Thursday, 26 January 2012

To Feed or to Sing?

27th January 2012.

The  very end of January and after an incredibly mild spell, we have a brief (?) change to cold winter temps., and some snow on high ground.

 So how have the birds reacted in my garden?  There's really welcome, spring thinking birdsong: Great Tit with a clear 'tee-chur, tee-chur' chime, metallic and echoed back from a contender, nearby.  Robins and of course Mistle and Song Thrushes have been singing for some weeks now.. no sign of any of the so called winter or Northern Thrushes though: Fieldfare and Redwings appear in early winter here and frequently after a harsh weather spell in northern Europe, and quickly move on:  but I assume they are well set up in winter quarters in the western half of Ireland.

 A female Bullfinch, duller plumage than male but still has distinctive white undertail & rump

 A nice male , feeding on Hawthorn buds

Male again, this time feeding on Bramble seeds

Less intent on singing, and pretty quiet and vocally subtle at the best of times, Bullfinches are regular visitors to the margins of the garden.. High hedgerows, with mixed species and plenty of shrub and field layer plants, (weeds to you), are very attractive to Bullfinches.  What they lack in vocal virtuosity they make up for in plumage.. Showy males with a lipstick shade and intensity of red breast, rich grey mantle, black cap, wings and tail and white undertail , wing bar and rump.. pretty striking.. 

They remind me of a greedy kid: most pictures I have of these birds show them off with a mouth full of seed or pulp,spilling on to its chin, no wonder they don't sing much!

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