Haith's Armchair naturalist Margaret has a new visitor in her garden

A new visitor

The past week has seen the usual mix of birds coming to the garden and I think that either supplies of food in the countryside are starting to dwindle or the birds are thinking ahead to spring and are starting to gather ready for the breeding season.

I’m regularly seeing a male and female blackbird in the garden and the other day the woodpecker made a return visit. I think I have misidentified the woodpecker in previous blogs, as I think it’s a greater spotted woodpecker and not the lesser by its size. He or she will hopefully forgive me for downsizing them!

My new visitor this week and the first time I have ever seen one, so I hope I’ve correctly identified it, was a field fare. The bird landed in the apple tree in the part of my garden at the side of the house, so not an area I am watching much during the day, and was sitting there for several minutes. I thought initially it was a thrush, which I do sometimes get in the garden, but the markings on the chest weren’t right, more small stripes rather than spots. Unfortunately, the picture I took from the bedroom window which was rain covered and using my phone, was too poor to add to this blog. The bird was about the size of a large starling or thrush and had distinctive creamy white lines on the side of its head and up over its eyes, a speckled chest and brown body. Initially looking it up online I thought it might be a red start but I didn’t notice any red colouration at all.

The feral pigeons seem to be coming between my bird table, the neighbours and I think another supply of food close by as although there are a number flying around and sitting on various roof tops, the quantity in my particular garden seems to be less than it has been on some other occasions, even when it’s been colder. I’m still seeing some of the regulars and as I’m writing this the pigeon I called white wing has just arrived at the peanut feeder and he’s trying to take some peanuts from inside, but the level I think has dropped a little bit too low, courtesy of a squirrel, which probably means it’s time for hour or so before dusk top up of food. There are a lot of seagulls again to report this week flying around and the jackdaws are still coming mostly as a quartet.

I am having visits from starlings but not as many as I have been over recent weeks, so I hope that hope that the flock is still fit and healthy. The sparrows have been hopping about in the holly bush outside one of my windows and coming to the feeder, but even they seem to have been slightly less in number in the last week or so. Other small birds who are still coming include the blue tits and great tits and they are making good use of the suet log and I seem to have at least three robins coming regularly into the garden.

I’ve seen several wood pigeons this week as well and at least two pairs of collared doves so I’m hoping that all these will still be around for the RSPB bird watch in a week or so. My picture this week is of a wood pigeon helping itself to the ivy berries growing on the ivy in the cobnut tree. He or she was having to really reach down to eat the berries, but there are plenty there so I’m sure other birds will also avail themselves of the opportunity.

Written by Margaret Emerson

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