Sunday, 4 February 2007

Saturday, a day of two halves: First half

I'm getting tired of being stuck inside: there are three more weeks before I have the plaster cast taken off my leg. Saturday morning was beautiful: cold, crisp and sunny. I sat with the patio doors open watching garden birds. The photograph - as if it's not obvious - is from summer.

I love being outside, especially in the countryside. I love wildlife, particularly birds, so - at the risk of being dramatic - am becoming a bit like a caged animal (told you it was dramatic!).

Already the change from winter (albeit it's not been much of one) to spring is taking place, many birds are pairing away from their winter flocks and appear very much as couples on our feeding stations. Blue Tits and Great Tits are investigating the nest box high in the crab apple tree and magpies are to be seen carrying long twigs - almost as long as themselves - these will form the foundations of their substantial nests.

Because the morning was cold, the small birds were particularly active on our seed feeders and fat balls - when it's cold like this, small birds have to eat almost their own body weight in food.

This morning I watched:
  • Blue Tits (one pair)
  • Great Tits (one pair)
  • Greenfinches (flock of seven)
  • Chaffinches (one pair)
  • Blackbirds (three males having a territorial battle and one oblivious female feeding)
  • Dunnocks (resident pair)
  • Robin (singing from points on the boundaries of its territory)
  • Wren
  • Goldfinches (three)
  • Redwing (landed at the top of one of two alder trees that are popular with the birds, came from the south - left towards the north, going home? Redwings (illustrated) are a winter visiting flock bird, this one may have been ill or injured and become separated from the flock as they started the return flight to Scandinavia)
  • Magpies (one pair)
  • Wood Pigeons (one pair Hoovering up seed from one of the bird tables)
I enjoyed the first half of my Saturday, but I'd rather have been out. More on the second half tomorrow.


Tracey said...

Lovely looking garden you have there! I prefer the informal cottage garden look as well as it attracts lots of wildlife. We have the most amazing butterflies here in the summer.

We live in the woods so we see alot of speckled wood butterflies and we had Toad spawn for th fist time in our water feature last year. I hope they return!

Did you do the RSPB Birdwatch this year? I usually do, and was going to and then couldn`t fit it in due to having to run the girls around again that weekend.

Crofty said...

Thanks for the comments on the garden.
I did the birdwatch but it was really disappointing, we live on one side of a hill and when it's windy the birds all disappear to the sheltered side; sure enough it was windy!
We deliberately leave all the cutting back until spring, it's amazing how that increases the number of insects hibernating and thus the birds too.
I guess you get a wider selection of birds down there, are you lucky enough to live in one of those areas of Cornwall with its own micro-climate?

Tracey said...

Hi Crofty,

Well we live in a very wooded area down here in Cornwall so we get nuthatches, various tits, woodpeckers, jays, robins, blackbirds and thrushes on a regular basis, but we don`t tend to see sparrows, wrens, and starlings at all.

However down on my partner`s dairy farm (which is only about 1/4 mile down the road he sees many and other birds, eg sparrows, starlings, yellow hammers, buzzards, barn owls (ocasionally in the summer evenings)and many more.

Crofty said...

I'm madly jealous!
What a fabulous collection of bird life.