Sunday, 5 February 2012

A mainly White and Black day

The overnight snow, which managed to form a two foot drift around my car made me shelve plans for a trip out. Instead I spent my time ensuring there was food and water in the garden and watching the coming and goings.

There were plenty of Blue Tits around, and for a while these two even suppressed there aggressive and fed side by side just outside the window.

A couple of Robins were around, occasionally making brief forays to the seed feeders, without ever looking comfortable doing it.

The biggest surprise was a male Blackcap. I haven't seen one at all this winter but this one popped in twice. It sat for a long time above a hole in the snow that gave access to the water in the little stream that circulates from the pond. It seemed reluctant to go any father and one of the Blue Tits watched on impatiently.

The Blue Tit came down for a closer look, but this didn't seem to encourage the Blackcap to take any action.

As if to demonstrate what was needed the Blue Tit, in a quite un-British way, queue jumped and nipped in for a quick drink in front of the visitor.

He wasn't down there for long and soon reappeared, had a quick shake and then flew off, probably back to the food.

That seemed to have done the trick, and the Blackcap. learning from the Blue Tits actions went down for a quick drink.

Two Pied Wagtails have been daintily trotting round the garden, picking up tiny morsels dropped to the ground by birds on the feeders above them.

Still lots of Blackbirds around, although the last lot of apples, or what remained of them are now under six inches of snow.

After there seemed to be predominately males in the blackbird "flock" today there seemed to be an increase in the number of females around. I have no idea if there is any separation in their normal feeding habits, but I think it unlikely.

I boiled up a load of vegetable peelings, spuds, carrot, parsnip etc and put them out on the lawn. I brought quite a lot of gulls down at first, although they didn't seem that enthused when they found out what it was. There were a few Common Gulls and Black-headed Gulls, as well as the customary Herring Gulls.

They may not be the most popular of urban birds, but against the snow background this adult Herring Gull looks quite splendid.

I'm not sure if junior cuts quite such a handsome swagger though. Given that there are other gulls in the area these three species were a bit disappointing.

There's been a Blackbird with a white collar around got a while, but it's the first time I've seem this one. It's got a few blotches on the head and shoulders and some very noticeable white outer primaries. It makes it easy to follow his activities.

Here he is doing a bit of water divining at the pond.

I saw just one cock Sparrow today, but no female.

And only one Collared dove came down to drink today. There's an annoying flock of feral Pigeons that like to spend time in the garden, perhaps the Collared Doves prefer to stay away from their noisy relatives.

There were just a few Starlings around today, one did manage to spend some time clicking and whistling in it's normal entertaining way.


Wendy said...

I too saw a blackcap in my garden the same day - perhaps the same one? He'll find far more food with you, Tony, than he will here!

Wellsy said...

Hi Tony
That looks remarkablylike the spotty Blackbird also seen in my garden

Tony Morris said...

Wendy, it is possibe, but which Wendy and which garden?

Tony Morris said...

Hi Peter,
It's possible, I don't know how far they arange at the moment. I'm getting about 20 round the garden, including another with a white collar.

Anonymous said...

It's Wendy (artist and publisher of eBooks), about 4 doors up the road! And the Blackcap was back again yesterday.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tony

Down at Brown Cottage we had a female Bullfinch for a while and a Snipe or possibly Woodcock flew in under the hedge and stayed poking around for the day. We have a Robin down here with distinctive white primaries too.


Tony Morris said...

Hi Fergus, I've only seen Bullfinch in the garden twice, and that was a while ago! The other bird was almost certainly a Woodcock. There are always big cold weather movements and this years no exception. I know that the chap who watches Margate Cemetery had over 40! Never had one in my garden, and I've walked round checking under the bushes every day since the freeze came! How's your road in this weather?

Anonymous said...

The road has been iced up for days. I'm parked up the hill but some brave souls keep passing by on what is well-packed ice. I got the shovel out today and broke some of it up as the temperature rose.