Archive for January, 2014

January 28, 2014

Sparrowhawks and other birds

28 January 2014

Those of you in the UK will know it’s been the Big Garden Birdwatch this last weekend, when many thousands of people record the birds in their garden for an hour. You will also know that the weather has been dreadful: not cold, but wet, wet, wet. It’s not only we humans who find the rain hard going: on Sunday, about noon, I looked out the window to see this:

Sparrowhawk holding out his wings to dry

Sparrowhawk holding out his wings to dry

He appeared to be using the feeble sunshine to try and dry his wings out, giving me a lovely view of those feathers and talons. I didn’t dare go out into the conservatory to take the photo, for fear of disturbing him, so this is through two layers of glass. I wondered if he was doing his own garden birdwatch, deciding what he fancied for lunch…

I did the Big Garden Birdwatch that afternoon. I lurked down the far end of the garden for a while, which was unusually unproductive: I heard one blackbird and saw a couple of jackdaws, though I was interested to see one of them was collecting nesting material. I then put out a bit of extra birdfood and settled down with the binoculars and a cup of tea in the conservatory – it could be said I’m a bit of a fair-weather bird watcher. My final count was:

  • Chaffinch – 13
  • Blackbird – 2
  • House sparrow – 5
  • Blue Tit – 3
  • Dunnock – 2
  • Starling – 2
  • Great Tit – 2
  • Goldfinch – 3
  • Collared Dove – 3
  • Pigeon (I need to check what type) – 1
  • Jackdaw – 4
  • Robin – 1

The numbers of starlings and sparrows was disappointingly low, as we often see 20+ of each, but they go around in flocks, so you either get a lot or very few.

And finally, a flower picture, though it may have a bird-related theme.

A pale pink flower on a daphne bholua 'Jacquline Postill"

A flower on a daphne bholua ‘Jacquline Postill”

Those black edges aren’t a camera fault, by the way – I’ve just discovered that Adobe Lightroom has a vignetting tool, so I thought I’d try it out on you. All the flowers on the bush are low down, just as they were last year. Higher up I have to wonder if some birds (bullfinches?) have pecked the flower buds out, as there is a surprising lack of bloom. Oh well, I like sharing my garden with wildlife, so I guess I’ll have to share my daphne too.

Make 2014 the year you share your garden with wildlife.