Monday, 13 January 2014

Charming . . .

Been a slow start to the year watching-wise.
First day out since New Year's Day yesterday, a morning tour of the local sites with the Birdman et al. Everywhere was fairly quiet really, pick of the bunch were three Pink-feet in a flock of 100+ Greylags in fields near Lamesley, and a Common Seal seen swimming up-Tyne from Timber Beach.

The cold weather does nothing to encourage me to go out in the winter, and as I don't year-list or keep lists in general (life and garden are the only two) there's no motivation. Last year I did the Centurion list to keep me interested (100 species in 100 days) but something like that takes over your life so I'm not bothering this year.

Even the garden has been poor this winter probably due to the relatively mild season and abundance of natural food still. I had a single seed-feeder hanging from a shrub in the back garden for nine weeks before it was emptied, in the most part by a single Robin, which claimed it as his own and beat off anything which tried to use it (which wasn't much).
In fact the only birds I saw on the feeder during that period were four goldfinches (twice) a blue tit and a coal tit. All of which received a battering from the robin, in fact even a couple of blackbirds also received the same treatment and they were only pecking the ground near the feeder.

So in the new year I treated myself to a feeding station, and stocked it with sunflower hearts, peanuts, raisins, a coconut fat-ball thing and some water.

sunflower hearts,peanuts, fat-mix, water and raisins.
What more could a hungry bird want?

A whole week went by with just the bolshy Robin as a customer, but all change this morning as just after first light the feeder was awash with colour and activity as a charm of twelve Goldfinches came in for breakfast. The robin turned up in aggressive mood as usual but after a couple of melees gave in as each time he chased a couple off, more took their place.
A pair of chaffinches came in also, a dunnock, the two regular blackbirds, a single male house sparrow and finally a wood-pigeon, polishing off the fallen scraps.

Some of the colourful 'charm' of goldies
tuck in to some sunflower hearts . . .

. . . while others wait their turn from atop the cherry tree.
So at last a bit of activity in the garden, hope for more of the same tomorrow as it's a bit of entertainment while I make the kids lunch-boxes up.

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