Sunday, October 28, 2007

Nice birdy visitors

Maybe it's just because I've been watching more, but my garden seems to have had more avian visitors than usual recently.

A couple of pairs of greenfinches have been coming to the feeders for peanuts, and I've occasionally seen goldfinches too. Usually all I see is blackbirds, sparrows, starlings, robins, collared doves, wood pigeons, crows, rooks, jackdaws and dunnocks. Not the most exciting of garden lists really.

Tuesday I heard a little cheepy sound I didn't recognise, so I grabbed the bins and had a look outside, to find a female pheasant at the top of a bush.

Friday saw a passing flock of about 20 long-tailed tits (hardly ever see them in the garden) stop briefly at my feeding station - one or two of them had a brief peck at the peanuts as well.

Then I noticed a group of about 8 blackbirds feeding on the fallen apples in the orchard, one of which looked rather pale. A closer look revealed it as a song thrush (another bird I rarely see).

And one that had gone, a tiny goldcrest flitted around the biggest apple tree for a good 10 minutes before I lost sight of it. Such a lovely little bird.

Saturday lunchtime we had a somewhat more flashy visitor, this gorgeous great spotted woodpecker. We had a couple of GSW visits earlier this year, but I haven't seen one since. I hope it becomes a regular - it seemed to be jamming bits of peanut into the bark of the tree, so hopefully it'll be back to claim them later.

And today I glanced out of the window and just happened to look twice at something I thought for a second was a collared dove. But it was brownish, and had a hooked beak, and the tail was wrong. I only saw it for perhaps a minute before it flew off, and Michael managed a quick picture of it. I reckon it was a male sparrowhawk, despite looking brownish (could have been the bad light). It didn't have the "moustache" face markings of a kestrel, and I got the impression of it being orangey underneath when it flew away. And rounded wings.

The black-headed gulls are back for the winter now too. They fly over a lot as my house is on their way from the old village green, where they tend to congregate, to the fishing lake at Holmebrook Valley Park. They make me smile, daft noisy squabbling creatures, but somehow still graceful and beautiful.


  1. Lovely Anna, you certainly are getting a wide variety now, lovely to see a Pheasant! I doubt I shall get my annual visit from the LTTs this year - they used to come for about half an hour to feed on the hawthorn berries, but the tree was cut down in the spring when they did all my bank. They never seem to be interested in any of the stuff I have out. :(

  2. LTTs don't seem to hang around here much, forever on the move looking for insects I guess.

    I see them quite often when I'm walking Summer, and strangely enough I've seen loads in Sheffield (actually it's not that strange, cos Sheffield's full of parks and trees). Just very rarely in the garden, I suppose they prefer insects anyway.

    Now I know the calls they make, I hear them all the time and then I can look out for them!

    That tawny owl's still my best visitor I think!