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Mollyblobs

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Sunday 29 January 2012: Balancing act...

Today was the Big Garden Birdwatch. Quite often the turnout can be a bit disappointing, something I've always blamed on everyone else putting out lots of food to attract the birds. But this year we had a pretty good list....

Fairly early on a green woodpecker came to feed on our old willow tree, hammering the trunk with its pointed beak to extract insect grubs. It's a regular visitor, but never predictable, so it was really good to see it.

Not long after, a flock of redwings descended on our Cotoneaster bush, to gobble down the scarlet berries, which are now disappearing rapidly. I was determined that this would be my blip, and took a number of shots through the open living-room window.

This bird has just picked a berry, and I seem to have caught it at the point when the berry was just balancing on the lower half of its beak - there's a clear gap between the berry and the upper half. It amazes me how dextrous they are, and how rarely they drop a berry.

And to top it all a sparrowhawk landed in the orchard, and then flew up into a neighbour's pine tree, where it sat for a long time holding on to its kill. Unfortunately we weren't able to see what it had caught, though the likeliest prey is probably a chaffinch.

The final list for the day was as follows:

Blackbird 5
Blue Tit 6
Carrion Crow 1
Chaffinch 8
Collared Dove 3
Dunnock 3
Goldfinch 6
Great Tit 2
Greenfinch 3
Green Woodpecker 1
Long-tailed Tit 3
Magpie 4
Redwing 12
Robin 2
Song Thrush 1
Sparrowhawk 1
Starling 2
Wood Pigeon 4

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