Saturday, February 13, 2010

Puzzle Time

Out of the house in darkness my first bird this morning was a Tawny Owl that hooted from tall trees a few gardens away. I know they nest nearby every year but it’s a bit problematical looking up trees in other folk’s gardens in the morning, early evening or during the night. There was no need to defrost the car, and although it was cold and the gauge read 0 degrees C, it felt much colder in the trickle of a northerly.

I just hate driving in the half morning light when Blackbirds insist on crossing the road ahead, playing chicken in my headlights; too many near misses for comfort. But I arrived without mishap at Will’s before dawn in time for us to put up a few nets in the hope of repeating the catches of recent weeks.

It wasn’t quite to be, less finches this week, but an agreeable session nonetheless with birds totalling:

Chaffinch 11
Siskin1
Goldfinch 2
Great Tit 2
Blue Tit 4
Dunnock 2
Robin 3
Coal Tit 2
Treecreeper 1
Nuthatch 1
Blackbird 7
House Sparrow 1

After so many Siskin in evidence last week to catch just a single bird today when lots were about midweek was a little mysterious, but this morning the birds simply weren’t there, with just a single first winter male caught. Likewise the Chaffinch, with their numbers similarly lower, with perhaps less than 50 using the garden this morning. Elaborating on the blog’s Goldfinch theme of recent days I can say with certainty that the two caught today were both females.

If only catching birds were as simple or predictable as our supposed human superiority tells us it should be! These birds certainly keep us on our metaphorical toes whilst we put on imaginary thinking caps, devising new net places, keeping out of sight and staying quiet, whilst they outwit us more than we like to admit.

Against the odds and up against the cleverness of the local House Sparrows we did catch a single bird that seemingly blundered into the net in the half light, no doubt to the merriment of wiser fellow spadgers that watched from the feeders next to us. It gave a ringing tick to Ian, as did the Treecreeper we caught.

Six new Blackbirds, 5 of them males, was a little surprising given the intensity of the feeding in the recent weeks of cold weather and the likelihood of experienced local Blackbirds remaining more or less in situ; just another little difficulty that birds like to pose. No doubts however over an adult male with a carrot coloured bill.

Adult Male Blackbird


1st Winter Male Siskin


Adult Female Goldfinch


House Sparrow


Other birds seen this morning included Kestrel, several Greenfinch, 3 Collared Dove, 2 Nuthatch (we caught the male this week), 7 Wood Pigeon, 1 Grey Wagtail and a Sparrowhawk that flies through and hunts in the garden most days but defied the well set nets yet again.

4 comments:

Errol said...

I'd call that a decent catch for a garden; wouldn't go amiss at our park site! Stay happy.

T and S said...

Beautiful bird images, the last one is the best fo me...Thomas

Kelly said...

...your photography is amazing. I love that header and the female goldfinch just melts my heart. I totally understand about looking up into other people's trees at dusk and dawn. I also have binoculars on my windowsills and spotting scope looking in my living room. I always worry people think I'm spying--of course, most people know I'm looking at the birds in my yard, but... :-)

E said...

Your photos are awesome, very lovely, great clarity. Love them. Congrats, Mari

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