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Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Garden Birds - March, 2015

I keep daily records of the birds visiting our garden ('back yard' to those from the other side of the pond), and March is usually an interesting month. Many of our winter visitors are starting to leave, and a few birds are passing through on migration. This has been a bit of a funny old year, however. We've had far less in the way of winter visitors - which seems to be the case countrywide, possibly due to less snow and more food than usual further north. Added to this, migration seems to be happening somewhat later than usual, probably due to cool, wet, and very windy weather. There have, nevertheless, been some highlights, although photography has been difficult, also due to the weather.

We usually only get a couple of brief visits by Treecreeper each year. This year we had Treecreeper visit us continually for a few days making us wonder if we were going to have a breeding pair. This bird was unsure of its own identity and ranged from Wallcreeper to Fencecreeper, to Sundialcreeper, to Patiocreeper, and occasionally Treecreeper. It also seemed to spend a lot more time horizontal than most Treecreepers. Sadly the last sighting was on 29th March.

Treecreeper\PCerthia familiaris) - our garden on 1st March, 2015

Treecreeper (Certhia familiaris) - our garden on 2nd March, 2015
Treecreeper (Certhia familiaris) - our garden on 4th March, 2015
I've already publishes images of the aberrant orange Chaffinch that visited us on 2nd March. Here's a reminder. I kept an eye open for a few days, but didn't see it return.

Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) (aberrant female) - our garden on 2nd March
Lesser Redpoll have been very thin on the ground this year, compared to previous years. We peaked at two on 3rd March. Here's a couple of images from that day. No, the second image has not been manipulated to any great degree!

Lesser Redpoll (Carduelis cabaret) (male) - our garden on 3rd March
We used to have regular visits by Grey Wagtail, and occasionally Pied Wagtail, in winter when we had the large pond, but their visits completely stopped when I filled in the pond over five years ago. Suddenly this winter we started getting regular visits by both species, usually in bad weather. The last recorded visit by Grey Wag was on 3rd March, and by Pied Wag on 17th March.

Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea) - our garden during its last visit on 3rd March
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba ssp. yarelli) - our garden on 4th March
We do, of course, have plenty of common birds in our garden. The Collared Doves, together with their relatives the Woodpigeons, are responsible for consuming most of the bird food in the garden.

Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto) - our garden on 4th March
It's always delightful to see a Wren in the garden. They're probably there most days, but often missed due to their secretive nature.

Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) - our garden on 6th March
After eight days on holiday in North Yorkshire in the middle of the month, we came back to find some changes had taken place. Blackcap is a rather rare visitor to our garden with a record number of sightings (3!) in 2014. Amazingly, these have always been males. We'd already had 7 sightings in 2015 (Jan/Feb/Mar) before we went away but we came back to find we'd got a male in the garden for almost as much time as when he was away! It became exciting for us when he brought a lady friend on 17th March - the first female we'd ever seen in the garden! Things got silly, however, when on 25th, 26th, and 27th he arrived with two females. Sadly, on 28th, only a solitary female Blackcap showed. She showed again a couple more times and then she too was gone. Here are a few record shots.

Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) - our garden on 17th March

Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) (male) - our garden on 22nd March

Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) (female) - our garden on 25th March
For the past two years we've had a pair of Stock Doves visit our garden at the beginning of June. This year they turned up early (on 17th March) and are still visiting. I really must try and get some decent images which show the fabulous iridescence on their necks.

Stock Dove (Columba oenas) - our garden on 17th March
I'll finish off this post with some images of our more common, but nevertheless cherished, visitors.

Dunnock (Prunella modularis) - our garden on 20th March

Blue Tit (Parus caeruleus) - our garden on 20th March

Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) - our garden on 20th March
Magpie (Pica pica) - our garden on 25th March

Coal Tit (Parus ater) - our garden on 27th March
That's all for the March garden birds. April is already a different month birdwise, with late Brambling and Siskin showing up, and Reed Bunting making welcome visits.

Thank you for dropping by. I'm not currently sure what the next post will be - possibly back to the owls!