Monday 27 February 2012: Female Siskin
I was full of good intentions last night. I was going to tidy up the ivy around the blue tit nest box, and see if there was anywhere to put the robin nest box up. The weather forecast wasn't too bad. I could get out the garden hide and try and get some photographs, as I haven't blipped a garden bird for a while.
Alas a weather forecast is just that ... a best guess. It was been dark, gloomy and misty and raining on and off all day. Utterly hopeless for photography from the hide. So I set the camera up on the tripod, threw open the patio doors and hoped for the best.
This was the best as it got. We have a few Siskins back in the garden for the first time in a little while. Pretty little birds, about the size of a goldfinch, and like the goldfinch, rather partial to nyger seed.
In fact, today has been the day of returning birds. For the first time in about twelve weeks we have had a pair of Collared Doves in the garden. The local Sparrowhawk had chased off or wiped out the half dozen we had (raptor haters please post comments elsewhere before you start - it's all part of the natural order of things). My resident male Bullfinch has a new lady in tow. But moment of the day came at about half past three. I have a resident male Greater Spotted Woodpecker, who visits almost daily, but a female turned up this afternoon. She was clearly spotted (pardon the pun) by Woody the male, and he went into a frenzy of testosterone tree drumming for ten minutes! Hopefully, they will pair up ... one of the garden moments of the year last year was two adults and three fledglings all on the feeders at once.
One sad note, this poor little Blue Tit with a deformed upper bill has appeared in the garden. He seemed to be feeding okay, but with a little difficulty. The problem will come with trying to keep his/her feathers in tip top condition, and a lack of preening may cause a problem. I will keep an eye on him/her.
You can report birds with beak deformities to the British Trust of Ornithology on this webpage. If you see one, and can photograph it, even better, there are email addresses, etc. that you can send them to on the link I just added.