Saturday, 23 January 2016

Garden birding

Birdlife in the garden has settled down now. Blackbirds number between 9 and 15 each day and have stopped bickering amongst themselves. I put out apples each day but it is two Fieldfares that eat these and one can be quite aggressive towards the Blackbirds who seem now to prefer eating the hearts of sunflower seeds which I put in one of the feeders but fall to the ground. House and Tree Sparrows number about 15 each and a single Robin comes every day. Finches are in small numbers with up to nine Siskins, the occasional Common Redpoll and once a Lesser Redpoll and every now and again two Greenfinches, a species which has gone from being one of the commonest a couple of years ago to a rare sight today.

Tits are at their lowest ever numbers after a disastrous breeding season. In previous winters there would always be multiple Blue and Great Tits to see every time I looked out of the window. This year they just pop in. There are up to five Blue Tits and a max of only two Great Tits. Judging by feathers on the ground over the last week a Blue and a Great Tit have both fallen victim to (presumably) a Sparrowhawk and today I witnessed. The demise of a Blackbird at the talons of a 2cy female Sparrowhawk. A shame for the tits and Blackbird that have demised but I have seen few Sparrowhawks this winter and guess that their survival rate has also been low with so few tits to prey on.

Two Magpies and the occasional Crow devour bread when I put it out but a rare sight this morning was three Herring Gulls that vacuumed up everything in less than a minute.

the brown plumage and large size (compared to Blackbird) show this to be a 2cy female Sparrowhawk (spurvehauk)

Herring Gulls (gråmåke) making short work of the bread I put out

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