Thursday, 22 March 2018

The Siskin Garden Party

Outside the window, a bobbing tail of the mostly monochrome Pied Wagtail waved as if to say “Sorry, I missed last week’s photoshoot deadline for infrequent or new garden visitors during winter cold spells”. No worries, you can join the Siskin Party that rocked the garden over the weekend that followed! Why is it though, happening countless times, does a visitor like you appear after I hit the publish button?

Counting guests to last weekend's Siskin Garden Party was challenge. A serious challenge. I eventually admitted defeat when they were in the garden as they constantly moved everywhere from feeders, trees, shrubs to along the ground. Taking off en masse I might have guessedtimated 60+ easily.

Feeling like I was watching a nature, celebrity television programme, I focused my attention on the ‘Who’s who’ garden list. Not featuring, were passing Waxwing and Fieldfare groups of last week. They probably took one look down over the garden and said to themselves, too crowded and too much commotion for us!



In the absence of the ‘King of the Apples’ Mistle Thrush, a single Fieldfare gate-crashed the Siskin party. Halved apples were scattered on the snow so it, Blacklbirds and Song Thrushes had a quieter area to feed (yes, that white stuff arrived again). However, the Fieldfare didn’t mind mixing it with the Siskins and they didn’t appear to mind it's company on the feeder tree either. They were probably too busy feeder queuing and squabbling to notice it.

Not surprisingly, other finch species were in attendance. Which ones though? The binoculars came out. Only a small number of Goldfinches were spotted which was a surprise as previous Garden Parties hosted by the Siskins were popular with good sized Goldfinch groups. The binoculars failed to spot Redpolls or Reed Buntings which have been seen at these popular Winter Parties in previous years.



No binoculars were required to identify the male Bramblings at the party. It was a delight to see these winter garden visitors again. Spotting female Bramblings was a bit more tricky in a mixed crowd, in low light, especially when female Chaffinches and Greenfinches were around. Brightly coloured, male Greenfinches and Chaffinches were spotted easily without the aid of binoculars.

Branches of the coral barked Maple look especially great catching sunshine, early morning. During the Siskin Garden Party, many guests used its branches as they passed through the garden en route to the sunflower feeders. One bird caught my eye. Camera captures made it look like it was playing hide and seek with me. Its markings weren’t too clear until she moved. Cropped below is my #photooftheday of the beauty that is a female Brambling!



The usual garden species of Blackbirds, Dunnock, Robin and Woodpigeon joined the ground feeding party guests. It was great entertainment watching how they all mixed. There was less commotion on the ground below the feeders as seed, spilled from above, spread around more. Other garden regulars Blue, Coal and Great tits were seen joining the party feeding on peanuts as were Starlings.

When the Siskins took a party break a couple of Carrion Crow’s came feeding on fat filled, half coconuts as did the Jackdaw and Magpie. The feeders were busy all weekend with the large 12-port sunflower feeder needing topped up twice. The potting shed supply emptied, fortunately after the party was over. As commonly said of good parties - it was a blast!



Unfortunately, winter’s current blast of cold kept garden jobs at bay last weekend. Although the snow has gone again, last week’s jobs are still unticked. Rain gardening is not unusual for here but gardening in the cold – nope, not keen on that. Taking photos of flowering plants was the plan for today too – nope, no point in taking photos on cold, windy days where nothing stays still - including cold fingers holding a camera. Maybe this weekend?

Wishing you a great weekend! I’m not thinking we’ll be having another garden party this weekend. In fact, I’m fairly confident on that. Why am I so sure? Well, today, the postman brought the large bag of sunflower seed I ordered earlier this the week. Ah well, I’m sorted now for the hungry, hard-working nest builders - when they need it :-)

Well there you go, it's honestly happened again! I'm about to hit publish and a little Wren (a regular that wasn't seen at last weekend's garden party) has just stopped on a branch perch outside my window. It's bobbing up and down in a quite different way than the Pied Wagtail but the story is the same. Yep, you completely missed everything photoshoot and party too I'm afraid ;-)



This post was published by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in March 2018.

6 comments:

Lisa Greenbow said...

oh Shirley, I wouldn't mind the snow so much if I had all of these marvelous and to me exotic birds to watch in my garden. What a nice mix of birds. So colorful and to watch how they all interact and feed. FUN! It does drive one crazy when some interesting or not so common bird pops into the feeder just as you click send. I hope you have a great weekend.

Sue Garrett said...

How brilliant to have waxwings visit. I’d love to see one. We had a couple of pairs of siskins a few years ago but we haven’t seen any since.

Brian Skeys said...

That is some garden party, a twelve port feeder is more of a banquet I think.

Anna said...

The word that there was a good party going on obviously spread quickly on the grapevine Shirl. Your garden must be a magnet for feathered creatures from far and wide. Thanks for sharing your visitors :)

Lisa said...

What a beautiful post!

Shirley said...

Hello everyone, oh dear I didn’t realise I hadn’t replied to you all! Thanks for all your comments they are very much appreciated :-)

Lisa, we did have a nice mix at this time but all change now as we welcome the pollinators! Thanks, I hope you’ve had a good couple of months! :-)

Sue, It really was, gosh these waxwings really seem so long away now as a reply here – we’ll soon be at the longest day for goodness sake! How did that happen?

Brian, It was. That 12 port feeder only comes out during hard winter days. It’s back in the potting shed now.

Anna, ha-ha, it must have. In harsh winter days all gardens will make a difference to feeding birds. I always love to think I’m helping them get enough energy to survive the cold nights. It’s great to be able to share images of busy feeders :-)