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January 3rd, 2006


The Wild life.

I could spend all day watching it, it is just so fabulously varied and there are so many antics from birds and squirrels and the tiny mouse things, apart from the visitations from the cat which are most unwelcome and greatly to be discouraged, though so far at this address I haven't needed to keep a loaded water pistol ready at the door.....at the last house the cats were awful.

The squirrels are supposed to hibernate but show no signs of doing so, they charge madly around the garden up the trees over the branches along the fence, the get down on the ground and simply hoover up the bird seed put down for the ground feeders but so far they have not managed to get round the latest device to keep them from the bird feeder with the sunflower hearts in, a plastic hemisphere suspended above the feeder,facing downwards, so that if they try to come down the chord that holds the feeder they fall to the ground and are unable to gain a foothold.....they are leaving the mixed seed feeder alone as well, that is on the washing line alongside two fat balls but since it was well away from the overhanging branches of the weeping willow they have left it alone.Still there are times when they stand up on their back legs,necks stretched out,heads rotating looking around,surveying the feeder and its circumstances but so far.....
The bird life is rich and varied. The most vivid have to be the bull finches, well at least the males are vivid, a brilliant pink colour on their chests and shiny black heads with white wing bars and more subdued wings, but the lady bull finches, I call them cowfinches are much drabber and paler,but in their own way just as fascinating. Like all the finches the bull finches tend to settle on the feeder and feed, the greenfinches likewise easily recognisable by their bright yellow wing bars,and the goldfinches with their bright red faces. The Chaffinches settle on the feeders too but they seem to have difficulty making it to the perch for they are naturally groundfeeders, but once they are settled the tend to stick around.
The tits on the other hand flutter in,and peck and flutter out again taking their treasures to a perch elsewhere to break down and to eat at leisure. Coal tits, great tits, blue tits and long tail tits have all been seen this winter. The other difference with the tits is that tend to go for the other feeders too, not just the sunflower hearts.
Then there are the crows:jackdaws,crows,magpies,jay have all visited the jay sadly only once, a beautiful and striking bird, with an awful reputation as a predator on smaller birds in the breeading season...the magpies trailing tailfeathers behind them resplendent in their black and white and the shiny black crows, have all been down. It seems really strange to me that the bigger the bird the more timid it is as far as humans are concerned.
The pigeons are represented by the ferals,collared doves, and wood pigeons,the kings of the lawn as far as they are concerned,
and there is a miscelleny of others, sea gulls, starlings, sparrows(hedge and house) and smallest of all the litle wren, though that has not been seen in the last few weeks.Several times we have spotted something smaller that a wren but have been unable to confirm what we suspect as a goldcrest...more later.