Sunday, 3 January 2010

Last of the Christmas bird.

The Christmas turkey this year (or should it be last) was a big bird. It was also a delicious free range bird (thanks to Jim at Forstal Farm, West Langdon). The carcass, when the final meat is carved from it, then goes through an almost ritual boil up to produce the final feed, this time for the birds.

This year, unusually the Herring Gull on lookout duty seemed to me the event. This meant that once the mix had been spread around the garden the Crows were to of the list. At one time there were four Carrion Crows, filling their crops as fast as possible. One I recognised as a regular in the garden, as it has nice pale crescents round the primaries.

Magpies weren't far behind. I always love how the iridescence of their wings shines blue in the sunshine.

Even the Blackbirds and Starlings had a good prod amongst the bones, but there was very little left for them after the corvids had done their clean up duties.

It was cold last night, and this Blue Tit stood on the bird bath as if reminding me to get some water out there. I fact there is a little fountain nest to it that remains unfrozen unless it gets extremely cold. However this prompted me to do job that I've been putting off. The pump in the top pond needed cleaning out as the water was no longer flowing.

Did I mention it was cold. The water was xxxxxx cold.My fingers were absolutely numb when I'd finished. But it does bring it's rewards. Almost straight away a Wren was climbing about, showing that it could do the splits before dropping down for a drink.

Sparrows have been few and far between in the garden of late, but one thing they do seem to enjoy is a splash around in the pools in the waterfall. Almost as soon as it was running two appeared, as id they'd been waiting.

While we watched Starling coming down for their ablutions, Pam asked why they don't hypothermia in the freezing water. I gave the standard answer, that they have to preen to keep their feathers in good condition to stop them getting cold, as they act as their isolation. Well that's OK, but why don't they get hypothermia when they get wet doing it?

A few people have mentioned that Greenfinches have been in lower numbers this winter. I have to say that every available feeding station was occupied this afternoon, mainly be Greenfinches, so they don't seen to be in low numbers here. I have noticed that where you get Greenfinches and Goldfinches feeding next to each other there is almost always a clash, and despite being the smaller bird the Goldfinches are usually the first aggressors.

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