Friday, 24 March 2017

24th March - One Song Among Us All

The weather is behaving as forecast, and following a heavy period of rain on Thursday morning the sun came out in the afternoon, and allowed another walk.  This turned up a Sparrowhawk along Telegraph Lane that diced with death in front of a car that sped down the lane, and a flock of about thirty Fieldfares at the bottom of Alton Lane.

Today we were promised sunshine, but first had to get through some heavy overcast conditions, some drizzle and a raw easterly wind.  While Four Marks waits for the migrants to finally make there way here, my attention was back to the garden, where there was some interesting interaction this morning.  All the resident birds are busy pairing up and as a result there seems to be some tension.  The Siskins seem to fight and bicker with the same sex, so the males fight each other, and so do the females.  This male was squaring up to another in the tree.


 I couldn't manage to capture the females at war, but this single bird did take to feeding on the ground at the bottom of the garden


 One surprise away from the bickering this morning was the presence of two Nuthatches on the feeders.  One preferred the fat balls (which in itself is an indicator of how rarely we get Nuthatches in the garden, all the other birds have rejected these as they are not RSPB products!), while the other was on the seed feeder.


The other bird decided to leave almost as soon as I raised the camera.


Our friendly Blackbird has taken to bringing a female to the mealworm tray, he stands by as she feeds.  The reason for this is that there is also another male about, and they definitely do not get on.  I watched them at the bottom of the garden squaring up to each other, both fanning out their tails and spreading their wings to make themselves look bigger.

Here is Scruffy after one such meeting.


Both the Blackbirds and Robins have been about lately, butthe Long-tailed Tits seem to have gone missing over the last few days.  They are such fun to watch when they do come to the tray.  There is no real fear, they go straight in, take the mealworm and hang in the tree to eat them.

The Robins too are becoming brasher.  One has taken to perching on a prominent branch and looking almost as if it is looking into the kitchen and demanding we feed it.  This is the stance we get.


One little chap who will probably miss out on a mate this year is this Blue Tit.  He looks a little worse for wear already, and lacks a bright yellow belly.  It seems that attractiveness in Blue tits is gauged by the vibrancy of their yellow colouring, apparently having something to do with the caterpillars they can catch.

I tried to get the best view I could as I will be keeping an eye out for this bird.


The sun finally made an appearance in the middle of the afternoon, but still with a fresh easterly wind.  There have already been reports of Swallows and Sand Martins along the south coast, in fact Ian and I saw some last weekend at Testwood.  They have yet to reach here, and don't normally arrive until early April.  As well as the hirundines there have been Wheatears and a few Osprey, so it will be off to the coast for me this weekend in the hope of finding something.

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