Monday, 5 February 2018

Feb 2018 ...and a Very Wet Winter

My last post was almost three months ago!
I could put this down to the ‘where does the time go?’ age-thing or to my familiar wrestle with Google when I have been locked out of my blog..... again, probably an age-thing... or perhaps because I’ve been very busy or been away, and I can’t clearly remember if either of those are true.

But, for better or worse, I’m back on line and I’ll try to keep up.

There is an icy blast blowing today and snow is forecast for tomorrow but at least that will make a change from the seemingly endless rain of this winter; I can’t remember a duller or wetter one. All the rivers have been over their banks and into the fields but the floods are receding at the moment.
But it’s been pretty mild and this has had an effect on our winter birds. I’ve seen a very few fieldfares or redwings and just a handful of bramblings since my last post, and not a single siskin although some have been reported in the department.
My bird feeders have attracted the usual hordes of blue and great tits, house sparrows, greenfinches, goldfinches and chaffinches but only the occasional hawfinch or brambling so times can not have been too hard. A great spotted woodpecker is another regular visitor and a sparrowhawk’s ambush causes panic from time to time. A chiffchaff has been around the garden all winter but I have seen no sign of any blackcaps.
It’s always interesting to watch the different feeding strategies of the birds which come for food. The tits hang on to the fat balls as do the sparrows but the finches, robins and dunnocks often settle underneath and feed off the bits that fall down. The moorhens which come up from the pond adopt the latter technique, of course, and all these ground feeders seem to largely accept each other’s company. Not so with the sunflower seed feeders! Here there is constant warfare and the most aggressive bird seems to be the sharp billed goldfinch who likes it’s all to himself. Blue tits can be surprisingly assertive, however, and often hold their own against their bigger rivals. The tits take a seed away to break into it as do the woodpeckers but the finches break the seed open in situ, a much more effective tactic.
Away from the garden I have little of note to report other than some small flocks of cattle egret and three red kites way back in November but perhaps the most delightful thing has been the regular singing of mistle thrushes since mid January and even the occasional burst of blackbird song when a warm sun has made an occasional appearance.

PS    A very belated reply to a comment on my November post about migrating cranes; no, I have not seen any sign of the nearby wind turbines causing a problem for migrating birds. I can see the potential problem especially at night and when the blades are rotating rapidly but up to now the birds seem to be avoiding them perhaps because they usually fly at much higher altitudes.


  1. At least 30 storks on the Tardoire flood plain at St Angeau this afternoon. Also a small flock of gulls (too far away to be certain of species) and a beautiful male Hen Harrier.

    We can add at least 4 individual Hawfinches and a couple of Coal Tits to your bird feeder list.