My other half is a bird ringer, and he is trapping and ringing birds which come to our bird feeders in the garden. Ringing birds and then re-catching them helps us to understand what is happening to birds in the places they live and how this affects population increases and decreases. It also gives information on the movements individual birds make and how long they live for. I used to be a ringer too, and although I no longer have a permit, I still help out.
We catch blue tits, great tits, coal tits, robins, thrushes, chaffinches, greenfinches, and a few others. Below are a few of my favourites, starting with the goldfinch. We catch a lot of these!
We catch a fair few siskin, a delicate little bird that is rarely seen in most gardens, but will come in to feeders in the middle of winter.
Nuthatches come in occasionally, grab a seed and fly straight off, so you have to be quick to see them on the feeders.
Occasionally a sparrowhawk will swoop through the garden, and all the birds scarper immediately! And last week, the male just happened to swoop straight into our net, which is a first for this garden. Isn’t he super?
Every day we fill the eight bird feeders, and there is a frenzy of activity for the next few hours. The favourite food of most of the birds is the sunflower hearts, and the two feeders containing this get completely emptied every day.
Above are a greenfinch and a goldfinch stuffing themselves. They will sit there for many minutes feeding constantly. The little blue tit on the left is more cautious, and will dart in, take a piece, and fly away to eat it in the bushes. The great tits and coal tits are the same. Chaffinches will occasionally come onto the feeders, but spend most of their time mooching around underneath eating the bits that have dropped, along with the pheasants.
The chap on the right is a siskin, smaller than the greenfinch behind, with a little black forehead. We didn’t get these visiting our previous garden in Hertfordshire, so it is a treat to watch them.
That’s him again on the right. The goldfinches are the prettiest, though, with their red and white heads. As you can see from the video below, it is a bit of a frenzy when they are all hungry!
The weather continues to be a bit damp and dull, albeit very mild, so we haven’t yet taken much time out from getting straight to go out and explore the countryside. We have been sorting out, and trying to get ready for Christmas, and doing a bit in the garden when the weather allows.
The garden is a absolute delight. Let me show you where we are.
You can just see the cream end wall of our house to the right. The red line shows the approximate area of the garden. We do have neighbours, but they are to the right of the house. The rest of our surroundings is just countryside, and we love it! The garden is full of birds, and they are loving our feeders. We will need to buy a lot of birdseed at the rate they are eating it. I must get some better photos of the frenzy! There are only 4 goldfinches in this photo – we have had up to ten!
I bought some winter bedding the other day, and had a potting up session. Our inherited summerhouse is now my potting shed, as the shed by the house is too small.
I have used the flowers to brighten up the sunken garden. Sounds grand, doesn’t it? It’s not! The house is built into the slope of the garden, so outside the bedroom and bathroom windows (downstairs, remember?) is a narrow walkway, with the view being of the fern-covered dry stone wall behind. I think it is lovely, but I did think some pots would add interest.
Eventually I will plant all sorts of little alpines into the cracks in the wall. Another project for the very long list!