I think it is fair to say that people as well as birds have been fed up by the strong winds, low temperatures and rain over the past few weeks, all of which have held back Spring. On some of the very windy and showery days the birds were more limited in number in the garden, probably because they found it too difficult to land and sit safely in a tree or on my roof, but a few persevered nonetheless.
On the really wet days they tended to leave the garden earlier in the evening as of course it became darker sooner, so they headed for their night-time roosts. In the last day or so the weather has been a bit drier and promises now to be warmer going into the coming weekend and the birds have been putting in more of an appearance again, so welcome back feathered friends.
The young starlings have been coming en masse and the other afternoon I counted 28 sitting on the roofs next door and the television aerials. A number of those then came into my garden to take natural food on the lawn or from the feeders, as well as having group bathing sessions in the bird bath saucer. The parent birds are still in evidence but now are tending to keep a back seat. I have two pairs of blackbirds visiting the garden, one pair tending to favour the back of the garden and the other pair the side and front. One of the female birds looks a bit ruffled so I assume she has been sitting on eggs recently and that is why I’ve not seen her about as much.
The feral pigeons are still coming in number and I generally have 2 to 4 wood pigeons at various parts of the day. They tend to be around first thing having some food then disappear and appear again late afternoon or early evening in a tree or sitting on my fence, as I’ve shown in pictures in previous blogs. They tend to stay late and one was in the garden at 8:45 pm earlier this week, as of course we are approaching the longest day, even if the weather doesn’t seem like it. I have had jackdaws and magpies in the garden and the single crow has been coming from time to time, usually meaning a quick scatter of all the other birds in the garden. It seems to take a distinct dislike to one of the magpies and chases it from the garden and sits menacingly on the fence to keep it away. The collared doves are coming most days usually just as a pair now.
It was a welcome back to a couple of other visitors during this past week, one being the goldfinches who have been coming either in singles or pairs and pecking around for seeds and aphids. They are occasional visitors really but it was nice to see them again and perhaps they’ll bring some youngsters too. The flock of sparrows and dunnocks have also been busy looking for aphids on my plants, not that I’ve really seen many so far this year. Another occasional visitor who has put in a couple of appearances this week is the greater spotted woodpecker and although I didn’t manage to get a picture of it on it’s first visit, when it arrived the next day it stayed around for longer, climbing up the trunk of the dead tree I hang most of my feeders in before going on the suet balls and peanuts and so features in my picture. I’m sure that it will put in another appearance over the coming days and weeks, but it’s certainly nice to see him or her in the garden again.
I can’t finish without also mentioning the robins who are still about and busy particularly when I put out mealworms. I mentioned before that they come to look around when I’m working in the garden, a well known habit, and then uncovering worms and other bugs. Last week despite having a handyman in who was sawing wood for shelving out in the garden, one robin was hopping about where he was working and in the end I scattered some mealworms on the ground for it to come and take and these were eaten over the coming hour or so. My workman mentioned that it even hopped into my shed at one point.