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Brisk weather and brisk business at the feeders

Thursday, 3rd December 2020

The days are definitely colder and there have been a couple of frosts in the past week and the last couple of days have been much colder, so activity at the bird feeders continues to be brisk.
The smaller birds have been flitting across from one of my holly bushes which now seems to be partially depleted of berries, into my cobnut and then onto the seed feeder. I’ve seen at least three blue tits in one group waiting a turn on the suet log but as they are flitting about it could possibly be more than that. It’s often amusing to watch the blue tits as they will land either in the cobnut waiting to go on the feeder or suet log or near the suet balls and squares, but they then sit for awhile looking from side to side, presumably for predators. This seems to go on though for a long time and often means that they hear or see something and then don’t actually feed at all. I think the coal tits do the same and I can see why they are being cautious, being small birds and brightly coloured, but you don’t see other small birds being so wary, although perhaps they come in little flocks rather than just in ones and twos. The robins have also been around as usual and arriving early and going late in the day.

The little flock of sparrows, which actually isn’t that small now, have been busy on the feeders and in my holly bushes, which I can see from various windows. I’m not sure what they have been doing though in the front garden as on a least three occasions now they have been climbing up my brick pillars which were built last year and pecking at the mortar. I wondered if they were taking salt from it but hanging vertically on a brick pillar is generally a case of any perch will do.
 
Brisk weather and brisk business at the feeders

I have at least one pair of collared doves which I have referred to before and they appear at various times of the day, but usually early and late. I imagine the pair have gone their separate ways for part of the day, as one normally arrives and waits for the second to appear towards dusk. That might mean waiting in my wild cherry, on the roof of the bird table or on the top of the lamppost outside the house, so I guess any perch will do. My picture this week shows one of the collared doves sharing the feeder with the sparrows.

Among the other early arrivals in the garden are the blackbirds who I see often first thing when it’s not properly light and they also stay later in the day as I’ve mentioned before, but this morning when it still wasn’t really light, being a dull start and still early, there was a magpie hopping about picking up the remains of the food which I put out yesterday afternoon.

The feral pigeons are continuing to come both to my bird table and feeders but also to the neighbour across the road and I think they signal from my roof to the other and vice versa to come for food. Most of the time though the numbers are still lower than they had been earlier in the year so I don’t know whether that’s because they have two sources of food close at hand or whether they’re feeding elsewhere. A few weeks ago somebody was working in my garden and a big group of pigeons had been feeding at my bird table in the afternoon and then flew off in the direction of the town, prompting me to say that perhaps they’ve gone for junk food scraps for their dinner in the town.

I’ve not seen any sight of my more unusual visitors this week such as the long-tailed tits or the woodpecker but there was a large group of seagulls attempting to land in a garden near mine, but I’m not sure that they ever got around to setting their feet on the ground. The jackdaws are still coming in a group at certain points of the day and the starlings too. At the weekend I counted 40 starlings on the feeders and the lawn, so there are still plenty of goings on in the garden.

Margaret Emerson

Armchair Naturalist 3rd December 2020

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