This is a mostly photo post this week, inspired by my blogging friend Fraggle Rocking who wrote a lovely post with fantastic photos about her bird table this week (she has Bullfinches!). I have been taking a lot of photos of my wee birds lately as there have been a lot of chicks about and also because I have had some new and exotic visitors in the form of a family of Goldfinches and I can’t get enough of them. They are like Irish Parrots.
I have bird table outside the door on which I have a shelter in the form of an old subwoofer. There is a tiled ‘balcony’ on top of it (an old blue tile) and a dish of water. and there is a feeder filled with nyger seed hanging from the table. I put the bird balls in another feeder hanging close to my window. To the left of my front door is a low wall and ‘the hedge’ which is where my crew launch from, and where the parents leave the chicks and where they all go to ‘hide’ when I come out the door. Some times they hop up and down the branches cleaning their beaks or pecking for insects.
The Chaffinches have been the great stalwarts of the bird table this year. Mr and Mrs. Finchy strike me as being quite upper middle class, the kind of couple who stop after one child because the Missus nerves aren’t up to more. They produced a chick a few months back and then spent the rest of the time avoiding it. There has since been at least one other chick and I think it may be their grand child. I noticed the Mammy was giving it more attention than the previous chick received and wondered if she was compensating for the lack of care in her own childhood. The little one would wait on the wall for her to finish at the bird table and then start wobbling sweetly from one leg to another as she approached. It was really cute to see. But after a day the Mammy got fed up and started avoiding it as her parents had done too.
Now there are two to three Chaffinches and Mr. Chaffinch, who had been missing, has Made a reappearance, hopping about in his red waistcoat reasserting himself. He even got into a brawl with a swallow on the ground outside the door a few days back but I wasn’t quick enough with the camera to record it. Anyway, with all that excess energy there may be more chicks on the way…
I ran out of bird balls a while back and the Sparrows disappeared. When I got some more this week they magically reappeared. They are the bohemians of the hedge, flying around in a ragged group, trailing chicks that shiver their little wings for food at anyone they come across. They tried to inveigle the finches during the week but didn’t have much luck there. They tend to be able to look after themselves but try it on whenever they can. The Dads seem to be involved as the Mams. In the last day there has been one sparrow Dad trailing a chick back and forth to the feeder and I have watched a sparrow Dad herding the kids back into the hedge while the Mammy was quite relaxed about them. I caught two of them ‘at it’ this week in the hedge. The ‘girl’ looking a lot less enthusiastic than her lover it has to be said…
The Great Tits come and go. There was a Great Tit chick a month ago and he was as cute as cute could be. Mostly he was just with the one parent. Then after a short while he disappeared. I thought maybe the cat had got him but this week a Great Tit has reappeared and he still seems to have some yellow fluff on his cheeks so it might be the same chick. They seem quite independent, like the Robins, who have their chick and then leave it to its own device. They are fast too. Darting to the table and then away, unlike the Blue Tits, who are also fast but who are also cheekier and tend to stay on the table. They are fast to figure out where the food is too. I had put some seed in a nesting pod for the little birds but none of them found it. The Great Tit found it was soon as it reappeared.RobinsThere is usually a Robin in the hedge. Of all the birds the Robins seem to demonstrate individual personalities. Some are cheeky, some more wary, some thoughtful, some combative. This year the Robin was quite aloof. Then, in the spring, a mate arrived. They were comically averse to being in a ‘relationship’ though so I only got one or two shots of them together. Then they became scarce. It was only this week that I got a brief glimpse of the offspring as it hopped onto the wall the check out the commotion. It wasn’t at all impressed and after a few outraged cheeps, disappeared again.
I have been spending far too much time watching my Goldfinches. They arrived about two weeks ago and I was thrilled. They were attracted by a feeder I had filled with nyger seed months ago on the advice of my neighbour Chris. The Goldfinch couple, more than any of the other types pf birds, seemed to be very attached and would spend all their time together on the feeder, swinging back and forth. The ate constantly. Last week I found out why when they brought two chicks to the hedge.They have been around all this week though it seemed one of the chicks had disappeared to be replaced by an adult. Maybe that chick was older and the adult feathers came through faster, I am not sure. Or maybe a cat got one of the chicks and the other is from a previous nesting. Anyway they strike me as the perfect nuclear family, exotic, elegant, the parents very much in love, the children cute as can be. They are the kind of family that make you sick when you see them on Facebook (or Twitter)…
And Maurice, the Collared Dove. He comes, he goes. Sometimes he brings the Missus, sometimes not. He reminds me of a retired Colonel as he marches about with his head wobbling and sometimes I think I can hear a De Sousa March playing when I see him.Beyond the Bird Table..In the last week I have spotted buzzards as I have driven about and I have also seen this male kestrel a few times. There are chicks everywhere and this young Stonechat posed long enough for a few photos as I walked near a cliff edge. Another Stonechat struggled to eat a butterfly as the hedge below her cheeped and squeaked with the sounds of her family.The swallows are everywhere. I used to think they could only land or perch above ground but last year they would wander around the drive way. This year there has been one fascinated by the wall near my front door, maybe there are insects there. I didn’t catch a shot of him but here’s one looking thoughtful on the fence.And last of all I came across this tiny ball of fluff cheeping and hopping and dangling in a thorn tree. Not sure what he is but a Tree Pipit came to mind…if anyone knows comment below…UPDATE:Thanks to Stripman for identifying it as a Goldcrest. The first I have seen.