We are having a storm here but it is quite a nice storm with strong warm winds. Warm makes all the difference. It has been blowing all night and so I found myself sitting outside at four o’clock this morning enjoying the wind buffeting the trees.
I am kicking off with birds today and perhaps the weather will brighten up in a bit. I have seen some beautiful birds this year.
Unlike the butterflies I don’t have to say goodbye to the birds. A couple of lightweights have gone south, fair enough but winter is a wonderful time for watching birds.
Here are a few birds that have featured here this summer.
The Great Spotted Woodpecker.
Sizewise it is about as “great” as a starling. Quite a small bird but it has wonderful presence. The female turned up about a month before the male and made herself at home.
She was on the feeder every time that I looked out of the window.
Eventually the male started visiting us too.
Great Spotted Woodpeckers don’t really eat peanuts. As a species they are totally dependant on dead wood habitat and the insects that live therein.
The juveniles visited us for a few weeks but their arrival signalled the end of the visits. They have been missing from the garden for the last couple of months.
Meanwhile… out on the waters edge…
Mandarin ducks nest high in trees often in old woodpecker holes. Once hatched the chicks have to leap out of the nest and plummet thirty or forty feet to the ground because they are ducks not woodpeckers. They are very light and survive the fall. It is a spectacle that I would really like to video.
This is a Red Legged Partridge, an introduced species. Introduced for the shooting they are quite common here. My bedroom overlooks fields and I can actually lie in bed and watch these birds through my window but I still have to get out of bed to get decent pictures. No situation is perfect 🙂
Goldfinches played a major role in our summer. My new landlord’s favourite bird, he had never had them in the garden. They love sunflower hearts and I filled the garden with them.
Goldfinches were not the only birds breeding here. The one that got the most blog space was the Barn Swallow. There are lots of swallow nestling videos on this blog but for me the best bit was when they first arrived.
They are supposed to mate for life. Some of the birds are just finding their mate. Some of them are reuniting. They fuss over each other so much. It is lovely to watch.
It would do no good telling me that birds are not capable of emotions. They greet each other with all the excitement of a puppy meeting it’s owner. I have also seen them mourn when they have lost a brood. These are very emotional birds.
Throughout the summer we had all manner of new arrivals, too many to show them all here.
Blackbirds raised a brood in a tractor.
Despite a very wet start to the year the Blue Tits were also very successful.
Blue Tits have a large brood and all of that feeding can leave mum feeling a little bit frazzled.
(This bird is actually just moulting, perfectly healthy and happy, or it might be a Zombie Blue Tit, they do happen, I think 🙂 )
The bird that had the greatest success was the House Sparrow. They can have several broods in a year and our birds had a constant supply of food this summer, they made the most of it.
There are dozens of them and they have been moving around the farm in small flocks. So much so that I was beginning to worry that I was upsetting the balance of nature… Until today that is…
I filled the feeders up three days ago and they haven’t been touched, something is wrong.
This Sparrowhawk has visited the garden a couple of times this year. He hasn’t stayed very long and hasn’t caused any big problems. It is nice to see him.
I saw him or another just like him this morning. Now he is in his full adult plumage and looks quite beautiful. (no photos yet)
To have had any impact on my Sparrow hordes he must have taken up residence or more likely his presence is just keeping the birds away from the feeders. Today I am on Sparrowhawk watch.