finally been found by a flock of Redwings. Today though was the first chance I have had to photograph them. They arrived while it was still quite gloomy, a challenge to the ISO of the camera.
As well as the Redwings, the garden has become inundated with Blackbirds, which has presented Scruffy with a problem, he was though up to the challenge chasing off as many as he could from the meal worm basket, and then following it up with an aggressive stance on the hedge, his tail spread out in an effort to make him look bigger.
The light was improving and the Redwings were becoming a little bolder
Back in the garden the Blackbirds were deciding to stay around the bottom of the garden where I had spread seed for them.
The Goldfinches too were about in good numbers, the maximum flock today was 19.
Other visitors included the male Siskin, two Coal Tits, a pair of Bullfinches and Chaffinches, and Great and Blue Tits. Sadly no sign og any Greenfinches so far this year.
I turned my attention to the Rowan outside the house, the sun was starting to catch the roof of the house and the light was improving. My hope had always been that these berries would be a major attraction to a large flock of Waxwings, so today I watched every bird as they came in but it wasn't to be, I think it is going to be yet another year when the talk of a Waxwing invasion come to nothing.
So having accepted that I put all the effort into getting some acceptable photographs of the Redwings, a bird that can be quite shy and difficult to approach, they either hide well in a tree and you can't see them before thy burst out and fly off, or as you try and get close they just fly off.
Today though I had a kind of hide, and after carefully opening the window I could finally get some interesting pictures.
You can see how they can disappear in the middle of a tree, even without leaves, they can turn, lift the head up and with the brown streaks melt into the background like a Bittern in reeds.
The sun was now rising and picking out more of the berries, the Redwings were also increasing in number, and in boldness to come to the front of the tree.
Their approach would be to come to the trees around the berries and wait, sitting still and waiting for a few birds to leave before dropping in to feed. This individual sat nicely in the early sunshine, again it is easy to see how they just blend into the surrounding branches
Different feeding techniques are also applied, this bird sat still high in the branches, and would then slowly reach down to pick off a berry returning to swallow.
While others would get in amongst the berries and ferociously pick and swallow.
Getting the deed done quickly.
The sun was now picking out the whole tree, and the birds were moving about to feed.
While other just settled down in a sunny spot and warmed up, something that was definitely necessary on this cold morning.
I left the Redwings feeding in the sunshine. However the bright weather was not going to last, and the clouds rolled in. Gradually the number of Redwing feeding dropped to only a few. Around lunch time I checked on them only to find another "red" bird circling above the house. I rushed outside and managed to get some great views of our local Red Kite that can be seen most days scanning the gardens in search of food.
Our garden birds are getting much bigger around here, what a wonderful sight, with that lovely forked tail spread out as it twists and turned above me
With the cloud the temperature began to pick up, but the garden remained very busy with the never ending movement of Goldfinches in and out, and the squabbling Blackbirds. Hopefully I will be able to get out over the weekend, and who knows what will be about.