Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Bred Sparrows

Last Friday evening courtesy of Sunderland Airshow I had a close encounter with the Red Arrows, which flew close, low and fast past our front window in two formation groups of four and five planes en route to the aforementioned event. A cracking garden tick in anyone's book, and best views I've had of this annual spectacle.

But back to the point of the post, every day for a while now the low-pitch chirps of tree sparrows can be heard through the kitchen window though rarely can I spot the perpetrators, apart from last week when the black garden ants (lasius niger)   swarmed in the tropical heat of Monday and Tuesday, resulting in a feast for many a local bird, especially the house martins, which circled around just below roof height (we live in a bungalow) and snatched any winged royal which attempted the nuptial flight (and there were many). The two tree sparrows and a robin though, preferred to scoop them up at ground level :

One of two tree sparrows eyeing up the feast

Looks like a face-plant but just scooping ants out of a crack

How many ants can a robin shove in its beak ?

the object(s) of their attention

A few days earlier, a blackbird had enjoyed an ant-bath in the very same spot, they didn't half take some casualties over the two days :

sitting on one of the nest entrances ensures a good covering

don't miss a single feather

don't forget the armpits

finish with a snack, ants on the menu again

But yesterday morning I was out in the garden and spotted one of the tree sparrows on a neighbours roof, which was then joined by a second, so a presumed pair. But then the second bird flew down to the nest box on the neighbours wall, and the chirruping from the box immediately drew my attention to the fact they've bred there, and I hadn't even noticed!

First tree spug chirping from the rooftop

second tree spug arrives with a mouthful

looks like he/she's about to alight again 

Wow! down to the nestbox - why didn't I see that coming ?

And yes there's a little tree spug beak coming to meet it

Would ya believe it, I didn't even know the box was being used :-/
wonder how many are in there, the noise emanating suggests more than just the one

If that wasn't good enough news, later the same morning I noted a flock of 20+ house sparrows flitting around the side hedge and feasting on the young berries, by far the biggest 'squadron' seen all year, boosted by at least 16 youngsters. Great to see :-)

An army of young house spugs, lovely sight

As I said, really great to see so many youngsters as the house sparrow population locally has been in decline over the years I've been here, whereas the reverse is true of the tree sparrows, which  seem to be thriving all over the borough as well as locally.

Happy days :-)


1 comment:

  1. The missus HATES ANTS with a vengeance.We had them infesting the fireplace many years ago & i couldn't get rid of them until i replaced it and sealed up the opening. As ant flying day nears she gets twitchy & goes shopping for the powder, this starts about May !!! That Blackbird was a bit ungrateful i thought eating its previous cleaners !! Great to see both Sparrow breeds are doing well. It's amazing how well Tree Sparrows seem to be flourishing !!! When i first started birding 10 years or so ago the only place guaranteed to see Tree Sparrows was Big was quite famous for it. They are doing really well all the way up the coast from Cresswell to Hauxley, numbers have grown steadily for the last 5 years.Not so sure about the dear old Spuggie. We have a good number, about 80, between us & our neighbour and they have thrived in the last few years. Some great "action" shots Alan.