23rd Sept. I’m perhaps guilty of not watching the birds in my garden as much as I once did. However, I never let myself forget that this is how my interest in bird watching really began. I still remember ‘discovering’ Coal Tits in my garden many years ago and feeling at the time that I had found something really special. I had of course, and all these years later and in the intervening years I have had a pair of Coal Tits, which obviously breed nearby, visit the garden on a regular basis. Today was no exception and I found the garden to be especially busy with birds this morning. Interestingly enough, having purchased Birdwatch magazine this afternoon I found a reminder about the basics of garden feeding amongst many other interesting articles. I don’t buy the magazine, or any magazine, on a regular basis as I tend to think that for the cost of maybe four of them I could buy myself a half decent book. I do still prefer the feel of a book or magazine in my hand, despite the ease of gaining information from the internet.
I’ve often wondered how many twitchers feed the garden birds and take an active interest in them! I simply wonder because I find that some, not always twitchers to be fair, seem to find the commoner birds too mundane to warrant much attention. I’m pleased that Birdwatch magazine highlights David Lack’s works on the ‘simple’ Robin, including The Life of the Robin which I have to confess I’ve not read. It did remind me of the work done by John Buxton whilst a prisoner of war. His studies whilst in a prison camp resulted in a highly regarded monograph on the Redstart. I’ve not read that one either! I probably would if I could get a decent copy for a reasonable price. Birdwatch magazine did remind me however that there is a new monograph concerning the Kittiwake to be released by Poyser soon, so that sounds like a likely new read in the near future.
As I mentioned, the garden was busy today. My garden is small, but blessed with a tree/hedge lined pathway which is an encouragement to bird life. I consider myself quite lucky when I note the bird-less areas of often open plan gardens in the nearby vicinity. Years ago the tree/hedge lined pathway was far less disturbed. The pathway leads from the old village up to the wagon-ways and I suspect that it was once used by pitmen. I need to look into the history a little more. It’s still a pleasant walk and area despite the best attempts of some of the residents and council gardeners at destroying it. Parts of the hedge have been replaced by ugly wooden garden fences, and the gorse was ripped up years ago to be replaced by such. I feel that gardening to some minds is simply ripping things up and chopping things down. I guess that is how the environment as a whole is treated by many.
The birds in the garden today included two very active Chiffchaffs which had had drawn my attention to the garden in the first place. Between gleaning of the bushes they flew on numerous occasions to the bird bath. They hung around for quite some time. Greenfinches and Chaffinches were the other notable birds. Thankfully all looking fit and not apparently troubled by Trichomonosis (had to look that up!). http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14974236 Sadly I had a Greenfinch fly into the window yesterday and it is flying no more. It did give me a chance to look very carefully at its pristine plumage before giving it a burial. The Wren also appeared to be pristine. The hedging always ensures numbers of House Sparrows are about although the few Starlings are a fraction of the number that used to attend. Other birds seen in the short time I watched were Robin, Dunnock, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove and Magpie, with gulls flying overhead. There are definitely more Lesser Black Backed Gulls in the area than in years gone by, although I’m not sure any were around today.
I heard the other day that there is to be another cold winter. Not so sure I place much faith in these forecasts as yesterdays forecast for a fine sunny weekend changed today to include some rain showers! However if it is to be cold again I’ll be keeping an eye open for some scarcer garden visitors. Best ‘do’ autumn first though!