Saturday 8 April 2017

Quiet feeders and spring arrivals

We've been rather blessed with the weather in recent weeks, so much so there is very little activity on the feeders as there seems to be plenty of natural food. Though this isn't good for business, it proves our point that the birds aren't lazy and will always prefer the food that mother nature provides when it is available. It is of course important to keep feeding all year round, however, as any sudden change in the weather can make things very difficult for our garden birds. Last year, for example, was a very poor breeding season for Blue Tits in particular. As they will almost exclusively only have one brood, the timing of the fledging coincided with a couple of weeks of rain, causing a steep decline in the survival rate of young birds. Recent ringing sessions here have highlighted the problem, with roughly 30% of new Blue Tits first year birds, whereas typically this percentage should be around 80%. Hopefully this year will be more successful.

This week has seen a change in the wind direction, bringing in even warmer weather from the south and possibly assisting summer migrants. Our first Swallow sighting of the season came yesterday, with up to 3 birds spotted on numerous occasions through the day. This is just over 2 weeks earlier than last year. I was also told the Cuckoo was heard down on the farm, so a quick stop off after work down Redlands Lane rewarded me with the welcome song of a male bird back for the summer. While down by the river there were plenty of Chiffchaffs singing too, plus our first Blackcap of the year, although I had heard the latter on the 31st March by Johns Cross.

Chiffchaff - 7th April

Outside the shop a pair of Robins have been nest building in the outhouse, the Pied Wagtails are prospecting under the ridge tiles down by the kitchen and the Jackdaws are building in the barn. The Starlings have been inspecting our recently relocated nest box on the side of the shop, though it's perhaps a bit too busy for their liking.

Pied Wagtail
News from the shop front: we have recently taken delivery of the long anticipated Opticron Traveller BGA ED binoculars. You can also read my Opticron Traveller BGA ED review.


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