How Sharp Are Your Eyes?

Mine are not very good, when it comes to birdwatching…

Second question: What Colour is a Magpie?Magpie for RSPB Garden Bird Watch 2017

I wonder how many of you have spotted that flash of blue on the wings?
My immediate answer was a confident ‘black and white’, but seen close up, like so many of our British birds, the magpie is more beautiful than it usually appears.

Dunnock at Crown CottageIn the same way, the little dunnock which always looks a very nondescript grey, has a lovely blue-grey breast. And before you think I am a bird expert, let me disabuse you: any knowledge is second hand, gleaned from John’s fairly extensive knowledge, his sharp eyes and his beautiful photos.

But poor John has been rather disheartened of late – after many months of putting up feeders the Winster birds are only just beginning to venture into our garden. We were spoiled at Orchard Farm, because by the time we left there were always masses of birds, giving us and our holiday cottage guests enormous pleasure.

As we have done for many years now, we did the RSPB Garden Bird Watch, yesterday afternoon. I say we, actually it was John that sat outside in the garden at Crown Cottage, muffled up to the eyeballs against the cold. It was pretty brisk and chilly.

A very small tally for us this year
A very small tally for Crown Cottage
Unlike our enormous tallies for recent years, he only managed to log a total of 8 birds in all.

A Goldcrest in our garden
The Goldcrest
A few months ago the tally might have been even smaller. Things are certainly looking up; rather frustratingly, after John had finished the hour’s RSPB watch he spotted the most beautiful little Goldcrest here in the Crown Cottage garden! So that was a triumph! Apparently they are the tiniest bird seen in the UK, and pretty common, but relatively rarely seen as far as we are concerned – maybe just because they are so tiny.

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Marion Fuller-Sessions

Recently retired after a busy and varied career, now retired and downsized in theory and enjoying more time for family, friends etc, keeping in touch via my blog

5 thoughts on “How Sharp Are Your Eyes?”

  1. Lovely to hear from you Tim, as always, and praise from you is praise indeed! I’ll pass your comments on to John. The photos are lovely, aren’t they? They give one a much better idea of the colour and characteristics of the birds than one sees with the naked eye.

  2. Marion ,
    Unlike you we have not moved.
    Tomorrow is our hour of bird watching. We are expecting a lower number of birds than previous years.
    I have cabbages and broad bean foliage unprotected and nothing has been near the plants since October. Even the house sparrows who play in our garden hedge are hiding.
    Dawn chorus …where are you?
    Best wishes to you both.

    1. Derek and Jenny, how lovely to hear from you, too. It’s interesting – almost worrying- that your bird population is also down – we assumed in our case it was because we had moved, and to a garden that had been a home to a cat. We’ll learn more when we hear the Garden Bird Watch findings from the RSPB. At least your veg is safe! Wait until the fruit bushes are ripe…

  3. We too have been disappointed by the lack of birds visiting our feeders. This week, a few bluetits, coaltits, sparrows, and a lone chaffinch stopped by, but it is months since we have seen any goldfinches, which were so abundant last year. To add insult to injury, the unwanted arrival of a large black moggy in the neighbourhood has resulted in a dead robin on the garden path.
    I recently encountered a friend in the village scrubbing out her seed containers in the hope of enticing more birds. She did say her neighbour was getting more visitors than she was. We put out both husked sunflower seeds and hearts which a squirrel tries unsuccessfully to filch. His or her contortions are comical to behold.
    I suspect the birds are thoroughly confused by global warming and may start to nest build too early, before there is food available for them, and they are liable to be caught in a sudden cold snap. Also, there were quite a few birds of prey circling the skies above Parwich last year.

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