Sunday, 20 February 2011

Garden finches

The 'real birding' has yet again failed to materialise this weekend, so like the birds I have been foraging for scraps in the garden. Luckily the scraps were definitely worth feasting on – a nice healthy selection of finches at the feeders. The hide has been a very successful, if somewhat unconventional, piece of suburban garden furniture. I'm not quite sure what the neighbours think of it!...

First up, one of at least nine Bramblings that have been drawn in to the baited area. I hope that some of the males hang around for a few more weeks so that they have a chance to wear away those pale fringes to their head and mantle feathers.

After a very slow start, the niger feeder has been increasing in popularity. Only a single Goldfinch has visited as yet, but with at least three others in the area I am hoping it is only a matter of time before the whole charm descends.
Lesser Redpolls are the most frequent niger feeders. At least three have been on the feeder at any one time, with another six or so on the ground beneath. No sign this weekend of last week's Mealy Redpolls. They clearly do not realise that I set up the hide for them!

The Lesser Redpolls seem to be pretty regular now and one of the males has taken to singing from the birch tree. Not quite full song-flighting, but a good start for February. Here he sorting out his tail feathers in between bouts of singing. This undertail is at the pale end of the spectrum for this form, but Lesser Redpoll he is.

Another species that has been feeding in the garden this weekend is the Siskin. Just this individual so far, but with another dozen or so in the trees nearby, surely it is only a matter of time before there are swarms of them on the feeders.

Finally, the Chaffinch, a species that has kept a remarkably low profile this weekend. Here is male and female photographed yesterday by the youngest in the family - well done!

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