Snow on the ground, garden birds for 15th of January 2013

I haven’t had a lot of time to look outside today, but the snow’s still lying and we’ve had a good list of birds already:

  1. Blackbird x 5
  2. Blue Tit x 2
  3. Coal Tit x 1
  4. Dunnock x 1
  5. Greenfinch x 5
  6. House Sparrow x 1
  7. Magpie x 3
  8. Woodpigeon x 2

Snow falling in Edinburgh and my first Blackcap of the year.

The snow has started to fall again in Edinburgh and there’s been another first for the year a Blackcap – there may have been 2 as one was feeding on some fatballs and another bird flew in and knocked it off, it all happened so fast I didn’t see if it was another blackcap. Remember if you have seen any Blackcaps during January the  is currently running. Also added Feral Pigeon to the list today, I would have thought it’d be one on the list for the year by now but due to the fact I’ve been stuck at home due to injury and it’s not overly common in our garden I hadn’t seen any!

  1. Blackbird x 4
  2. Blackcap x 1 – Female.
  3. Blue Tit x 2
  4. Carrion crow x1
  5. Chaffinch x 2
  6. Coal Tit x 3
  7. Dunnock x 2
  8. Feral Pigeon  x 3
  9. Goldcrest x 2 updated 15.22 – this is another first for the year, and a first I’ve seen in my new garden! 
  10. Greenfinch x 12
  11. House Sparrow x 2
  12. Long-tailed tit x 2 updated 15.37
  13. Magpie x1
  14. Robin x 1 – good to see the Robin back!
  15. Woodpigeon x 5

Wood Pigeons already mating and a new bird to the list.

I witnessed wood pigeons mating today, as well as very frisky dunnocks, also added another bird to the year list a Jackdaw, shocked it’s taken this long but first I’ve seen so far, here’s today’s garden bird list:

  1. Blackbird x 3
  2. Black-headed gull x 1
  3. Blue Tit x 2
  4. Carrion crow x 2
  5. Chaffinch x 1
  6. Coal Tit x 1
  7. Dunnock x 3
  8. Herring Gull x 1
  9. House Sparrow x 4
  10. Jackdaw x 1
  11. Magpie x 1
  12. Woodpigeon x 2

Only one that’s missing for the year so far that I thought I would have seen by now in the garden is the wren.

Quiet morning in the garden, reports of Fulmers nesting on Salisbury Crags.

Another very quiet but lovely morning in the garden today, very few birds about.  I’ve been told there’s Fulmers already starting to nest on Salisbury Crags in Holyrood Park so I hope to go out and have a look for them, here’s my garden list so far today:

  1. Blackbird x 3
  2. Blue Tits x 2
  3. Coal Tit x 2
  4. Dunnock x 1
  5. Greenfinch x 1
  6. House Sparrow x around 20
  7. Woodpigeon x 5

It’s interesting that there was only 1 greenfinch and 1 house sparrow (now updated to 4 – another update to around 20), I’m used to these being flock birds and if not at least 2 at a time.

Are birds showing spring breeding behaviour?

Wow an incredibly quiet morning in the garden, I’m not sure why, but as far as I can tell it’s not because of the same reason Ian is having just near me: Sparrowhawk.  The blackbirds really sound as if they’re trying to setup breeding territories and singing at all hours of the day, dawn chorus was in full swing!  Alfred Turner – thunor1957 on twitter said that the birds near him in Birmingham were really showing spring traits and breeding behaviour, checking nest boxes and other such things.  I hope they don’t try too early as there’s more cold weather on the way.  Here’s my very small list today, updated at 15.00 with a few extras:

  1. Blackbird x 1
  2. Blue Tit x 1
  3. Coal Tit x 2
  4. Dunnock x 1
  5. House Sparrows x 4
  6. Magpie x 1
  7. Woodpigeon x 1

As usual from my garden.

The blackbird wasn’t singing last night, 5 species, 15 birds.

I won’t be able to do a lot of bird watching today, got a fair bit to update on the finance site: Saver Scene – ISA & Savings http://www.saverscene.co.uk/ [closed June 2018 as I move to a career in gardening after studying horticulture at Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh] but what I did get to see from a quick glance were 5 different species and 15 birds, the blackbird has been a regular and has shown up the most days so far, followed by the coal tit, here’s today’s garden bird list, and a photo of the blackbird.  I should say that since Christmas last night seemed to be the first night that the blackbird wasn’t singing until after midnight, it was also one of the cooler nights:

close-up photo of a blackbird, photographed by Gavin Hamilton

close-up photo of a blackbird, photographed by Gavin Hamilton

  1. Blackbird x 5
  2. Coal Tit x 4
  3. Dunnock x 2
  4. Greenfinch x 2
  5. Woodpigeon x 2

update 11.12am just grabbing a glass of water and noticed a Blue Tit outside, so

  1. Blue Tit x 1

A quick trip to the physio and 3 new birds species for the day.

Just had to go to the physio, loads more exercises to do almost 8 hours of work per day just on physio now!  However on the way there I spotted 3 more species:

  1. Black-headed gull x 3
  2. Carrion Crow x 1
  3. Magpie x 2

There were a few other gulls hovering high up, but I wasn’t sure what they were so haven’t added them to the list, here’s a Black-headed Gull in winter plumage that I photographed a while back, the sun was wonderfully low offering some great colours:

Black-headed Gull - winter plumage

Black-headed Gull – winter plumage – photographed by Gavin Hamilton

Long-tailed Tit & a mixed flock of tits in the garden today.

Thought it was going to be incredibly quiet in the garden today as there’d been very little and then a mixed flock of tits came through including 3 of my favourites the Long-tailed Tit – Know Your Tits – Long-tailed Tits – something I wrote last year as I was trying to get my hands working again and get myself excited about photography & birding – okay never lost either passion just hadn’t been doing it.  I would get a bit down when I heard of a great bird sighting or seeing a fantastic photo as I knew I couldn’t get out and see the bird or take photos!  I’ve added a photo of a Long-tailed Tit that was shot out of the bedroom window while I was recovering from my first ankle surgery.   The flock included the 3 long-tailed tits, 3 coal tits, 2 blue tits and a great tit:

  1. Blackbird x 2
  2. Blue Tit x 2
  3. Coal Tit x 3
  4. Dunnock x 2
  5. Great Tit x 1
  6. Herring Gull x 1 – I think it looked to be a juvenile
  7. House Sparrow x 2
  8. Long-tailed Tit x 3
  9. Magpie x 1
  10. Woodpigeon x 3

Long Tail Tit - Aegithalos caudatus - Scotland UK

Long-tailed tit in the rain.

My location as ever at my house, I hope this changes soon!

Very few birds today, getting ready for the RSPB hedge.

There were very few birds in the garden today, but it maybe due to activity as my wife was helping, okay doing most of the work due to my injuries, digging over the area that the hedge is to go into, hope to take some photos of the rest of the project, forgot today.  It’s only about half done as she has to work Saturdays but it’s a start and it should be a few more days before the plants come.  If you are after a good mix for a hedge the RSPB have a good page: RSPB – Homes for Wildlife – Hedge of Glory it takes you to the Ashridge Trees website for their package of a bird friendly hedge: Ashbridge Bird Friendly Hedge you can watch their video on how to plant a hedge:

1 – How to Plant a Country Hedge – Ashridge Trees

Hedge planting youtube video

Here’s my bird list for today:

  1. Blackbird x 1
  2. Blue Tit x 2
  3. Carrion crow x 1 (fly over)
  4. Chaffinch x 1
  5. Coal Tit x 2
  6. Dunnock x 3
  7. Herring Gull x 2 (fly over)
  8. Magpie x 1
  9. Robin x 1
  10. Woodpigeon x 2

Plants in the hedge:

  • 10 x Hawthorn – Crataegus monogyna – frothy white, may flowers in spring and bright red haws in autumn
  • 5 x Wild Privet – Ligustrum vulgare – white flowers, black berries
  • 5 x Hazel – Corylus avellana – catkins in February, fresh green leaves, nuts in autumn
  • 5 x Wild Damson – Prunus domestica – white blossom on black twigs
  • 5 x Guelder Rose – Viburnum opulus – lacecap flowers, redcurrant looking berries
  • 5 x Blackthorn – Prunus spinosa – fluffy white blossom, black autumn berries
  • 5 x Dog Rose – Rosa canina – single white roses, red rose hips in autumn
  • 5 x Elderflower – Sambucus nigra – lacy white flowers, maroon berries
  • 5 x Crabapple – Malus sylvestris – stunning pink blossom, crabapples in autumn

Sparrowhawk in the garden a new bird for the year list.

Another new bird for the year list, a Sparrowhawk almost hit me in the face, okay it was about 60 centimetres away, but for something moving at such speed it seemed very close.

How I got to the point of having a sparrowhawk 2 feet away from me; there were few birds in the garden, just 1 blackbird so I thought better take the dog out and check if there’s a cat lurking in the back undergrowth as there often is.  The dog went crazy sniffing the ground and it was obvious to him that a cat had just been there, but I didn’t see it, about half a minute passed and the tinkle of the cat’s bell over a neighbours fence gave it away (good on the owner for putting a bell on it) and the dog went into a quick barking fit, then all fell very silent, still no birds and the cat was away.  I bent over to pick-up some litter that had blown into the garden and as I stood up there in my face was a sparrowhawk coming straight at me, it changed just before collision.  Well what seemed like a collision point to me, to it I’m sure it felt it had hours to divert it’s course.

This is only the second time I’ve seen a sparrowhawk in the garden, first for this year, last time it was hunting and not in a way I’d seen sparrowhawks hunt before it was actually going to ground then entering the dogwood shrub that is next to one of the feeders and flushing birds out that way, instead of circling the shrub or hedge and getting the birds to fly out.  I was surprised at how well it went into the hedge, I got some video footage but it was on a small digital camera and rather rubbish as due to my cerebral palsy I shake so much.  The other thing I noticed that day was how different the small birds alarm call was to when they see a cat, they obviously have a different call for sparrowhawk than they do cat predators.

Here’s a list of the 9 different species I’ve seen today, the Magpies are back in decent numbers, not as many as on Christmas day but they’re being just as noisy:

  1. Blackbird x 2
  2. Blue Tit x 2
  3. Bullfinch x 1 (male)
  4. Chaffinch x 1
  5. Coal Tit x 2
  6. Dunnock x 1
  7. Herring Gull x 1 (flying over)
  8. Magpie x 11
  9. Sparrowhawk x 1

12 different species of birds in my garden today, plus a photo of a Coal Tit.

I was hoping to get out and see the waxwings that were near Murrayfield today, however due to the tyre blowout on Christmas Eve and not been able to get it repaired during the last week over Christmas/New Years as everything is closed, my wife can’t drive me anywhere (I can’t drive at the moment due to my ankle tendons popping out when I press the accelerator) so once again my what birds I’ve seen today comes from the garden, I’ve added a photo of a coal tit I shot a while back, hope you like it. This maybe the longest list of species for one record so far:

  1. Blackbird x 3
  2. Blue Tit x 2
  3. Bullfinch x 1 (female)
  4. Chaffinch x 1
  5. Coal Tit x 3
  6. Dunnock x 1
  7. Great Tit x 1
  8. Greenfinch x 5
  9. Herring Gull x 1
  10. House Sparrow x 3
  11. Magpie x 4
  12. Woodpigeon x 4

The photo of the coal tit on a bird seed feeder:

Coal tit

Coal tit on Garden bird feeder.

Seed and feeder supplied by the RSPB.