Monday, 1 February 2016

Winter garden birds 2015/2016

1 of 25 splendid Yellowhammers that come daily to feed on scattered seed on the lawn

We could have had more had our local Sparrowhawk not caught one..

This winter we've had Mealy Redpolls visiting the feeders since November. Numbers have peaked
at 16 and just occasionally there's a stunning male such as this.
Starlings in the garden, and there is still a healthy number in the Shadoxhurst village area.
I've just put a new nesting box up for them in the front garden.
Perhaps our new house extension work from 2015 has scared off our House Sparrows as we're just down to 2 birds at the moment.

Winter 2015/2016 has seen anything up to 14 Blue Tits on the feeders but in contrast  never more than  2 Great Tits are there.

2015 seemed a bumper year for Blue Tits judging by the high numbers now on the peanut feeders. They're now in their
finest breeding plumage.
There's always a couple of Coal Tits either on the feeders or they're up in the Pine tree foraging.

There are hundreds of Wood Pigeons around the village this winter many, like this one, coming into our garden.
Surveying birds in our rural garden last Sunday morning, the highlight had to be the 25 plus Yellowhammer flock that continues to return every winter. We have been feeding scattered seed on the lawn for about 15 years now and the Yellowhammer flock number seems pretty stable. The birds will only disperse in late April to breed, so there aren't many months when we don't see them. Another bird visting the garden and increasing in number is the Jackdaw. In the field behind the garden there might be up to 50 birds searching through the mud and horse dung and its not unusual to see up to 8 at a time drop into the garden.

It's not all good news though as one bird that seems to have dropped in number dramatically and yet used to be common is the House Sparrow. With just 2 birds present on Sunday, that's a big drop off from what we can normally expect to see - (should be dozens). In previous years we've had a sizable flock of Sparrows, perhaps up to 100 birds, roosting in the garden so hopefully the fall in number is just temporary. Our one male House Sparrow bird spends most of its time outside its favoured nest box in the front garden. From there you can also hear a lot more House Sparrows in the vicinity. I can only conclude someone is supplying them with a better quality bird seed than me, and that they've got wise to the flight path of our local Sparrowhawk and keeping out the garden.

So winter birds recorded on Sunday, included 25 Yellowhammers, 28 Chaffinches, 1 Greenfinch, 1 Sparrowhawk, 6 Pheasant, 5 Collared Doves, 2 Stock Doves, 1 Song Thrush, 12 Wood pigeon, 7 Jackdaw, 2 Magpies, 17 Feral Doves, 2 House Sparrows, 1 Song Thrush, 2 Blackbirds, 12 Blue Tits, 1 Coal Tit, 2 Robin, 3 Redpolls, 1 Moorhen, 2 Dunnock, 1 Wren, 2 Goldcrest, 2 Mistle Thrush singing in the vicinity, GS Woodpecker drumming and a flyover, 1 Greenwoodecker, 2 Herring Gulls, 20  Black Headed Gulls, 2 Common Gulls and 21 Mallard in the field behind. In the village surrounds, a newly arrived flock of 300+ Fieldfare plus the odd Redwing and 20 Starlings. Tawny and Little Owl were close by in the evenings.