Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Singing Sparrows

Quite a few Garden Bird Surveyors noted the past,mild winter as a bit on the quiet side for birds.  Winter thrushes either stayed in the fields are didn't come to us at all from the continent. Similarly, finch flocks were a bit smaller than usual.  

Given the lack of flocks previously, at the weekend I was happy to note a conspicuous,decent gathering of Linnets up the top of the garden. There were perhaps 50 or 60 birds.  These were not recorded all winter on the survey so I speculate as to why the sudden arrival?  

Linnet (c. Michael Finn)

Linnets are partial migrants and some of our birds move south and west in winter, and these could be returning, en route to higher breeding grounds.  However, these birds could possibly have just relocated a few miles - displaced as farming activity moves into top gear, spring ploughing began as soon as the rain stopped and stubbles are disappearing fast under the shiny, silver blades of the huge plough.

Male House Sparrow (c. OOS)

A bird that just made my winter garden list is the House Sparrow: they are usually inconspicuous with us, and we have just two birds.  Right now they are holding their usual territory, the fairly monotonous but chirpy song is delivered from the apex of the roof, with the tell tale gap between ridge tile and mortar forming an entrance hall to an untidy nest, no doubt.

Female House Sparrow (c.OOS)

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Spring Colours

Blue Tit (c.OOS)

There's still another day or so to go with the Garden Bird Survey: However, there's a real spring feeling in the air: birdsong no doubt triggered by the perceptible difference in the length of daylight and quality of light.

The garden has definitely woken from its winter rest, Hellebores have been in  flower for some time now, as has the Witch Hazel.  Best of all is the Cornelian Cherry, cornus mas, which has clouds of tiny yellow blossoms right now, the first good show from a few plants that went into the ground four years ago: worth the wait!

Cornelian Cherry (c.OOS

All together now!

The Blue Tits have appeared in great numbers, up to ten birds at a time, leading to a few squabbles and shows of territorial behaviour:.  Nestboxes are likely to be inspected, but there's plenty of time to feed up and get into the best condition for the breeding season.

A young Sika deer is showing a trust in us and browses the grass through the day and indeed, rests up in a corner where it is reasonably concealed.  Tameness might not be in its best interest, though theres no threat with us, it might need to show more wildness, if it wanders.

Young Sika deer rests up under a Larch. (c.OOS)