Margaret sescribes a new visitor in her garden

That’s not quite right

In my blog last week I mentioned that I had a new bird in the garden and I assumed it was a fieldfare. Upon further investigation I have decided that’s not quite right, in fact not right at all, as I now believe it is a redwing as I used a pair of binoculars when I saw it return.

When I first saw the bird it was very bedraggled as it was one of the really wet days and I didn’t notice some red feathers on its wing through a rain splattered window. Since last week not only have I seen one redwing but up to three at a time on a number of occasions and between them they have been stripping the yellow berries from a distinct species of holly and helping themselves to the traditional red holly berries from the bush behind my greenhouse, which has not been touched much so far.

My picture this week shows them in a cherry tree waiting to go on the holly but sadly in silhouette. The other birds such as blackbirds and wood pigeons have already taken most of the berries from the holly by my shed, which is close to where I hang the seed feeder and suet log in the cobnut and so is an easy commute as it were! I’ve certainly not seen redwings in the garden before and hope that they will now be frequent visitors and that they will be in the Big Garden Birdwatch count this weekend.

The weather at the moment is alternating between mild and often damp or wet, with cold and bright days in between with hard overnight frosts. That has brought a little bit of amusement to the garden as the feral pigeons don’t quite know what to make of the bird bath when it has ice floating in it after I have broken the ice in the morning, or, it just has a small hole to take the water from. One the other day ran over to it, took a look as much to say ‘That’s not quite right’ and ‘I’m not going to take a bath in that’.

Activity has been fairly brisk the past week with a pair of blackbirds still coming, a number of robins, some starlings who seem to be coming a little bit more again to the suet feeders, blue tits, great tits and a coal tit on the suet log, a wren, sparrows, jackdaws, wood pigeons, normally three in number, collared doves normally two or four at a time, along with the feral pigeons and of course my new redwing arrivals. The pigeon numbers still seem to be lower than they have been for some time although I am seeing some of the familiar faces as it were, but I wonder whether there is something that is putting them off or the crows and seagulls are too much for comfort, as I still see some flying around. While out for a neighbourhood walk this morning there were several seagulls on the grassy recreation ground in the area marked out as a football pitch. They looked as if they could be lining up for kick-off but that’s not quite right!

The birds are definitely staying later in the day now and on a bright afternoon this past week there were a few left in the garden at the bird table well past 4 o’clock and knowing that, I’m starting to put the food out at slightly later times. The blackbirds of course and the robins stay much later anyway and can often be seen in the garden on the brightest days when it’s almost completely dusk. A good mix of food is still provided from suet balls, squares and logs in different locations especially for the starlings and smaller birds, a peanut feeder which is also shared by the squirrel, a seed feeder with tray and then there is other food put either in the bird table or a small amount on the ground. I certainly think the birds are always on the lookout round and about even if you don’t actually see them. The other morning I put out a few scraps of cooked chicken and the blackbird soon appeared, darted amongst the other birds, took a piece and went off and the jackdaws have been doing the same.

Written by Margaret Emerson

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