A party of about 20 Siskin passed through, though only a female stopped off in our garden. Three Blue Tits kept visiting the sunflower hearts, a Great Tit was eating the suet, and a Coal Tit appeared occasionally. Up to six Blackbirds were in the neighbourhood, but only two or three were seen in the garden together, and then they were often chasing one another. A dozen or so Long-tailed Tits passed through, though only a couple stopped in the garden. There were up to 110 - yes, 110 - Starlings in the garden one day; they cleared the bird tables and garden of food in no time at all. The House Sparrows were still peaking at about 40 birds. Two Greenfinches - one male and one female - fed on black sunflower seeds on the odd time they visited. The Robin continued to be a regular visitor and the Dunnock returned after a brief absence. The Grey Heron rested for a while on a neighbour's roof and ignored the Magpies that mobbed it, the latter having become infrequent visitors to the garden. A Tawny Owl was calling at night time. Solitary Mistle Thrush, Redwing and Fieldfare were seen in neighbour's gardens, and a Song Thrush visited the garden to feed on Cotoneaster berries. The male Great Spotted Woodpecker returned, feeding mostly on the suet feeders. A couple of Wood mice made their home underneath the waterfall and were often seen feeding underneath the hanging bird feeders.
A couple of Coal Tits were seen daily in the garden, dashing about, taking sunflower seeds and stashing them away in the tops of garden canes, hanging baskets, etc. Up to 3 Blue Tits and 2 Great Tits were feeding on peanuts and sunflower hearts. A male and female Blackbird were regular early birds, feeding on the lawn and ground table - taking sultanas and raisins. A Mistle Thrush was seen in a neighbour's tree. A flight of about 200 Fieldfares flew westwards on the 3rd day of the month. There were up to 40 Starlings visiting the ground table, peanut and suet feeders, but they do not stay for very long, and more often than not there were only half a dozen birds. The House Sparrows continued to feed and socialise, with more than 30 birds gathering in the shrubs and small trees. A Dunnock and female Chaffinch were seen occasionally on the ground among the shrubs. The bold Robin continued to visit the garden, feeding mainly on the ground, but often coming right up to the house and windowsill. The Robin also bathed in the bird bath, along with the House Sparrows. One Wood Pigeon and up to 3 Collared Doves visited, one of the latter having mastered perching on the sunflower seed feeder's tray, which has now been removed. A flight of approximately 300 Wood Pigeons flew over on 6 November towards the Peak District. Two superb Goldcrests stopped off briefly on a couple of occasions to feed in the conifers before moving on to neighbour's trees. There were also two Wrens seen regularly - within hours of placing a roosting pocket on a fence, they were seen going in and out, though I do not think they were roosting in it. The Grey Heron was seen several times in the neighbourhood, but only once in the garden, being harassed unsuccessfully by Carrions Crows and Magpies. A female Sparrowhawk attacked the House Sparrows one day, but was unsuccessful.
The large mixed flock of Tits, including about 30 to 40 Long-tailed Tits, continued to feed in the neighbourhood, with up to 3 Blue Tits, 2 Coal Tits and 3 Great Tits being regular visitors to the peanuts and sunflower hearts. The House Sparrows were still feeding and socialising, though their number fell to about 3 dozen birds. Two Goldfinches visited occasionally. The Robin, which is a much bolder bird than we have had in recent times, was feeding on the lawn and coming right up to the house. Several boisterous Magpies and Jays were in the neighbourhood. Up to 2 Wrens were seen in the morning and evening feeding among the plants. One Starling dropped in occasionally for a drink of water or some peanuts, though eleven Starlings descended on the garden on 26 October - that was the most we had seen for 6 months. A Grey Heron was flying around early in the morning, and visited the garden on one occasion with an escort of disgruntled Magpies and Carrion Crows. A Grey Wagtail was seen feeding on roofs and in gutters. The Great Spotted Woodpecker continued to visit the peanuts. A pair of Goldcrests visited briefly several times before continuing to feed in neighbours' trees. The number of Blackbirds seems to be building, with up to 6 in the garden. Fifty to 60 Redwings flew over the garden, heading south, on 12 October, with two to three dozen seen in the local woods. A Cormorant flew over the garden on 28th, after the gales. A female Chaffinch started to visit the garden, feeding underneath the shrubs, together with a Dunnock. A Greenfinch visited the peanut feeder briefly one day.
A female Sparrowhawk continued to patrol the skies and garden, as did an infrequent Kestrel. House Sparrows visited daily with up to 40 or so birds in the garden at any time. A mixed flock of Tits - Long-tailed Tits, Blue Tits, Great Tits and Coal Tits - passed through regularly, with up to 8 Blue Tits, a Great Tit, 2 Coal Tits and 2 Long-tailed Tits stopping off in the garden. A couple of Goldfinches fed regularly on sunflower hearts and niger. A Robin started to visit the garden. A couple of Swallows flew through during the second weekend of the month. The juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker returned. Blackbirds and Starlings were feeding on the berries of a neighbour's Elder tree. A couple of Blackbirds were the early birds most mornings, feeding on the lawn. A Wren was seen occasionally, but heard almost daily. A leaf warbler (most likely a Willow Warbler or Chiffchaff) was been seen in a neighbour's garden.
A Sparrowhawk caught a House Sparrow and a juvenile Goldfinch, though the latter somehow managed to escape its grasp. The juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker continued to visit for the first few days of the month. The party of Long-tailed Tits continues to be seen and heard in the neighbourhood. The numbers of House Sparrows visiting peaked at about 60 birds. A juvenile Blackcap was seen early one morning. Goldfinches continued to visit, but in fewer numbers. A Nuthatch flew through and a Robin was glimpsed a few days. A party of 6 Blue Tits visited, but more usually only one or two are seen. The Swifts disappeared for a while at the beginning of the month after several miserable days of incessant rain, but then reappeared - no Swifts were seen after 19th August.
Up to 12 Goldfinches, including juveniles, were regular feeders. A couple of juvenile Great Tits visited throughout July. The Blackbirds were still around, but there was no sign of juveniles until the end of the month. A Coal Tit put in an occasional appearance. A couple of Blue Tits fed on the peanuts - one was a juvenile, the other an adult. A few Starlings continued to visit - but only one or two were juveniles. Up to 3 Jays were seen flying around the neighbourhood, and up to 7 Magpies, mostly juveniles were "loitering with intent" and enjoying undoing the string tying the runner beans to the garden canes. Lots of House Sparrows, up to about 37 birds, many being juveniles were in the garden, feeding, bathing and preening. A party of about 20 Long-tailed Tits was seen passing through. An adult Dunnock was feeding a youngster in the garden. A Sparrowhawk made a couple of unsuccessful chases for sparrows and a magpie! A Grey Heron was seen in neighbours' gardens early in the mornings. A juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker visited the peanuts several times a day.
Some House Sparrows seemed to be on their second brood, and there were already good numbers of juveniles visiting the garden, feeding and bathing. The bathing antics of the sparrows, however, were eclipsed by those of the juvenile Starlings, though there seemed fewer juveniles this year. A male Greenfinch visited the peanuts occasionally, but up to 4 Goldfinches were regular feeders; feeding on niger, sunflower hearts and even peanuts. Two Coal Tits were frantically hiding sunflower seeds in the hanging baskets and anywhere else they could find at the beginning of the month. Magpies reappeared and in larger numbers as they had their young with them and kept the male Blackbird busy defending its territory. Wood Pigeons continued to be a pest; feeding was temporarily reduced to discourage them. The Wrens were seen flitting about the bushes and an adult Robin was glimpsed on a neighbour's garden.
The first Swifts were seen on 12th May, about a week later than in recent years. A surprise visitor was a Grey Heron; just happened to notice it flying away with its legs dangling, so not sure whether it was about to land and took fright or whether it had been in the garden a while. The pair of Blackbirds continued to visit the garden for food, and male regularly had fights with another male Blackbird, but the latter has moved on. A couple of Blue Tits visited occasionally. The Robins were still about at the beginning of the month, but not seen in the garden. There were fewer Starlings visiting, and no juveniles. Goldfinches and Greenfinches visited occasionally: feeding on seed and drinking water from the bird bath. A Wren routinely "shouted" at the crack of dawn. Neither Magpies nor Jays were seen much. There were lots of fledgling House Sparrows in the garden being fed by their parents. A male Bullfinch flew through mid-month. Late in the month, a Kestrel was seen hovering over the gardens. Wood Pigeons became a nuisance having mastered perching on the bird seed feeders and so devouring vast quantities.
Pair of Blackbirds nested in Photinia, but Magpies raided the nest for the eggs. The male Blackbird lost its footing on the waterfall one day and finished up in the pond and had to be rescued. The pair of Blue Tits continued to visit, but lost interest in the nest box. Two Robins were about, but only seen one at a time. One visited regularly, gathering caterpillars, suet, etc., before flying away with its beak full. A Mistle Thrush visited occasionally, but the Song Thrushes were not seen or heard. The Magnificent Seven - the Starlings - spent most of their time bathing, splashing water everywhere. House Sparrows started to gather nest material, when they were not fighting. One fight between several birds left one House Sparrow dead. A Greenfinch fed on the sunflower seeds, while up to 4 Goldfinches visited the niger seed and sunflower heart feeders. A Wren routinely "shouted" at the crack of dawn. The Magpies visit rarely, but the Jays continued to take peanuts. A female Sparrowhawk was observed circling overhead, causing much alarm at ground level. There were a couple of unconfirmed sightings of Common Buzzard.
A pair of Blue Tits continued to feed in the garden and frequently inspected one of the nest boxes. Two Robins appeared, but there was very little falling out, and by the end of the month one was routinely seen gathering food and flying away with it, perhaps to feed its mate or brood. The Dunnock was rarely seen. Up to 7 Blackbirds continued to visit, but this soon changed when pair set up territory and built their nest in one of the bushes. The Song Thrush could be heard singing from dawn at the start of the month, taking over from the Mistle Thrush that was singing most mornings and evenings during February. The 7 Starlings continued to feed and bathe, most being in their breeding plumage. Fewer House Sparrows were seen in the garden, but the chirping was non-stop. A pair of Great Tits and a flock of about a dozen Long-tailed Tits were seen, though only a couple of the latter ventured in to the garden. A pair of Greenfinches visited the sunflower seed occasionally, and a pair of Bullfinches appeared briefly in a neighbour's garden. Almost on cue, a pair of Goldfinches started to visit and feed on the niger seed. A couple of Wrens visited and squabbled when they met. The Jays and Magpies were still visiting, but not as often.
Strong winds and heavy rain throughout the month, but the occasional spring-like day seemed to put some of the birds in the mood for staking claim to territories or house hunting. Two Blue Tits were regular feeders and visitors to one of the nest boxes. The Robin was suddenly faced by a rival Robin one day, but it saw it off. Up to 8 Blackbirds were in the area but only 7 visited the garden. The Song Thrush could be heard singing from dawn, but no longer seen in the garden. A couple of Mistle Thrushes were about, the male usually singing loudly from atop a neighbours tree. As many as 7 Starlings continued to feed and bathe, with the spots on their plumage giving way to iridescent purples and greens. Up to 40 or so House Sparrows continued to visit, but dwindled in number towards the end of the month; the males' black bibs started to be more distinct and their chirping more incessant. There were still no Great Tits, and Coal Tits and finches visited only infrequently. The Jays and Magpies continued to bring colour in to the garden, with the latter starting to squabble and establish their territories and hierarchy.
Snow, bitterly cold winds, and frozen ground at the beginning of the month gave way to milder weather. Up to 6 Blackbirds visited though about 10 were in the neighbourhood. A Song Thrush visited several times each day, feeding mostly on sultanas, raisins and soft grain (such as oats) on the ground table. A couple of Mistle Thrushes were about, but visited rarely. Seven Starlings were regular visitors: feeding in the morning and bathing in the afternoon; but a flock of about 50 birds descended on the garden one day. Up to about 40 House Sparrows kept feeding and socialising in the garden. The female Sparrowhawk was seen only at high altitude. Up to 3 Blue Tits fed on peanuts and sunflower seeds, but Great Tits and Coal Tits were rare sightings. A couple of Long-tailed Tits visited briefly one day. Jays continued to take peanuts. Hardly any finches about: one or two Greenfinches, Goldfinches and Chaffinches dropped in, but the highlight was a male Siskin and its comrades (3 females and a male, which remained in a neighbours tree). The faithful Robin continued to visit and still ignored the Dunnock.
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