This year I'm finding myself far more interested than ever before at spotting the different species of birds in our garden. I've always enjoyed the Blue Tits, Great Tits, Coal Tits etc and we've had the odd visit from Green finches (though not for a coupe of years now), Pied Wagtails, Tree creepers and warblers but it's been a few years since we've seen anything other than the Tits and Sparrows - or so I thought!
I have to admit that until now every brown bird has been classed as a Sparrow to me and anything bigger is a Blackbird or a Starling, however I've been taking a closer look at those birds lately and already know that Tree pipits are here (previously classed as a Sparrow to me).
Today I took this photo
Nothing fancy or spectacular - it's a Song Thrush (I think). What makes this bird so nice to see though is that this is what the RSPB says about it
"A familiar and popular garden songbird whose numbers are declining
seriously, especially on farmland making it a Red List species. Smaller
and browner than a mistle thrush with smaller spotting. Its habit of
repeating song phrases distinguish it from singing blackbirds. It likes
to eat snails which it breaks into by smashing them against a stone with
a flick of the head."
Red list species, whoda thought it. Even if it turns out to be the Mistle Thrush (I can't tell the difference) it would be an Amber List species.
I'm currently in the middle of building a new feeding station for the garden to encourage more birds in but I'm concerned that history will repeat and I'll be fending off the Rooks and crows again so I put a tester of food out on the table yesterday and look what appeared immediately
There is a Rookery just at the bottom of the field and the darned things are a nuisance. Not only do they eat everything put out but they scare off the smaller species and they also kill the lambs born outside in the field next door (the farmer has indulged me with some awful stories). the owners of the Rookery do let shooters take pot shots at the birds but to me that is the wrong way round things. The shooters shoot into the nests but those nests are 50+ years old and probably like cement so it does nothing. They need to remove the actual nests!
One day I'll be brave enough to get a picture of the Rooks as they swarm just before roosting - it's an unbelievable sight and sound but ridiculously scary too (think 'The Birds').
It seems the Blue Tits have vacated the nest box due to the Sparrows and even the Sparrows have deserted it so that was a pointless fight for them all to get in.
I'd not seen the Blue Tits for a while then today a pair of them flew into the garden landed near me, looked at me, waited a bit and then flew off again. I like to think they just popped in to say Hi.