With the exception of a short trip out, the week was mostly spent at home, catching up on some jobs while the weather was not overly favourable. Again, it was a relatively quiet week, but there were a couple of highlights, one of which you will have guessed from the header if you are reading this whilst this post is current.
Monday, 8th March
It was a good day for garden birds, with the highlights being the female Blackcap, four Siskin (2 male, 2 female), a Long-tailed Tit, and a female Reed Bunting. Only the last of these was caught on camera, and not with any great success.
Tuesday, 9th March
|Reed Bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus) (female) - garden on 8th March, 2021|
This day was a little less exciting in the garden, but I did manage a few photos which will help put some flesh on the bones of this post.
|Siskin (Spinus spinus) (female) - garden on 9th March, 2021|
|Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) - garden on 9th March, 2019|
I'd been booked to meet up with our daughter, Melanie, that afternoon. She lives aproximately 50 miles away, but the visit was still within the rules as, technically, we are in a 'bubble' with her and this was a mutual support meet-up. There's a quiet place at about the half-way mark where we can park opposite each other with about 4 or 5 metres between us and have a chat whilst sitting in our cars. Lindsay was not with me, but she encouraged me to take my camera with me, just in case I decided to stop off somewhere on the way home - something that I hadn't intended to do.
In the event, I set off after a very early lunch, taking my camera and binoculars with me. Melanie and I had a lovely chat session for nearly an hour and a half before it was time that we were on our way once more, with Melanie needing to get back to our granddaughter.
As I had not been out since 27th February, and felt in need of some exercise and a 'comfort stop', I decided, therefore, to call in at my local patch on my way home for a walk. It was an enjoyable but unproductive walk and I was within 50 metres of reaching my car when I spotted a suspicious shape which caused me to raise my binoculars to check it out - a Little Owl!!! This was at my Little Owl site No.02 and was the first time that I have found an owl here since 27th December, 2017. It is also sad to reflect on the fact that this was my first owl of 2021.
Thank you, Lindsay, for persuading me to take the camera!
|Little Owl (Athene noctua) - my LO Site No.02|
Wednesday, 10th March
The highlight this day was when I went into my study and spotted a Sparrowhawk with prey, on the ground about 13 metres away. I picked up my camera and fired off a few shots without time to check my settings before Lindsay, who was in the conservatory, banged on the window and sent it away, carrying its prey with it.
I went up the garden and, to my dismay, saw a mass of small grey feathers, some with red-brown ends, and immediately came to the conclusion that our female Blackcap, which had been very much in evidence a little earlier, had been taken as the spot was close to one of her two favourite haunts. I was so convinced that I mourned her demise on Twitter!
It was the next day, when I thought I'd like some of her feathers as a memento and went up the garden to get them, that I started thinking that something was not right, as there were a few wing feathers with black and white on amongst the mass of grey feathers. I then had a look at the photos I'd managed to get and found one that relatively clearly shows the head of a male Chaffinch. I'm delighted to say that the Blackcap is still visiting, but I suspect she witnessed the episode as she seems less frequent and less settled when she is here. If you look carefully to the left of the Sparrowhawk's left foot in the first photo, you can see the head of the Chaffinch.
Saturday, 13th May
|Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) (male) with Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) (male) - garden on 10th March, 2021|
I'd not spent much time looking at the birds in the garden for a few days, but I did grab a few shots of Siskin when we had four of them (2 x male + 2 x female) visit on this day. I know recent posts from me have tended to feature Siskin quite a lot, but I do not have too much else to offer!
Sunday, 14th March
|Siskin (Spinus spinus) (male) - garden on139th March, 2021|
This day was Mothers Day in UK and, as a visit from our daughter was not possible, we'd decided on a picnic lunch for the two of us as the regulations now allowed this. In the event, we settled for a trip out to sit in the countryside with coffee and a bit of cake for a short while in the morning.
Before this, however, during breakfast in the conservatory, we had a passing visit to the garden by a male Reed Bunting, and I managed a record shot.
|Reed Bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus) (male) - garden on 14th March, 2021|
For our coffee and cake we headed to my 'local patch' where there is a convenient place to park the car on a quiet country lane. We didn't stay long, and not much was seen, but it was good to see a distant male Yellowhammer which I was able to grab a shot of from the car.
|Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella) (male) - my local patch|
Back at home in the afternoon, the two Stock Doves visited (as usual) and, unusually, arrived outside my study window. I'm guessing that these are a pair, but I have no idea which is the male and which is the female. The first image is of one of the birds and put in here purely to show the wonderful irridescence on the neck feathers. The second image is of the other bird and, I think, conveys the elegance of this species.
|Stock Dove (Columba oenas) - garden on 14th March, 2021|
Thus ended a week of sightings that were a little sparse, but not without excitement. I can cope with matters at this level. This week however, looks as if it is going to be rather different with family health issues (no, not Covid related) which have been causing much concern and distraction.
Until the next time, which will probably be in a week's time, take good care and stay safe. Thank you for dropping by - - - Richard