Monday, 18 January 2010

Birds in the Snowy Garden

Thank god the snowy weather has finally ended. After the initial excitement of a decent snowfall in Oxford had worn off I spent much of the time worrying about how the birds were coping with the conditions. I even went a bought a load of new bird feeders and enough food to feed my usual garden visitors for the whole year in a bid to do my bit. I've deployed a Nyger feeder now which is being much appreciated by our regular visiting goldfinches with a peak count of nine birds in our small garden. Apples have also been a great discovery for me: I know that it's common advice but until this cold snap I'd not actually got around to putting some out but some apple halves judiciously placed around the garden or impaled on some nails that I put in the top of our trellis have really brought the thrushes in with up to four blackbirds, a song thrush, several redwings and two fieldfares all taking advantage of them. Also I've finally had blackcaps actually feeding in the garden: in the past they've merely passed through but they have been much enjoying the apples and it's been great to watch them feeding away. In addition to these birds there have been a regular flock of six starlings as well as a couple of chaffinches, a dunnock, two greenfinches, an occasional coal tit but surprisingly just one blue tit and one great tit - normally there are more tits around in the garden so I hope they've managed to survive the cold spell ok.

I recently bought a new camera, a Panasonic Lumix TZ7, not particularly for birding but simply in order to take everyday snaps. It has 10Megapixels and an amazing 12x optical zoom. My desk where I work looks out onto the back garden and I've been taking snaps through the (rather dirty) glass window if I see anything interesting and some of them have come out OK. It's never going to compete with a DSLR or get the magnification of digiscoping but it's useful to take a quick record shot. Below are a few of my shots.

I hadn't seen a song thrush in the garden for a while now so it was nice to have this one pay us a visit.

This greater spotted woodpecker visited a few times but never seemed to stay very long.

Fieldfares are very smart birds and it was a pleasure to have a couple in the garden

One of the two visiting blackcaps feeding on an impaled apple

With the laid-back approach to listing this year there are just a few additions to the year lists to note:

National 2010
066 great spotted woodpecker 07/01/2010 Garden
067 treecreeper 14/01/2010 Oxford Canal
068 goldcrest 14/01/2010 Oxford Canal

Oxon 2010
062 great spotted woodpecker 07/01/2010 Garden
063 treecreeper 14/01/2010 Oxford Canal
064 goldcrest 14/01/2010 Oxford Canal

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