Sunday, 4 March 2018

Post 482 - A surprising Spring brings beautiful birds.

Snowdrops poking through the snow
Hey everyone. Post 482 today and I thought I'd write up a few things I've noticed recently. I was quite surprised to hear that it was the first meteorological day of spring on the 1st of March. It was also surprising to see how much snow we had, it feels like mid winter rather than almost Spring! Whilst the bad weather stopped us going very far it was still interesting to see what has been happening around the garden.

Witch Hazel flowers hanging under the snow
One of the first things I noticed was how some of the plants around the garden were adapted to cope with the snow. It hadn't occurred to me before that they would be but then I don't think we've had snow like this for quite a while. The shapes of the Snowdrops looks to have helped them to not get weighed down by snow settling on them, that they are designed to poke through the snow. I also noticed how the Witch-hazel has all of its flowers arranged so that the snow collects above them. I don't know if it's insects or the wind that pollinates this plant but either way the flowers are exposed even after the heavy snow.

We always feed our birds and we have a nice garden selection, though we get less finches than we think we ought to. A neighbour has a big field with quite a large pond in it so it's not unusual to see big flocks of Greylags and Canada Geese flying over our house. I've also got Cormorant on my garden list thanks to the neighbours pond. It's not often I get to add new birds to this list.

When the snow came we stepped up the feeding and worked hard to keep the bird bath from freezing so our feathered visitors  had plenty of food and water. The extra food plus the bad weather has meant my garden list has grown by three in the space of a week.

My favourite new garden list addition - Treecreeper
The first new bird I was surprised to see was a Tree-creeper. It was a lovely bird to see in the garden. Normally when I see them they are a lot more distant working their way up a tree in a wood somewhere. To have one on the bird table a few feet from the window was amazing as I could see its wonderful intricate plumage which I'd never really seen that close up before. After its first visit I hoped it would be a garden regular and while I've not seen it every day it has been back a few times now snacking on the fat balls.

Long-tailed Tits feeding up!
I've also had some Long Tailed Tits in the garden. Like the Tree-creeper they've been enjoying the suet. They only came back to the garden lately, they weren't around when I did the Big Garden Birdwatch, but they've been around quite a bit since and before it snowed I noticed they had been collecting nesting material. I thought these little birds must have it the worst of my garden birds in this weather being such small delicate looking creatures. Another surprise was to find out the Tree-creeper probably has a harder time as the Long Tails have seen it off the feeders a few times. It has snuck back when they've finished to top up on food though.

Fieldfare on the bird table - the apple bait worked!
Over the week Dad's been going to and from work and has been coming back with sightings of Redwings and Fieldfares in the village so we've been putting down apples to encourage them in and give them a good feed. It's paid off. A couple of Fieldfares have spent a day or two in the garden, seeing off Blackbirds at first, but quite happy to feed next to Starlings. As time went on they were a bit more tolerant of the Blackbirds so I guess they're not so hungry. Today was the first time they've not been around but the snow is melting well now so I wonder if they've found food elsewhere.

This Redwing appreciated them too.
Mum's been keeping her eye out too and it was down to her sharp eyes that we now also have a Redwing on our garden list. It's only been in once that we know of but it stayed long enough to have a good feed and to let Mum get a few photos to mark the occasion.

Blue Tits are claiming their boxes!
I hope the weather is improving now. While I've enjoyed seeing these birds I know they are probably only coming to gardens as they're short of food elsewhere. It's close to mating season for birds too and they'll need lots of food and energy. My Blue Tits seem to think Spring isn't far away though. They've been eyeing up one of our nest boxes for a few days and today we saw them popping in and out of it! Fingers crossed they know the weather is set to improve.

Hope you enjoyed,