Friday, 24 February 2017

24th February - Though I Have Prayed For a Lifetime

The day after Doris struck, and it was all calm with sunshine, blue skies and a little colder.  We are yet to see the impact of Storm Doris bird wise, but I doubt there will be much change to the conditions here in Four Marks.  Once again the weather has kept me away from the patch, and the focus has been on the garden.

As I went out to feed the birds this morning above me I heard the familiar call of the Canada Goose and looked up into the vapour trail covered sky to see a pair of Canada Geese coming from the west and heading towards Alton.  A good start.

Working through the week away from home, you don't get to appreciate the garden, and to see the changes that have just recently occurred.  At the bottom of the garden the Daffodils have just suddenly burst into flower, the sunshine now high enough in the sky to light them up, bringing to life the wild area we have created at the bottom of the garden.

As well as the Daffodils there are a few Snowdrops still flowering and some small patches of Primroses.  Hopefully to come will be the Snake's Head Fritillaries and some Bluebells

The sunshine was very welcome, and it was too highlighting the Siskins superbly.  

 We now have at least four regular visitors to the feeders and they have also started to take a liking to the buds appearing on the trees.

Pretty and dainty little birds, the sun highlighting the lemon yellow breast.

The House Sparrows too have started to take a liking to the newly emerging buds, this female was merrily stripping the buds off.

 The Starlings are the last birds to appear in the garden, they seem to prefer to be in the sunshine early on.  This male, you can tell by the pale blue flush on the lower mandible, sat chattering away in the sunshine.  It highlights the petrol like blue and green colours in the plumage.

As always there was the continual comings and goings of the Goldfinches.  The numbers do not seem to have changed, they are now the dominant bird on the feeders.  They are lovely to watch, and you have also to take the time to appreciate the plumage too.

 We are still feeding mealworms and this has now extended beyond feeding the Blackbird.  The two Robins present through the winter now have paired up, so we see the two from the shed side arrive to meet the two from the hedge.  It is the Shed birds that are the more dominant and the Hedge pair wait until they have had their fill.  This is is one of the Hedge pair, through the approach I would say this was the male.

The other regular visitor is the Long-tailed Tit, two to be accurate, they also seem to be a committed pair, always arriving together.

They are much bolder than both the Blackbird and Robin, heading straight for the tray, and then back to the tree to hang from a branch by on leg while holding the mealworm and eating it with the other.  I have tried to photograph this on many occasions but this time I think you can see exactly what they do.

Once a regular and frequent visitor to the garden in good numbers, the appearance now of a Greenfinch seems to be something to celebrate.  This male turning up in amongst the Siskins that are far more common.

With the warm weather last week, and the passing of Storm Doris giving way to warm sunshine the House Sparrows have started to prospect for nest sites.  The House Martin nest opposite is always the first site they go to, taking over residency before the House Martins return.  This female was making a cautious approach clinging to the bricks.

The Blackbird is still with us, you can tell him by the fact when everyone else flies off when the door opens he sticks about to see what will happen.

He makes for a lovely subject at the bottom of the garden.

All the hustle and bustle first thing in the morning starts to give way around the middle of the morning.  While the females are searching for potential nest sites, the cock sparrows are quite content to sit in the sun, and quietly at this stage of the year chirp.

The weather will continue to go up and down over the next few weeks but hopefully soon we will start to see more signs of spring, and I can venture out into the woods and fields.  But for now the garden continues to deliver some lovely scenes.

Will be going away this weekend

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