The very warm February weather has certainly had an effect on the birds in the garden, a touch of spring fever.
I noticed this Starling turning over the sticks in the garden. I actually appeared be breaking off bits of a length that suited it.
However it didn't seem too sure what it was going to do with them. I had expected it to fly up to a gap in the roof where they normally nest, but instead it kept choosing a piece, walking round with it and then putting it down. I didn't see it take any of to a nest site. As there were several Starlings in the area I wondered it this was a quick demonstration of it DIY shopping ability, done to impress a prospective partner.
A small party of Long-tailed Tits came through the garden. These can be quite early nesters, though I suspect not this early. We do have a couple of bushy clumps in the garden that could be suitable for them to nest in, but so far no luck. The nearest pair I've seen was a couple of years ago in a garden in Chapel Lane.
These aggressive chaps have definitely increased in number in the last couple of days, and although I'm sure the majority will be migrants so do stay and breed in the area. I noticed that there were at least two singing in the garden to day. In fact the garden was full of bird song, this morning I could here Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blue Tit, Great Tit and Song Thrush. Despite there still be a good number round the area I didn't hear the sweet tones of a Blackbird, perhaps they are too busy fattening up at the moment. A female Blackcap visited the pond, so if the male is still around they could be in a prime place for an early start.
The male Chaffinches are beginning to look quite smart and this one was singing from just by the house.
After a few completely blank night my mothing year finally started. I have caught just four moths so far. three of them Pale Brindled Beauties. As you can see from the picture above this name would test the trades description act if challenged!
The Oak Beauty, above has a lot more going for it, with quite an interesting pattern. Looking at other peoples mothing blogs I'm off to a relatively quiet and late start here. It always seem to be the case that early in the season I struggle to persuade anything to visit my moth traps.