Winter in the garden and the woods

This a post about the birds we’ve seen in the garden and woods over winter.

IN THE GARDEN

When the first snow came in December, we saw the first Scandinavian blackbirds.  You can tell because the males are more brown than British ones and have a darker beak.  We have had a female blackbird with a white feather in her tail (we saw her last winter as well), but she seems to have disappeared over the last few days.  We have counted 7 blackbirds maximum.

We had our first goldcrest on 10th December, and it came to our birch tree.  Unfortunately, my brother scared it off!  Hopefully our pine trees will attract it back.

Magpies and jackdaws are regular visitors to the garden.  We have counted seven magpies and eleven jackdaws.  The jackdaws stack peanuts into their beaks and fly off with them.  One of the magpies can only walk on one leg.  We saw a raven and a pair of rooks the other day in the nature reserve. 

The coal tits seem to be the bravest birds in our garden, and they like to stash food in the privet trees.  We have a pair of great tits and four regular blue tits. In the nearby wood, there’s a small flock of great tits but they must have plenty of food and don’t visit our garden.

One of the most exciting birds we’ve had in the garden this winter is the woodpecker.  It’s a male and it’s been coming to our pole feeder which is closer to the house than the rest of the feeders.  They are usually really nervy but this one doesn’t seem to be at all.  It seems to be attracted by the fat and peanut butter.  Its first visit was mid December and it checked out every feeder in the garden.

The bullfinches have also been coming, two females and one occasional male. Update, 9th Jan: 2 males and 2 females spotted.

We have had a pair of song thrushes recently in the garden.  We think that they might be from Scandinavia because they haven’t been before.  They have been pulling the moss off the rocks in the garden.

We were really lucky the other day to have four fieldfares in the garden.  They are also winter visitors.  We had put some apple out in the hedge but it was probably too old for them.  They didn’t stay long and haven’t been back, but we’ve put more apple out and also some raisins and grapes.

About twenty starlings have been coming for food, and they are always squabbling on the bird table.  We had one other day that seemed to have one drooping wing.  They played at skating on the pond ice in a rainstorm!

IN THE WOODS

We have frequently heard and sometimes seen the nuthatches.  There calls sound like miniature car alarms!

I saw a flock of redwings in the holly trees near the woods.  I managed to get pretty close up to them.  They were really good to see.

The dipper has been regularly bobbing about on the stream.

We have also seen a pair of grey wagtails on the stream.

We haven’t seen the mandarin ducks for a while because at the bottom of the stream the lake has been drained.