Look who called in for breakfast at our feeding station this morning. This is a red-legged partridge - not native to this country but introduced as a game bird some years ago.
My bird identification book was published in 1972 and at that time
the red-leg was listed as being only present in Spain, parts of France and the extreme South east corner of England. Now it is all over the UK, although not all that plentiful. I have seen them before in the area, but never in our garden - so what a nice surprise.
She came, ate quickly at the wheat the farmer had scattered for our visiting pheasants, and then was gone. This suggests she may have a nest nearby and was just leaving it for long enough to have a drink and a quick meal. I do hope so.
As far as the pheasants are concerned, one cock pheasant never leaves the lawn and trees at the side of the kitchen window. He is moulting, his job is done for the year, there is plentiful food on hand, so he wanders up and down aimlessly all day. He has recently been joined by one hen pheasant, who rejects all his advances. She is alone and we suspect that she has lost her nest to predators. Nature is so cruel. Once a predator has found a nest of eggs they will remove them one by one and the poor old hen will be able to do nothing to stop it.
Other than that there are baby birds everywhere, beaks agape, waiting on branches for mum to push down food. Yesterday the farmer severely pruned a fir tree, lopping off many of the lower branches. It has opened up a very dark part of the garden but I suspect some of the babies will be searching for somewhere to sit and wait for breakfast this morning.