Monday, January 30

Results!

Well it seems that this year the birds couldn't resist visiting the bistro even though it was the RSPB bird count.

Most of the usual clientele turned up and some unexpected ones.

Starlings often have a bad press - they're not the most polite diners but their dinner jackets glow in the sunshine!
The feathers seem to change colour depending on how the light catches them - this is called iridescence. Apparently the word comes from the Greek word for rainbow. If you  look below at the starling's breast feather you can see why!
The starlings make short work of the fatty coconuts and often a bit of a squabble ensues.
While I was busy with the stills camera, Martyn caught them on the video he posted on his blog

So what turned up?
4 blackbirds - they eyed one another up but seemed to tolerate each other's presence which won't last.
1 wood pigeon - no problem with them in the garden but they make short work of brassicas and are less welcome on the plot
8 starlings -they've even learned how to cling to the feeders even though with feet like theirs they shouldn't be able to.
8 goldfinches - our record number is 18 but this fell well short
12 sparrows - probably more than this really but they are not easy to count especially scattered all over the garden and constantly on the move!
2 dunnocks - so easily overlooked and counted as sparrows
2 blue tits - they even looked to be checking out nest boxes 
1 magpie - another bird with iridescent feathers
2 collared doves - they tend to always arrive in pairs
1 robin - cheekily looking in through the window at us.
1 chaffinch - a female again easily mistaken for a sparrow
1 coal tit generally just a flying visit - it doesn't hang around
1 great tit - we usually have more
1 bullfinch - a female delicately pecking at the mahonia flowers - she didn't devastate them so I wondered whether she was looking for nectar - hope she and her mate don't find our peach blossom - if we have any this year that is.

And then something that surprised us and the rest of the birds:
1 sparrowhawk which looped under our magnolia tree at top speed and fortunately for the other birds missed catching a meal - it did manage to put an end to our counting though!

22 comments:

  1. That's a good list. We get sparrowhawks in the gardens round here, though I haven't ever seen one in my garden. I did see the remains of a meal that one of them caught on next door's lawn though. Have you been to the bird garden at Lotherton Hall? They have Superb Starlings there, their feathers are amazing.

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    1. I have been to Lotherton although a while ago.
      We have had the sparrowhawk a few times and it's landed a few times too. Once right outside of our window where it proceeded to pluck its unfortunate victim. We too some photos and videohere

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  2. Well it sounds like you had a wonderful day birdwatching. I king of think it's a little unfair that you only get to watch for one hour...I don't see how this can give a true count of the area...but I guess they thinkit works and I am not the expert. A lovely selection you had arrive to dine with you!!

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  3. I agree, Tanya that it seems restrictive basing everything on an hour as it also depends which hour you choose - we definitely have lots of birds at certain times of the day and far fewer at other times so you have to choose your 'best' time. Saturday as well was sunny and so seems to bring the birds more - I don't really know why! Maybe the RSPB feel just pinpointing an hour is less likely to put people off doing it!

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  4. Nice count, and lovely starling photos too.

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  5. It's a shame starlings have such a bad press BW I know they make short work of some of the food but they have to eat as much as the rest

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  6. That's very long list of birds! Amazing!
    The starlings really have a rainbow colour!

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    1. I'm always surprised when people living in our country say our birds are al brown and boring, Malar, when this is far from the truth

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  7. That's a good amount of birds you have in the garden! Some great photos too. I did my count over a really rainy hour so maybe that affected my results as last year I counted much more birds.

    You apples (in one of your last posts) look great. What a super result! And to think I'm buying apples every week in the shops.

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    1. Mmm weather can affect results considerably Kelli so it maybe did affect your results!

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  8. That sounds like a great day. Sorry to lower the tone but I found a stralings head in the garden the other day. I'm presuming it was a cat - we don't have one but I'm sure there are some in the neighbourhood. I can't think of anything else that would be capable of it unless a rat could???

    I particularly like Robins we have native yellow and red robins at mum & dads - unfortunately all the cats in the cities mean there are none left here anymore.

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    1. What a gruesome find Liz - if it had been a different way round i.e. a body with no head I would have suggested it was attacked by a bird of prey as they sometimes just eat the brain which is supposed to be very nutritious!

      I love our robins too - It's amazing how different countries have the same name for different birds. Maybe we should have a post where we have a British, Australian and American robin etc to compare I guess other countries have robins too!

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  9. Great list of visitors

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    1. Hi John, I popped to have a look at your blog but I see you are only just starting - I'll try remember to pop back later - you may need to remind me when you get going!

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  10. It really fun watching what kind of bird visit other gardens from different region.

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    1. It is Diana - I hadn't realised until I started blogging that what some people call a robin is not what I think.

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  11. Wow, wish I'd seen a Sparrowhawk at close quarters like that! I didn't participate in the event due to other commitments, but I've been doing some bird-watching of my own on my drives to and from Bristol this week. Today I saw some rooks mobbing a Buzzard, and there are always lots of Kestrels hovering by the verges. We are beginning to see Red Kites around our way too now. They were introduced near High Wycombe some years ago and the population has grown enormously, so they have had to move further afield.

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    1. Did you see the photo on my webpage, Mark here In the photo halfway down you should be able to make out the leading on our window - the photo was taken through one of the diamonds with the hawk staring straight at us. It was less than a metre away!

      They released red kites at the Harewood estate close to use but they haven't strayed our way yet or if they have I haven't seen any.

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  12. Putting a hole through a halved coconut and tying it to a tree is a new one for me. Next time I'm at the grocery store, I'll get a coconut and try it. Whether or not the birds can jackhammer frozen coconut at 10degrees F, is a thought. Perhaps next month when it's up to 20F (I hope!)

    Christine B. in Alaska, no birds, no coconuts

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    1. Although birds are supposed to like to peck at fresh coconut Christine, ours have never been keen. The half coconut in the photo is an empty shell that has been filled with a fat mix. see here

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  13. That's great footage of the Sparrowhawk, so close too. It's no wonder the damage they do to their prey with a beak like that. We get lots of Red Kites round here, my son saw one on his way home from school last week.

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  14. That's an impressive count Sue. I am rather a fan of starlings, I like the chatter and general air of scruffiness, which as you say, hides beautiful plumage.

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