Birds in the snow

The recent cold snap brought a whole load of birds into the garden and out into the open.  The fat balls I put out in my new fat ball feeders that I have myself for Christmas were particularly popular.

In the garden I had a visit from one of the young moorhens, then he  brought a friend, and then an adult came in as well.  I had loads of blackbirds – the most I counted at once was 11, and it’s not that big a garden.  Long-tailed tits loved the fat balls, up to 8 on each feeder at once.  Blue, coal and great tits all came in as well as a solitary song thrush.  Robin, dunnock and wren continued to be prominent as well.  Goldfinch were hogging the seed feeder with more queuing in the tree, about 12 in the garden at a time, eventually getting the message to the greenfinch that have been strangely quiet up till now this winter.  A few chaffinch were also in but no siskin or brambling, not yet.  A pied wagtail came in and strutted about for most of one week, and a few black-headed gull came in and landed. I was surprised not to see a sparrowhawk, but also glad the birds weren’t being predated as they fed.

Outside the garden we had redwing daily on the crab apple tree and a kingfisher fishing on the side stream from the willow trees.  Goosander (5) joined the swans and cormorant (18) fishing in the river.  Out across the river on the open parkland were lots of moorhen digging in the snow, joined on one occasion by a snipe and on another by a woodcock. The two Egyptian geese that were around early went off to find somewhere more to their liking, as did the gulls.   Snipe and a green plover were in evidence at the side of the river on the other side of the bridge, as were heron and more goldfinch, redwing and robins.  I saw bullfinch and another woodcock in the woods around the fishing lake area.  The best spot of the month was a bittern in the marshy area of the Common, apparently there has been a great influx form the Continent.   It was great to see him quite close up but I’m sorry I disturbed him.

With the thaw things are returning to normal, but more bad weather is forecast and I’m running low on sunflower seeds, although well stocked with everything else including duck and swan food. 🙂

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