Wednesday 17 December 2014

Latest sightings

On the 9th December we had our first Treecreeper sighting in months, briefly visiting the trees around the car park.

The Grey Wagtail is still visiting most days, as with any sighting it just depends on whether you're out there at the same time as the bird! The Pied Wagtails have taken to visiting under the feeders outside the shop now, obviously insectivorous food is becoming harder to come by. Already this December we have had more frosts than the entire of last year's warm and wet winter.

The Nature Area is chock-a-block with finches - Chaff-Green-Gold all regular and in good numbers. Still just the one sighting of a Brambling over there and no Siskins still! Hopefully the latter will turn up late winter as they normally do and then hang around well in to the breeding season, bringing the young in as they have in the past. Blue Tits and Great Tits are aplenty too, with the Coal Tit now also an almost ever present feeder.

We are seeing less Redwings and Mistle Thrushes now, it seems most of the yew, hawthorn and holly berries have been depleted so they have moved on to find another food source. The Blackbirds are quite happy to pick up scraps from under the feeders though, one particular ringed male (as mentioned in the last blog post) is often outside the shop and has come close enough for me to get clear pictures of the ring number (CT18189). We have now had info back from the ringer on this bird, first caught as an adult on the 1st March 2012, which means he's doing pretty well!

There is now only 8 days until Christmas and things are pretty busy in the shop! Suet Pellets seem to be the pick of the crop at the minute and of course Sunflower Hearts are (excuse the pun) flying out. 163 bags delivered last Wednesday and there's 89 left now...

Binoculars have done well again, though nothing quite like last year! There's still time though, we're open until 5pm Christmas eve, and even taking online orders up to Monday 22nd as Royal Mail are guaranteeing Christmas eve deliveries for items posted on the 23rd. You can visit our online shop here:

Friday 5 December 2014

Robins and Blackbirds

 TN32 Weather December 2014

It's fair to say early December is colder than it was last year, though perhaps not as cold as 2012. With day time temperatures around 6° and night time now reaching freezing, many more birds are visiting the feeders, or, as is often the case with the Robins and Blackbirds, picking up the scraps underneath. They are certainly good numbers of both of them too, though things can get a little heated as competition for food increases.

The Robins are singing to declare their territory and often chase one another away. There are at least 3 regulars in the Nature Area at the minute.

Signing Robin

A very common question throughout the late summer/autumn months is 'where have all the Blackbirds gone' as they find plenty of natural food. Then our resident birds are joined by European migrants, shorter days arrive, colder weather draws in and all of a sudden, spotting 4 or 5 Blackbirds in your garden together at once is not all that uncommon. Though they can get on, I have seen very aggressive fights before and it's not unheard of for two to fight to the death. Ours have pretty well depleted the Hawthorn of its berries and have now moved on to the holly berries. One male in particular is visiting under the feeders outside the shop regularly, notable for his ring. I have contacted our ringer with the number so will post more info on him when it comes back to me!

Ringed Blackbird

The Mistle Thrushes are in good numbers again this winter, stripping the yew trees of their berries (though technically, as with holly and hawthorn too, they're not actually berries [link]). The Starlings are also gathering in numbers and do pop down on to the feeders occasionally. I love watching their antics as two fight over one feeder when there's plenty of space for both to get on there. I think they are a much overlooked bird and their varying, iridescent plumage throughout the year is much more attractive than they are given credit for. Only today did I notice the lovely bronze colour of the spots on top of their heads!

There's now less than 3 weeks until Christmas so that's not a lot of time for shopping! Our winter sale on binoculars is on until then, so grab a bargain while you can: