Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Open for business

It's mid-December, relatively mild in this fen-edge village, though there can be a sharp wind round your ankles some days. I have lots of feeders up: sunflower hearts, mixed finch seed, red millet, peanuts, fatballs, and an occasional spread of porridge oatflakes on the two bird tables.
So far feeding has been quiet, with birds appearing in quantity only on the colder mornings. Usually a couple of Great Tits, three-four Blue Tits, an occasional flurry of Longtailed Tits, but rarely more than four. Regular too, but in two and threes mostly: Dunnock, Chaffinch, Starling, Blackbird, Woodpigeon. There is a small flock of a dozen or so House Sparrows regular on the feeders nearest the hedge, where clearly they feel safe from the marauding Sparrowhawk. Goldfinches, usually no more than six-eight are regular too. Real splashes of colour are provided by regular single Green Woodpeckers and Great-spotted Woodpecker, the latter coming in both male and female guise.
Everything else is still out there in the hedgerows or on the fen, presumably because there's still plenty of food about. I like to watch the passing flocks of Black-headed Gulls over the field below mine, and sometimes a flurry of a dozen or so Common Gulls. It's fun too to watch and listen to the Jackdaws, which always manage to look like scraps of charred black paper scattering from a bonfire as they tumble past.
I guess it will be a few weeks before I can lure the more unusual species back into my garden: Tree Sparrow, Reed Bunting, Yellowhammer and, more remotely, Lesser Redpoll, Siskin and Brambling. If we get snow, I will clear a nice green area on the lawn (usually by putting a huge tarpaulin out the night when the snow is forecast and then removing it after snowfall) and strew it with apples. That's sure to bring the thrushes in: Blackbirds mostly, with a Fieldfare and a Redwing or two and, increasingly rare these days, a Song Thrush.
One species I miss is the Wren: hardly ever see one these days, must have had a poor breeding season. Or it's had a better offer....

1 comment:

Mike and Ann said...

We get most of those here (although it's been a while since we've seen a green woodpecker, or a great spotted one). Got wrens, siskins regularly in April, gold finches in plenty, green finches, and there seems to have been an increase in tree sparrows this year; and we're on the edge of a small town!