Friday, 4 January 2013

A New Year, new beginning, peace and quiet?

The New Year has been exceptionally mild: it has coaxed a few garden birds into song: Mistle Thrush and Song Thrush, the latter not in full glory by any means, but making a start!  Others heard, include Dunnock, Robin, Wren and a snatch or two from a Great Tit.. there is even a perceptible 'add on' of maybe 15 minutes pre-dusk..Today  I recorded a party of Long tailed Tits (4) and a fly over of 11 Mistle Thrushes, all rushing off to roost this evening at 4.30 or so.

Male Siskin (c. Shay Connolly)

The bird feeders continue to remain busy: new for me this week is the appearance of a couple of Siskins: As reported last spring on the blog, they are late winter visitors to us, no doubt preferring to remain in the conifer plantations as long as there is seed available to them.  They are a welcome sight, there acrobatics on the nut feeders an addition to the steady file of ranks of Coal and Blue Tits.

Walking around the garden boundary works well for us: you would nearly always disturb a Dunnock or a Wren, ones that wont be seen around feeders unless it gets extremely cold.  

An added bonus was the tell tale mewing of Buzzards.. We regularly see three birds, loosely vying for position in the space above the plantation and Oak woodland.. They glide effortlessly across the sky, movement almost imperceptible to the eye, the crying call charts their progress as I assume a pair gently moves a competing singleton to the boundary of the territory, restoring peace and quiet again.  

A lone Kite makes its way along the hedgerow, a bit more casual and laid back, I think it may be looking to find a mate and set up territory in the Oak wood.

Red Kite (c. John Fox)

 Far more urgent, and a daily visitor to the feeders is a Sparrowhawk which arrives at full speed, tilt and drift into the Willow tree and making one lunge for a Coal Tit or Chaffinch.. Invariably this is unsuccessful and almost without braking flight the bird drops and glides through a big oval gap in the hedgerow before disappearing into an area of wet Birch and Willow.  The Sparrowhawk actually landed today, directly above the feeder.. A fine adult male, its fly past always results in the release of a frenzied array of specially held alarm calls from the other garden birds, and then all is quiet for just a few minutes as the feeders are emptied of all visitors.

Male Sparrowhawk (c. John  Fox)

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