Monday 27 January 2014

Bird count.

My duties with my daughter in law don't begin until tomorrow, so there is time to put on a post and read others today.

Yesterday, the day of the Big Garden Bird Watch was cold and snowy so there were quite a lot of birds about at the bird table.   Our table has various hanging tubes - peanuts, niger seed, mixed seed, sunflower hearts, fat balls plus scraps on the bird table itself and coconut hanging in the rowan tree.  The table is separated from the paddock and the farmland by a holly hedge  which was full of sparrows - we could hear them making a racket but never saw one in the whole hour.

When I registered the results this morning the RSPB seemed astonished that I registered twenty chaffinches!   I could have told them, had there been a column for it, that we often have forty plus, the reason being that they gather beneath the mixed seed container.   Tits, goldfinches and the like feed on the mixed seed and for every seed they extract about a hundred fall to the ground, there to be snapped up by the waiting chaffinches.

We had a covering of snow yesterday and higher up - maybe a hundred feet or so - was the snow line.   We notice it every year, it runs straight through the middle of a friend's field - above the line the snow stays and below it (where we are) the snow goes.  In The Times this morning there is a photograph of the snow plough working in Reeth in Swaledale, which is all of seven miles from our farm, but importantly those seven miles are largely up.   It is probably three hundred feet higher than we are.

Today I am sure it will all be gone as it is rather a nice day with a gentle breeze and a weak sunshine.   But it is so very wet everywhere and we must all spare a thought for those poor people living on the Somerset levels, who have been flooded for weeks and look likely to be flooded for some time to come.  Driving through the Levels in the summer, every lane lined with willows, every field full of grazing cattle, it is easy to envy folk who are living in such picturesque surroundings.   No one envies them now.


Bovey Belle said...

Well, I'm not surprised about your Chaffinch gangs. We had that many in the snow time here, along with 26 blackbirds waiting for breakfast each morning. I counted 17 sparrows in one head count yesterday, on one net, and 2 dozen starlings in the bushes, along with blue tits and great tits. That was the front garden seeds. The yard seed feeder had 6 chaffinches at once, a dozen blue tits, 5 great tits and several sparrows hanging around. I think when you live in the country the numbers are normally far greater as they are usually relying on the surrounding fields, woodland and hedgerows for sustenance until we help them out a bit. We have a roost of Wrens over our bedroom window (behind a beam they are, over the actual ceiling part of the window. I counted 86 going to bed one night. 86!!!

Frugal in Derbyshire said...

Good count! I'm ashamed to say that I forgot the birdwatch this year. We were out all of Saturday and had people here all of sunday, so I forgot.
Thanks for offering to send me some good weather, much appreciated !
take care and don't overdo things

angryparsnip said...

Love your bird count. How lovely !
I don't feel the birds, I wish I did but can't because of the pack rats and other critters but I so enjoy
watching them.

cheers, parsnip

Tom Stephenson said...

I thought you were playing my game for a minute, Weave.

Gwil W said...

Tom means he saw a red headed warbler and a black headed gull. At least something like that, I think he means. Of course I may well be wrong, Pat.

Cloudia said...

how delightful to experience it through your nice post

ALOHA from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral
> < } } ( ° >

Arija said...

Some time ago I posted my leek & potato bake with pictures but I am sir you won't need them.
In a deep baking dish, mix together diced potatoes, sliced leeks and a few slices of a nice juicy ham (diced). Pour over a generous quantity of cream (or cream & milk,but cream works better. Bake covered at approx. 350F for about an hour or until the spuds are cooked. Grate cheese over the top (optional) and pop in oven (uncovered) until cheese has melted. Serve with a green salad or not.

If you take three good sized leeks & a pounds or so of potatoes ( I like the red ones) you will have enough for 4 big eaters or 4 small eaters and bubble & squeak. Great for your present weather.
It will take near to half a pint or 300ml of cream.
It is so easy to make and the time it takes in the oven gives you time to make the salad and have a rest.

Cro Magnon said...

We used to have a pair of doves that gathered all the dropped seeds from beneath our feeder, but now the hens have discovered the feast, and the doves have gone elsewhere. C'est la vie!

Heather said...

We regularly count a dozen or more chaffinches and are in the middle of a housing development. Glad you are not too much affected by the snow. It rained here very heavily again during the night and is raining again now. My heart goes out to those in Somerset whose homes are ruined, and to the farmers who are having to feed their livestock at huge expense. There are probably many other businesses in dire straits too.

Crafty Green Poet said...

I've seen very large groups of chaffinches too, they do like to congregate.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks for calling. One of the sheep succumbed to the wet today, going down on its back legs and unable to get up. It has been taken indoors to keep warm and given an injection - so hope it recovers.

mumasu said...

When we lived in our old house which was in the counbtryside we got gangs of goldfinches. I used to have a lavender hedge that flanked the drive and one late afternoon I counted 37 feeding on it. It seemed amazing to me that the lavender would support the weight of the birds but I guess they're quite light.