Posts Tagged "starling"

More garden moments

Early morning, too early by most accounts, but at least the morning is cool as the strengthening sun stirs a breeze in those hours. Propped up against the back door, watching the garden and the bird feeders, still incredulous that somehow this is a British summer.

Tic Tac the juvenile robin doesn’t seem too happy about it too, perched upon the fence. Later he’s down on the ground, surveying the pots and looking more and more robin-y every day.

The garden looks tired, parched. Weeks without any rain now. Top up the bird bath each day, they’ll not be parched at least. The juvenile blue tits are grateful for that, visiting in the cool of the evening.

Even the sparrows seem to want to wait for the shade before they move on to the feeders. All squabbles and scraps and chatter and so very, very welcome in my garden.

Only the starling seems to be enjoying the sun to the full, for in the sun it glows, it shines, it shimmers and waves as the sunlight shows the meaning of iridescence, of what “oily plumage” really looks like. I can’t blame them for posing in the sun when the sun makes them look like this.

Shine on, starling, shine on.


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Back door moments

The heatwave continues. It feels like moving through treacle to be out in the heat of the day.

The birds are still moving quickly around the garden, as I stand at the back door, watching them.

Juvenile blue tits like the feeder alongside “their” willow tree during the day.

In the evening they visit the main feeder pole closer to the house instead.

That feeder pole is ruled by the starlings, whenever they land during the day.

There’s a definite hierarchy between them also, the young ones are put in their place.

And then there are the sparrows, ever present, ever welcome. They’re bringing their fledglings and showing them where the food is.

And they’re just spending time in the bushes. Sheltering from the heat as much as I am, or at least I’m finding that very easy to imagine right now.

I’m so grateful that I only have to look out of the window to see the wild, but I’m especially grateful for it on these hot and treacle-filled days.

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Appliance delivery day. Something large and white that says “2 man lift only” on the packaging but one hardened delivery person carries in on their shoulder. Upheaval to the routine. Change. Waiting. Lots of waiting for 5 minutes of action when one white good goes out feet first and its replacement lands. My hands are tied, can’t go out and explore, have to wait.

There’s a sense of the seasons passing as I look out of the window from my desk. While some birds are still parading around with a beak full of food, a whole new generation is already fending for themselves.

Even the presence of a rival male only elicits a half-hearted flapping response today.

The starling juveniles are happily looking after themselves, more accompanied by parents now rather than directed by them.

When they turn up on the feeders its often the juveniles who get there first now, some of their youthful ungainliness disappearing with experience, though their genetic starling clumsiness will never leave them as their parents demonstrate.

Sparrows, whose offspring are already losing their gape and you have to look hard to see which are older birds and which are 2018 edition, carry on regardless on the roadside verge. Or at the feeders, where their presence is always welcome, even when they’re being particularly argumentative and scrappy as they were today.

Blue tit is still busy at the feeders, trying to quell the constant calls of the fledglings in the willow tree. During the afternoon a magpie blunders into the tree, cackling and screeching, prompting loud complaints from the blackbird parents and scattering the blue tit fledglings from their haven. One ends up in the bush beside the feeders, winning the lottery as it gets on with feeding itself on the bonanza. One ends up right below the open window where I sit and wait, giving me my first close-up view of blue tit fledglings this year.

Worth waiting for.


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What’s in the garden? June 6th 2018

If you feed the birds in your garden you’ll know that what’s visiting your garden today might not necessarily be what’s visiting it tomorrow. As the days, weeks and seasons change, so do the birds who you’ll find on your bird feeders. This is the first of an occasional series of posts showing who was visiting my garden on one particular day, to show the differences over time. Its also a good reminder to appreciate and enjoy who is visiting your garden right now, you never know when they might move on…

Birds come, birds go – the flock of long-tailed tits that called my garden home during the winter have long since gone, for instance – but if my garden has loyal, reliable visitors its the house sparrows. I love them.

Always looking interested, always curious, the females have their own unique refinement.

The males, well, they were best described by Matt Sewell as “looking like an old RAF squadron leader in a flat cap and tweed”. He wasn’t wrong.

This year’s new fledgling sparrows, meanwhile, mainly manage to look a wee bit anxious.

Whether male, female or young, house sparrows are extremely regular visitors to my feeders, multiple times an hour usually.

Also a regular visitor at the moment is a pair of blackbirds who are obviously raising young, both parent birds are constantly dropping into the garden from the fence down to the ground, coming via the branches of a bush and looking like Professor Yaffle descending from his bookend in an episode of Bagpuss. The male is visiting more often and looking good doing it.

The female visits only slightly less but manages to look rather angry about the whole thing.

Also down on the ground most days you’ll find a dunnock, sometimes two. Dunnocks are often seen mating on the patio area during the spring.


A less frequent visitor over the past couple of days has been the Great Tits. Perhaps their offspring are fledged and beginning to fend for themselves?

Another popular option is to bring your fledglings with you. The starlings definitely know how to do that!

The adult starlings have been bringing their offspring into the garden very often over the past 3 or 4 weeks, which is actually the first time there have been starlings in my garden and the immediate surroundings in almost 8 years. Noisy, argumentative and with a wealth of sounds to enjoy I’m glad to see them back again.

The juvenile starlings seem to find it funny too, when they’re not being contemplative while hanging off a feeder that is.

Also sort-of bringing their fledglings is the busiest of all my current garden visitors, a fast moving blue tit.

This particular blue tit has to move fast, its got fledglings to keep fed and they’re currently hidden away in the willow tree, loudly letting it be known that they’re hungry.

I can’t deny it, the cute factor is high with these, especially when they’re trying to pretend to be a leaf.

I’m not so sure the parent finds it so cute though, its flying back and forth so often that it barely even stops for a moment on the feeders. Just long enough to grab and go. Its interesting that the parent is visiting the fats feeders so often too, back and forth for hours. What about the natural food out there, has it been a bad year for caterpillars in my area?

So, there’s a snapshot (or lots of them!) of who was visiting my garden on the warm and sunny afternoon of 6th June 2018. What will the next “What’s in the garden?” post show as being different I wonder?

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Crow Patrol

The sparrow gang are out feeding, as are the starling fledglings. The male blackbirds continue their scrap about territorial boundaries. Goldfinches, wren and blackbird sing, then the heavy rain starts and the birds disappear for a short while.

Not quite all the birds though. Crow is out, patrolling the pavements in the rain.

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