Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Dish of the day

This morning we were greeted with a frosted garden once more although it didn’t feel too cold. I do love to see a winter garden. It looks almost asleep on mornings like today but as soon as the birds descended towards the feeders it didn’t stay sleepy for long! That’s not at all unusual on cold days as the birds need the energy of the food to keep them warm. What was interesting about today was how popular a new seed mix was.

Gourmet robin blend it read on the small 1.5kg bag which I picked up at a large well known supermarket over the weekend. I failed to get a large bag of sunflower hearts at the pet shop as they were out of stock so I took the smaller bag. When I saw the robin mix I thought it would supplement the sunflower hearts which are by far the most popular food with my visiting garden birds. I had no expectations with this mix. I have been disappointed with a number of good quality seed mixes in the past including one by a well known presenter of bird and nature programmes.

I scattered the seed mix on the ground under and around my small domed Acer tree yesterday. If no other birds were interested in it I was fairly confident the blackbirds would be more than happy with it. Oh yes and they were!

Patience is often required when new feeders are put up or new food added to existing ones. It sometimes takes a few weeks for the birds to show interest and even then it may be only a few at the start. In time word does get around and the feeders will get many visiting birds. What a difference a day made in this case!

The robins often visit the small feeder tray that rests in my Acer tree so I decided to put some mix in it. The bag stated that this mix was ‘Formulated for Robins and other ground feeding birds’.

It also listed a selection of birds that would eat this mix. Yes, today I did see dunnocks, chaffinches and house sparrows join the robins and blackbirds in large numbers running around the ground eating the seed. However there was one bird that wasn’t listed that kept coming, back, back and back again to eat at the feeder.

The female blackcap, which is now a regular to to my garden, was seen really enjoying this seed mix for robins. It even dined with the robin at one point until the blackbirds came jumping through the branches and squeezed under to eat from this feeder too. The blackcap never went far away. She would sit on the branches above waiting for the blackbird to go. I couldn’t believe how popular this dish of the day was!

Luckily, as the chaffinches were all feeding on the ground this left the hanging feeders with sunflower hearts free for all the other finches. Many Siskins and goldfinches came and a few greenfinches too. I also noticed four blue tits and a great tit. Thankfully I saw no sign of the Sparrowhawk which was very surprising considering the activity in my garden.

Finally, today’s bird watch through my window did also concern me when I saw more than one blackbird with a broken/deformed foot. I knew I had one female but today I saw two males as well. I will post on this soon once I get clearer photos and a bit more information on this. All my photos above were taken through my window. I also photographed the dunnock but it was moving too quickly and it was not too clear but it was much clearer than the photos of the wren which were completely blurred!

The photos above were taken in my garden on January 22nd 2008.

10 comments:

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Shirl, your feeder birds are delightful to see. I will look at them all in my field guide. I wish I could see them in person but I am afraid I will have to settle for looks at your beautiful pictures.

shirl said...

Hi again, Lisa :-)

Thank-you, I really enjoyed seeing them all myself. I have looked up the full names for the birds I mentioned to help you find them in your field guide :-D

Robin (Erithacus rubecula)
Blackbird (Turdus merula)
Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla)
Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)
House sparrows (Passer domesticus)
Siskin (Carduelis spinus)
Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)
Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris)
Blue tit (Parus caeruleus)
Great tit (Parus major)
Dunnock (Prunella modularis)
Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)

Barbara said...

It's always interesting again to watch the various birds coming to the feeding places. You have so many different birds staying in your garden. Thank you for the list, so I have also the possibility to look for them in my books as a lot of English names are not familiar to me.
Have a wonderful week!

shirl said...

Hi again, Barbara :-)

I agree, I also like to see the birds in your garden in Switzerlad and others throughout the different states of America and Canada too. I have always enjoyed seeing the small garden birds but in the last two years the numbers of species visiting has probably doubled! It is always fascinating to see a new species discover my garden as they gingerly follow the other regular birds – definitely looking like it’s their first day!

I hope the list helps - I have never thought to give the full names of the birds until now although I know many birds have the same common name throughout the world but sometimes they can look quite different like the robin. Thank-you – wishing you a good week too. I see you are posting on your first garden at the moment – I’ll be back for a longer visit later :-D

Jane said...

Beautiful pictures. I can't believe they were taken through your window. They must be very clean windows! I like the fact you have a dish with birdseed. I only have hanging feeders. I'm sure if I put one up like yours the wood pigeons would demolish it in no time!

Pete said...

Blackcaps really seem to be increasing this winter. EVEN I've seen one

Yolanda Elizabet said...

It's always difficult to get a clear pic of a bird, they move about so often. Sunflowerseeds are the most popular birdfeed in my garden too, birds simply love it. BTW I have a few birds on my blog too today.

Mike @ Fenphotography said...

Great photos Shirl, really like the female blackcap shots (lucky you) they are stunning little birds.

I have only seen one this year so far and my shots have all been deleted they where that bad (poor light is my excuse).

Marie said...

Beautiful photos. I love birds myself.

Have a nice bird watch day :)

shirl said...

Hi again, Jane, Pete, Yolanda, Mike and Marie :-)

Jane – Thank-you, I too am surprised I can get any photos through my window. As the birds are so close it seems a wasted opportunity not to try. The wood pigeons do visit my other small dish of seed and they can demolish its contents too although they often pass under my feeder in the Acer to get what falls out! However we don’t see as many at the moment and I suspect the female Sparrowhawk has been hungry too as I’ve seen feathers on my neighbour’s lawn in the same area more than once!

Pete – so it seems! We had a pair for a short time last January but have seen no sign of the male this time. However, I do believe there is a second smaller female blackcap possibly visiting two but I have never seen them visit together. The female is a very welcome visitor where the male was quite a bossy bird last year = Enjoy yours!

Yolanda – it is, it definitely is and that is why my window is such a good spot although I have to stay very still inside. I pruned my Acer so I could see into the feeder – ooops! I had a look at your post Yolanda - these beautifully coloured birds must have been quite a tricky capture ;-)

Mike – thank-you, I was pleased with them as they captured the personality of this very plain but pretty little bird. She could sense I was at the window I am sure by the times she tilted her head. She ate quite quickly so I couldn’t get good shots of that. I am not as experienced with my camera as you – I would like to capture some action shots from my garden. Although yesterday the only bird that repeatedly visited was the female Sparrowhawk – my feeders hardly saw any birds visit!

Marie – thank-you I enjoy seeing them visit and I am now enjoying capturing them on film even more! Thanks, bird watch day will be interesting to see if I get any visitors at all if the Sparrowhawk continues to dive in and out of my garden!