So no real surprise then when a small band of chaffinches visiting early on this morning had this smart female brambling with them. I first spotted her in the cherry tree with about half a dozen chaffies then they all came down and fed on the ground. Ten minutes later they were gone and haven't been back since.
|Brambling (female) from earlier today|
Another visitor I was pleased to see was a greenfinch yesterday. Hardly a significant sighting you might think but it was to me, as over the last few years the finch disease avian trichomonosis has really taken its toll on this species locally. Just four years ago it was commonplace to get flocks of around a dozen greenfinches, chaffinches and goldfinches daily in the garden during the winter. Goldfinch numbers are still the same, chaffinches are reduced by about half as they are another species greatly affected by the disease, but greenfinches have been all but wiped out locally, yesterday's female only the third I can remember over the last twelve months! Reading statistics from 2010 we'd lost about half a million birds out of an estimated four million population, a significant proportion, may well be worse figures now.
The chaffinch with the gammy legs is still holding on, though for how much longer I don't know. Still fluttering from place to place he now rests on his belly on landing, legs must be very weak. Has a good appetite still though and flies off easily enough when the need arises.
Only other new bird on the feeding station today was a Jackdaw (my favourite corvid), touching down briefly to pinch a piece of apple, though I almost had a red kite on my garden list as one swooped in low past the kitchen window, no more than 8ft off the ground as it almost touched the point of the greenhouse roof with its flailing talons as it passed by. Gave me a bit of a start actually but a great 'wow' moment.
It's the RSPB garden bird count this weekend, had it been last weekend I probably would have had 4 goldies, 2 chaffies, 2 blackbirds, a robin and a dunnock. Now the birds have found the feeding station I'm hoping for a lot better, but its traditional for them to go missing on this weekend so it might still be about the same. Wait and see.