Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Coal Tit and other seed-eaters

Local patch: it is quite lively out in the garden these days. A great movement of birds is concentrated around the birdfeeder - a movement I never witnessed before here. Tits and finches are building up in numbers (a big increase in birds compared to the last two years). Most are Great Tits (up to 15 together) with quite variable interspecific feather colouring. Some are bright yellow, others are more pale-whitish on the underparts (suggesting a northern origin?) and one today had some heavy leucistic feathers.
Blue Tits usually come with up to 3 birds at a time and are quite aggressive towards other species.
But best of all is of course the Coal Tit. Since yesterday a bird (maybe not always the same one) is regularly coming to take seeds at the feeder, as well as to hang on the fatball. Today it amazed me with some curious behaviour: it stored (or hid) several sunflower seeds into a rose's flower. Probably a kind of winter storage. I also noticed that while picking up the seeds it was quite choosy and threw several on the ground before finding the preferred one.
Pics below: the partially leucistic Great Tit and a Blue Tit. Here a short video of the movement at the feeder.
As for the ground birds, Chaffinches are the commonest with something between 5-10 birds on the lawn. A few (almost rare) House Sparrows are also around since I began to put the seeds on the ground as well. Chaffinches in particular, never seem to like the idea of climbing up the feeder to take the seeds.
One or two Blackbirds are also present on the lawn, along with the usual Robin that comes to inspect the situation. Two Blackaps are regular in the nearby bushes and a Dunnock is heard occasionally (not numerous this year). Today a good addition was a Goldcrest on the pine tree.
Yesterday I also had some Cirl Buntings calling nearby and a Hawfinch or two passing overhead.
Who knows what will the feeder attract in the coming weeks? Maybe a Brambling? Or maybe just a hungry Sparrowhawk...