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Sunday, 18 December 2016

Turned Out To Be A Good Garden Week! - 5th to 11th December, 2016

My last post (which you can find here) featured a splendid Monday 5th December, when we had a garden 'lifer' in the form of Green Woodpecker, and a 'year tick' with three Mistle Thrush. with Hedgehog and Great Spotted Woodpecker adding to the photographic opportunities.

I published that post on the following Saturday evening, little knowing that within 12 hours I'd have two prophetic 'year tick' sightings - I'll explain later!

Here's an account of the rest of the week, which for the most part was dull, grey, and damp, to the extent that the outside security lamps were operating even at mid-day every day:

WARNING: Mainly because of the weather, the following photography is rubbish but the images, such as they are, are there for the record.

Tuesday 6th December

Not a particularly auspicious day, with only 15 bird species setting foot in the garden. One Mistle Thrush was still with us, and the other item of excitement was a male Sparrowhawk, which left empty-handed.

Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) (male) - our garden on 6th December
Wednesday 7th December

We managed to up the number of bird species by one, to 16. Missing from the previous day was Sparrowhawk, with Great Tit (a bit elusive at the moment) and Stock Dove (a very infrequent visitor) making up the numbers. No photos from this day.

Thursday 8th December

We were out all day from 10h00 for a family meeting, so only clocked 8 species before we left. Again, no photos.

Friday 9th December

The day got off to a good start with three Goldcrest (previous life record for garden = 2) in the Rowan tree at 09h12. The light was dire that day! The fourth image, below, is there because I'm always amused by the glum face a Goldcrest shows from the front.

Goldcrest (Regulus regulus) - our garden on 9th December
At 10h36, a Mistle Thrush arrived. The light was a little better (but not much) by then.

Mistle Thrush (Turdus viscivorus) - our garden on 9th December
It didn't stay long, but returned briefly at 11h16 when the light was back to 'dire'.

We ended up with 16 species touching down in the garden that day.

Saturday 10th December

Again, the weather was extremely dull and a bit damp. The tally for the day was 18 species, including Mistle Thrush (2) and Stock Dove. The only birds I photographed, however, were Bullfinch and Goldfinch, through the glass of my study window. 

Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula) (male) - our garden on 10th December
Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) - our garden on 10th December
Sunday 11th December

It was late on the Saturday night that I'd published my previous post, at the end of which I'd said that we'd now matched our garden record of 38 species for the year, and "I only need a Fieldfare or a Redwing (for example) to break my garden record".

Less than 12 hours after writing that, at 08h27, a Redwing landed in the Rowan. It was only there for a few seconds, but I did have my camera with me and got a few misty record shots through the glass of  our bedroom window.

Redwing (Turdus iliacus) - our garden on 11th December
At 09h40, two Mistle Thrush arrived in the Rowan and started devouring what was left of the berries. Here's one.

Mistle Thrush (Turdus viscivorus) - our garden on 11th December
I had only just updated my last post to say we'd now had Redwing "now where's that Fieldfare?" when, less than 5 minutes later, a Fieldfare arrived!

Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris) - our garden on 11th December
The Fieldfare made a couple of visits but, once again, the weather was not on my side.

We ended up the day with a healthy 20 species putting a foot down in the garden. 

The Week

The weekly total amounted to 25 bird species, which equals our record (achieved on 4 previous occasions). Birds seen were:

Blackbird (10)
Bullfinch (1)
Chaffinch (9)
Dove, Collared (18)
Dove, Stock (1)
Dunnock (3)
Fieldfare (1)  (garden year tick)
Goldcrest (3)
Goldfinch (15)
Greenfinch (1)
Magpie (2)
Redwing (1)  (garden year tick)
Robin (2)
Sparrow, House (10)
Sparrowhawk (1)
Starling (8)
Thrush, Mistle (3)
Tit, Blue (2)
Tit, Coal (2)
Tit, Great (1)
Tit, Long-tailed (1)
Woodpecker, Great Spotted (1)
Woodpecker, Green (1)   (garden life tick!) 
Woodpigeon (12)
Wren (1)

Mammals seen:

Hedgehog (3) - yes, still not hibernating
Squirrel, Grey (2)

This week has been somewhat quieter with all but a few shrivelled berries gone from the Rowan. The last Fieldfare was on 12th December, and the last Mistle Thrush (3) and Redwing on 13th December. 

Today (18th December) we have, however, had the delight of our first garden Redpolls (2) of the winter.

Thank you for dropping by. Sorry about the quality of the images - unless we get some improved weather soon, there's not much prospect of any better ones in the near future!


  1. Didn't you do well, their a lots of birdies. Beautiful are Goldcrest and Mistle Thush, Richard, you are the top photography.

  2. Hi Richard, for the light levels you were having to deal with you have finished up with a super post, you still have some good images, When we were out on Thursday, having checked and deleted most of the images, I was shooting at ISO 1600 at 1/30 sec, you will have been coping with the same. Fingers crossed for some sun and see you hopefully Thursday bathed in sunshine. Regards John

    1. We have had some awful light conditions lately, John, and today is no better. I'm amazed that we've ended up with any images at all! Everything is now firmly crossed for our Thursday excursion.

      All the best - - - Richard

  3. Sadly only ever had Fieldfare turn up once when it snowed really heavy never had Redwing to date. Great to have them in the garden. Your note on grumpy looking Goldcrest made me chuckle as I have noticed the grumpy look too lol.
    Have a Good Christmas and even better 2017 Richard

    1. Snow certainly tends to bring the unusual to our garden too, Doug, but I don't see any sign of that happening anytime soon. Pal John tells me the bookies are not taking bets on a white Christmas this year but whether the temperature will be 15°C or more!

      It's great to see you back in Bloggerland with your latest post. I hope that you have a great Christmas, and much better luck in 2017 - - - Richard

  4. You've done very well with large numbers of Garden visitors Richard,very impressive,not had Green Woodpecker in our Garden,would love to, or Stock Dove,and never had Redpoll.
    We live in hope.

    1. We've been exceedingly lucky with garden visitors, John. Redpoll visit us every year, but this year was particularly special with a flock of 25 on 26th March - something that I'm sure will never be repeated.

      I hope that you both have a wonderful Christmas, and wish you all the best for 2017 - - - Richard

  5. I guess the moral of this story, Richard, is that everyone should plant a rowan! Your new header shot is quite spectacular.

    1. Good point, David. I think that if I plant any more trees in the garden, Rowan, or another of the Sorbus genus, will be favourite. I'm currently looking for a place to plant Sorbus 'Pink Pagoda'. Although a cultivar, the berries are much-loved by Waxwings!

      My very best wishes to you and Miriam for a wonderful Christmas and a healthy and prosperous 2017 - - - Richard

  6. Hello Richard,
    Well taking photos through a window is difficult enough so if one adds dull weather, it becomes a miracle to get these shots!!
    A special congrats for the fieldfare, one thrush I am dying to see one day!
    And that male Bullfinch is fabulous, you got him so well!
    Keep well, Richard, and enjoy your afternoon :)

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Noushka. We usually see quite a lot of Fieldfares in winter here, but photographing them is not usually easy as they tend to be very nervous birds.

      Take good care, and keep warm - - - Richard

  7. Hello Richard. You have had a fantastic observation! Merry Christmas!

    1. Thank you, Anne - a Very Merry Christmas to you, and the family, too. - - - Richard

  8. Excellent selection Richard. The male Bullfinch steals the show for me, a cracking couple of shots of them.

    1. Thank you, Marc. I'm lucky that the Bullfinch came so close - possibly only about 4 metres - otherwise I'd have totally failed in the bad light.

      Best wishes for the festive season - - - Richard

  9. Hi Richard,
    really wonderful to see these pictures.
    The openignsfoto emt the hawk is really super !!
    I also see goldcrests, thrush, bullfinch and goldfinch and then also a Redwing and Fieldfare.
    You're a lucky man you saw so much :-)
    I enjoyed it.

    Greetings, Helma

    For you and all your loved ones around you, some very merry Christmas and all the best for 2017. We can and should again enjoy each other's natural beauty moments in the new year.

    1. Thank you so much for those very kind words, Helma. I've much appreciated your visits and your comments on my blog. I'm looking forward to your blog posts in 2017.

      With my very best wishes to you and Henk for the festive season - - - Richard

  10. wonderful to see what you found to photograph and enjoy.
    I am hearing birds in my trees, but they have not found my feeders yet, it has been over a week. Well the Downy and Hairy's have found the suet..... not sure why the others haven't except that it was SO cold. I look forward to watching them at the feeders, not that the bears are asleep.

    1. Don't loose heart over the birds not finding your feeders yet, Tammie. They will soon, and then they'll be very grateful for your generosity. It's remarkable that the woodpeckers are the first to find your restaurant. I hope that the bears don't find the food before the rest of the birds do!

      With my best wishes to you for the festive season - - - Richard


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