Monday, 27 May 2013

Food for Young

Song Thrush with food for young (c.OOS)

There's an urgency about the garden now: Blackbirds, Robins, Dunnocks and Song Thrushes are feeding with intent, usually retiring quickly once a beak full of worms or similar is amassed.  The brood of Robins in our open fronted nest box have departed, and I have had  a few juvenile Song thrushes around the house: one unfortunately collided with a window, same thing happened last year too.  No Swallows returned to nest, so far anyway, though two or three occasionally fly by.  The word in the office here is that numbers of migrant birds appear to be down, though there's time yet.  I hope to cover a couple of CBS squares this week, late visits, a chance to test the theories, first hand. Early visits done five weeks ago, when it was, well, cold and quiet!

Red Kite patrols after the plough (c.OOS)

Its great to report that while watching all those garden birds raiding the worms and invertebrates from the lawn and borders, out just beyond in the field currently being ploughed for late crop potatoes.. a Red Kite, at least three times the body size of a Song Thrush, and a wing span off that scale, it is basically pursuing the same prey with great agility and presents a few close views.. this bird is 'labelled' 12, 12 on blue and white wing tags..

Just clears the garden shed ! (c.OOS)

We still have activity around the bird feeders: Amazingly, after a winter when I couldn't attract a Redpoll to the feeders,  a couple turned up in early May.. very welcome visitors, along with Goldfinches and Siskins, they are from the more nomadic end of the spectrum and I suspect the natural food supply in the birch and conifer woods is late in coming, though they undoubtedly will breed there.  The nice bonus of late Redpolls is that they are in bright summer dress: rosy pink fronts and rump, to complement the red 'poll' or crown!

Redpoll (c.OOS)

Friday, 10 May 2013

Blackbirds and White Blossoms

After such a slow start to spring, we finally have a spurt of growth and some flowers in the garden.  The first screaming Swifts were back in Rathdrum a week ago, 5 birds careering low over the main street.  Nesting is in earnest now with a Robin sitting tight in an open fronted nestbox on an ivy covered Hawthorn tree and Blue Tits building in a new box, replacing one that literally fell apart.

Snowy Mespilus: before the wind got it! (c.OOS)
After a lawn mowing session, (an unfortunate side effect of fresh growth in the garden) I watched two male Blackbirds forage for worms, in relatively close proximity.  This went fine for a short while. I reckon the ready availability of prey after mowing allows the Blackbirds territorial guard to drop somewhat, despite the likelihood of both birds having females on nests nearby.

Keeping an eye on prey and a competitor (c.OOS)

However the bird with the tail up is agitated and comes closer to investigate, retaining its alert posture before loosing patience and chasing off the unwelcome 'intruder'.

Getting closer! (c.OOS)
Its not surprising that the Blackbirds cross each others paths: we had up to 15 birds through winter and many of these seemed to remain around the garden to breed: the afternoon and evening song of Blackbirds echos around, surely one of the most pleasant experiences at this time of the year.

That's close enough, be off! (c.OOS)