Friday, 10 June 2011

more back garden birding

The back garden was busy with birds this morning around 09:00 after I had restocked the bird table with seed, and topped up the flower pots with mealworms.

Four blackbirds (Turdus merula) comprising the resident ad ♂, two young birds grading into adult moult, and an obviously imm bird with the light brown speckled chest. A definite "pecking order" was apparent with the adult ♂ chasing off the younger three birds, and the youngest bird only getting food when the others were not around.

Counted 13 (prob 15) house sparrow (Passer domesticus) including 5 (poss 7) juveniles. They were very motile making an exact count impossible.

A single starling (Sturnus vulgaris) made repeated sorties filling it's beak to bursting before flying off over the roof-tops. It's presence made the sparrows very jumpy. I suspect it may be feeding young on the nest, having that frantic look of a new parent about it?

I noticed three recently fledged blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus), sitting with the young sparrows on the trellis of my neighbour's garden, they didn't venture into the garden but flew off into a nearby tree. Although, an adult made its way onto the bird table shortly afterward.

This is the week of the RSPB nature count garden survey (June 4th - June 12th). The survey is similar to the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, comprising a point count of garden birds over a single hour, but with additional information requested regarding other taxa which visit the garden on a regular basis; see: 

I plan on conducting my survey tomorrow morning, around the same time, having restocked the food reserves.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

recently fledged sparrows (Passer domesticus L.)

Earlier in the day we had watched three imm. sparrow and 2 ad ♀ sparrow feeding on the bird table. The young birds gaping and begging in order to be fed by the ads. My effort to photograph the activity, only succeeded in flushing the birds.

However, this time a full washing line, provided an impromptu hide from behind which I could snap these two young house sparrow as they settled on the back wall of the garden  - you can clearly see the yellow of their gape.

( N.b. The lighting of these photos is a little odd because of the haze of the washing line in the foreground).

Thursday, 2 June 2011

garden biodiversity - a welcome respite from exam revision

This is the first time that I have seen the collared dove (Streptopelia decaocto) feeding as a family group on the bird table. The two adults arrived first, shortly followed by a first and then second juvenile.

Underneath the bird table a house mouse (Mus domesticus) foraged blatantly in the full afternoon sun. Running swiftly to and fro from its lair beneath the decking, and taking cover under the flower-pots whilst it fed.

The scabious (Scabiosa cultivar) is in full purple flower attracting a variety of pollinators (including this unidentified bee species).

A single holly blue (Celastrina argiolus) butterfly patrolled the garden, alighting albeit briefly on the redcurrent bush and displaying its distinctive patterning of black spots.