This morning we carried out the big garden bird watch. Well more accurately your father carried out the bird watch whilst I enjoyed edited highlights.
(I have had my paper accepted for publication. The proofs came through on Thursday and had to be returned within three days. Consequently I spent this morning carefully checking the text and figures for errors and we posted the corrections back before midday.)
As you know we have been putting out mixed seed, fat balls, Niger seed, meal worms and sometimes fruit. We lay this on the ground as well as on the feeders. This has encouraged both more species to visit the garden in addition to greater numbers of each species. The ground feeding birds have particularly enjoyed our generosity.
Six wood pigeons have taken up residence around the garden waiting for free hand outs.
Whilst a pair of collared doves fed on the seed feeders balancing precariously on the platform.
As a result of all the free food on the path we had five blackbirds in the garden at once. The territorial rules have apparently been suspended in the quest for food. A flock of nine goldfinches landed on the feeders and proceeded to feed. Over the course of the hour there was not a moment when there were not goldfinches on the Niger seed. However, since the dramatic decline in the numbers of Greenfinches a few years ago, we rarely see these birds in the garden.
The chaffinches are prospering and we had seven of these on the seeds. They appear to prefer to feed on the ground, and, since we have spread seed on the path, the numbers of these birds has increased.
Likewise the pair of Dunnocks and the house sparrows have taken to visiting the garden daily.
The fat balls were host to a pair of blue tits and a pair of great tits. These birds also search the current bushes and roses looking for invertebrates to scoff. A wren was searching these bushes this morning. A magpie watched from the damson tree at the bottom of the garden.
A few days ago a coal tit was seen on the currant bushes, today it was on the apple tree. We have also seen the odd Goldcrest on the bushes.
Unfortunately the over-wintering male Blackcap did not visit during the alloted hour.
With so many of these birds in pairs I suspect that various species are already pairing up ready for the breeding season. So one hour 12 species and good numbers of most of them. The only usual ones absent this morning were the robin, the goldcrest, the coal tit and the blackcap.
Most of the photos are from either the wikipedia website or the RSPB and many thanks for these.