Sunday, 30 January 2011

The Starlings have it

They had back in 2007 too. Chaffinches had it in 2008 and Blackbirds took it in 2009 & 2010. 1st place in my garden during my one hour bird count for the 2011 RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch is what the Starlings have.

Although Starlings aren’t always welcome in the garden due to their greedy, noisy manner they are endangered here in the UK so I’m delighted to be able to submit numbers for them. Sultanas and mealworms brought them swooping down to feed during my count. I knew it would attract them if any flew over.


Clicking on image will enlarge it

Being honest, it took the Starlings a bit longer than usual to spot the food I had put out with them in mind. In the past it has never ceased to amaze me that within minutes of putting out sultanas Starlings appear. Sultana Satellite tracking perhaps?

Thanks to Mrs Sparrowhawk respecting my request to stay away during my count a respectable 11 species of garden birds were spotted. Numbers weren’t particularly high (but as many others find too) this seems to be the normal for this count. Comments in my last post have raised speculation that the birds are working the system here ;-)

The RSPB are expecting a wide range of bird species this year as the colder weather has been bringing new visitors to our gardens. However, with our snow gone and temps chilly but not freezing for the moment we are back to the usual suspects in my garden.

No sightings of Fieldfare, Tree Sparrow, Long-tailed tits or Blackcaps have been spotted since last winter. Bramblings had joined the Chaffinches (this year for the first time) when it was cold and snow covered the ground but they no longer visit. We even had a Reed Bunting pass through.

Having had a hectic weekend, spending an hour by the window was bliss! My only available slot was Sunday from 2:15-3:15pm. There was a slight breeze, the skies cleared to blue and when the sun came out I knew the birds would more than likely enjoy the sun’s rays from my neighbour’s cherry tree rather than rushing around my garden for food.

Appearing on the branches of my pine tree next to a peanut feeder, I was delighted to see a Wren. It has never been in my count before. I went for my camera but a Blue tit arrived at the feeder and the Wren flew off again. You can see the rest of my stats in the image above. House Sparrow numbers are a lot lower than usual and it’s weird to be seeing a single Goldfinch regularly visiting.

Later today, I’ll submit my count results here and when the 2011 RSPB Birdwatch results come out in March I’ll add a link here. If you have taken part (especially for the first time) I do hope you enjoyed it.

Finally, if you are a visitor from the USA you might like to know about a bird count there in February. I’m guessing most visitors here know and take part with this but just in case you don’t, the next Great Backyard Bird Count is during February 18-22, 2011.





Throughout the time I’ve been writing this post I’ve been distracted by mice around my small rock pool pond. Three have now been spotted running in and out the caves there taking food from the bird buffet.

The photo I’m really looking for is one with a Blackbird and a mouse feeding at the same time. I’ve seen this a few times, it does look funny but not as funny as a mouse trying to move a fat ball towards itself. Just where did it think it could roll it to?

9 comments:

Gardeningbren said...

Your collage of bird photos is just lovely!! So the starlings have it do they? Bliss..one hour just watching birds))))

I marveled at the mouse photos as they are such interesting and inquisitive and clever little things aren't they? I kept thinking of Stuart Little...and then I wondered did you realize there is a mouse hole right by the food...WELL of course you did))).

Rusty said...

Yes, this is the first year I have had starlings visit the feeder during the winter. Also have some chickadees, cardinals (two I think), Blue jays (also two), and four very interesting Ravens! Innumerable grey squirrels - but no mice that i have seen. (I'm sure they are there though).

Gotta love thos mouse pics! (Smile)
ATB!

lotusleaf said...

The mouse does look funny and cute.
About the bamboo, it does die after it flowers, but immediately a new growth starts- in these parts at least. I hope the tales will prove false too.

gardenwalkgardentalk.com said...

The little mice thieves are so cute and these are good photos of them.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Too bad the sparrow hawk wouldn't snag some of those mice. We have had many Brown headed Cowbirds attacking our feeders during snow cover. The Starlings are still in the fields though. Glad to hear you had 11 species of birds. Nice.

Patsi said...

I agree the starlings are greedy and noisy,we get 20 at at time !
Know there are mice in our shed but it's just been too cold to investigate.

easygardener said...

I had Starlings last year and I could here them cackling as soon as they arrived. This year 3 Squirrels turned up for the Birdcount - I think they are now are internet savvy and are reading the RSPB website!

shirl said...

Hello everyone, sounds like the Starlings do get around :-)

Brenda, thanks I had fun making it. I agree the mouse around my pond are definitely inquisitive but so are the cats so they better watch out. Yep… Stuart Little indeed. Lol… there is more than one mouse hole there and it is fun watching them follow routes :-)

Rusty, interesting to hear Starlings are a new visitor. Now the Ravens will be interesting to watch. Smart birds I suspect. You’ve a nice list there. Yeh… I was spoilt for choice with my mouse pics. I just had to share them :-)

Lotusleaf, it/they do. Ah… I wondered if your temps would allow regrowth. Fingers crossed for the tale to be false.

Donna, thanks, love that… little mice thieves :-)

Lisa, being honest, I’d hate to see the Sparrowhawk go away with one of the mice. I’m finding them entertaining to watch and after all I did make the caves there for wildlife and that we have now. Cowbirds sound scary. I’m guessing the Starlings may visit you too at some point.

Patsi, aren’t they just. It’s always fun to watch one bird come down as a scout and just when you think the Starlings have moved on, down they descend like giant black snowflakes! Ah… mice in a shed is another matter, I have issues with that I’m afraid. I hope none are in mine. Good luck with your investigation. I’m hoping the caves around my pond are just too comfy and any passing mouse has no need to consider my shed :-D

Denise, ah yes, that cackling. Three squirrels must have put off your birds. Lol… squirrels with RSS feeds ;-) Lol… perhaps (really trying to upset the birds) they have twitter and tweet the Birdcount buffets ;-)

Juliet said...

Glad you found an hour for the birdwatch - I missed it this year, having been rushed to hospital on the Friday (bad timing!). R managed to count some birds in between visits to me though, and saw the most unusual sight of one starling!

I love the mouse pictures :-D