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!