Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Birdies in the Snow

We’ve had a fair few visitors today, not as many species as I had hoped for though but it is likely that some must’ve popped in without me realising as I didn’t spend long enough watching the birds.
I’d hoped to see the Redpoll and Siskins again, but no signs of either. I did catch a brief glimpse of a Song Thrush but the photos were just too poor to post.

Very blue… taken early morning in poor light… whoops.

A Goldfinch surveys the garden

The Rose shrub has almost been flattened

Bullfinch and friends come in for breakfast

The Blackbirds are also hungry

At times I had up to 7 just in my garden, not even counting them also in neighbouring gardens.

A Robin comes close, but is quickly chased off by the Blackbirds

Sparrows search for insects on a neighbour's house

Plenty of mouths to feed, this is why my seeds go down so quickly!

I have finally removed those bamboo canes for the Beans!! So now I may be more inclined to take shots of the birds… They were frozen into the soil and I snapped them out (by accident) so I guess they’ll be a few inches shorter next year… Whoops.

A charm of Goldfinch arrive...

Little wonder why they're called a 'charm'

For once they elbow out the Sparrows, who are left to collect fallen seeds on the ground.

The Robins are often seen on the feeders... They're fast learners!

Trees across the front

The City... See the hills to the right of the photo? That's the dry Ski slope... Guess they have the real thing now!

The snowman building didn't work out too well... The snow was powdering and we couldn't roll it. So I had to kind of scoop up the snow and mould it to shape. The heads were difficult to make but we got there in the end.

My Snowman.

My brother's snowman... Looks very worried!

Little carrot freshly plucked from the ground... The larger ones were frozen in!

We’ve had a couple of light snow showers during the day, but nothing major… I had hoped to take macro snowflake shots but there wasn’t enough to be able to find them easily. Another time maybe.

I hope the snow hasn't been too bad in your areas, and that you're all safe and warm!


Joanne said...

Lovely shots of the birds and I liked the snowman.

I did venture into the snow to rescue one or two shrubs that were weighed down and especially my standard bay which had broken away from their supports and bent right to the ground I do hope they survive.

Phoenix C. said...

Hello Liz. Nutty Gnome mentioned to me you were in Sheffield - I was there at Art College many years ago! Lots of happy memories - including steep streets up to Psalter Lane in the snow.

I like your photos, especially of the goldfinches. I did not know they were referred to as a 'charm' of goldfinches!

Happy New Year!

Carol said...

What a sweet snowman! I love your birds photos... so different from ours. I am guessing this is more snow than usual? Looks like you had fun!

Liz said...

Hi Joanne,

Thanks muchly :) I had looked forward to rolling the snowman around the garden, maybe next year!

I did some rescuing and now wish I'd done more - the cordyline for example... I did brush snow off the star magnolia and others though. I hope your plants survive, it's only now I'm beginning to get worried that some may not survive, I'm not yet experienced enough in gardening and protecting plants, I've always practiced tough love!

Liz said...

Hi Phoenix,

Thanks for visiting my blog, it's much appreciated!

I assume as you were at Psalter Lane you went to what's now Hallam Uni? I know in the early days it was originally an Art college before becoming a Poly and then a Uni...

One day I'll get some chairs in my summer house so I can sit comfortably and get closer shots of the birds... Maybe even put heating in there ;)

Liz said...

Hi Carol,

Yes, many parts of the UK are experiencing the worst snowfall in 30 years... This is why I don't think I've ever seen snow so deep (I'm not yet 30).
It's caused widespread disruption with many flights cancelled, trains derailed and so on.

It may not be much compared to parts of the US and central Europe but for a country which usually expects at most 5cm of snow a year (but usually gets around 2/3cm) this has caused many problems as we just don't have the infrastructure to cope.

patientgardener said...

I love the Goldfinches. I have had a Brambling and Redwing visit the garden which I havent seen before which was exciting. Been topping up the feeders regularly.

Anna said...

I enjoyed your photos of the birds - you are lucky to have so many finches visiting. It's been some time since we have seen any in our neck of the woods :(

ginny said...

hello Liz,
i love all your bird photos... the gold finches are so beautiful ... sadly with two cats i can't encourage the birds into the garden anymore...though the blue tits and blackbirds still visit (usually in the day when the cats are asleep inside). we have been making snowmen today too like many folk across the country .. the girls are off now for the rest of the week.. so i suspect there will be more snow building tomorrow.
hope you are all warm and cozy now,
ginny x

Joe said...

Hi Liz,

Great posting, and some excellent photos too. That Bullfinch looks as though he is particularly red. The one we saw in our garden a few weeks ago had more of a pinky front... interesting that the plumage colour varies from bird to bird.

Nice photo of the sparrows too, you captured them really well.

Anyway, have a great week, and take care in the snow! :-)

debsgarden said...

Your brother's snowman is very cute - the last time we had enough snow to build a snowman was 1993. We are expecting some snow tomorrow - an inch or two, which is enough to close the city down. I like the photos of the birds, especially the robin.

Cheryl said...

Hi Liz....tku for sharing the lovely bird pics, especially your bullfinch and the delightful goldfinch.

The blackbird shot has got to be the best though....I just love that photograph, it made me smile.

I have around a dozen blackbird in the garden at the moment. They are constantly fighting.....getting quite nasty at times...

We had a lot of snow last night. It took my husband five hours to get home (normally 30 minutes).
Minus 8 this morning but feels colder.......I am not liking this weather at all......

Liz said...

Hi Helen,

Lovely to see a Redwing, I haven’t seen any in my garden but I have seen/heard them in the park across from us, so you never know! Although I do suspect they will have formed a large flock and found food elsewhere instead.

I may battle my way around town today to get some seeds for the bird, I hope they haven’t all been bought already though!

Liz said...

Hi Anna,

Sorry to hear you don’t have many finches, I’m surprised actually as Goldfinch numbers have been booming over the past few years – a twitcher friend nearby said that 5/10 years ago you never would’ve seen Goldies near us but now there’s masses as they’re beginning to take advantage of garden feeders.
I don’t often get Chaffinches though, and yet they’re apparently very common, never have had them in any house I’ve ever lived in. The Greenfinch seem to have disappeared though, I had expected to see a flock of them come in too, sometimes we get up to 10 Greenies on the feeders but more usually a group of 3/4.

Liz said...

Hi Ginny,

The Goldies are certainly very charming little birds, noisy but charming! :)

I wish I was able to be off for the rest of the week, I cannot really see why we’re still expected to be in since I work at a University our jobs rely on students and academics, neither of which are in at the moment so it seems like such a waste of time being here.

Nutty Gnome said...

Haha - I've never seen a boz-eyed snowman before!!!

The bird shots are great and I envy you the goldfinches! Our neighbour has been feeding great charms of goldies for years and I haven't managed to entice them away! Mind you, I have got loads of greenfinches, chaffinches, bluetits, coaltits, bullfinches and robins as well as wrens, sparrows, song thrushes and blackbirds... so I shouldn't complain really!

It was -6 overnight here and is -4 now! I've got another snow day because the school we work at on Thursdays has us working outside all day - not a good plan when it was -12 there at 7.30 this morning!

Stay safe on the ice.

Liz said...

Hi Joe,

I think the bullfinch’s colour may have just been altered a little as I messed with the photo… Although I do have to admit there is some natural variation in the colours of each male, and it’s no doubt an aspect which each female looks for.

I hope you have a great week off school! I wish I was in the same situation… Mind… Would I really want to be 16 again??? Of course I would!!! :D

Liz said...

Hi Debs,

Normally our snow is so poor all we can manage is a teeny 30cm tall snowman, but with this snow I imagine we could’ve managed one life-sized!
Shame the snow was just powdering…

I love my brother’s snowman too, he obviously put far more thought into the face than I did!

Liz said...

Hi Cheryl,

Thanks, I’m glad you liked seeing the photos :)

I hope the Song Thrush comes to visit again, last year it did come much closer to the house but this year I only saw it in a neighbour’s fir tree so no chance of clear shots of it… The blackbirds are just too ferocious and like you I saw some real fights yesterday with them flying into the air with legs kicking at each other. It did seem to stop once I’d thrown out oats and seeds for them.

5 hours to get home?? Ouch. It took me 30 minutes, which wasn’t at all bad. The bus came almost as soon as we stood at the bus stop and then since the roads were almost completely clear we walked on them instead of the pavements…
The snow is still deep on the residential roads though, so I’ve worn wellies to work today… They have plenty of grip to stop me skidding over on icy snow.

Liz said...

Hi Liz,

Lol, I like his snowman, it has so much more character in its face than mine does! I just shoved pebbles and a carrot in without much thought…

Amazing how much the birds began to trust us just in that short space… Obviously so desperate for food that they were still happy to come down with us being only a few metres away.

What foods do you have out for the birds? If you haven’t already then try sunflower hearts, if that doesn’t get the Goldies then I don’t think anything will! I pretty much put out only the hearts, all the birds eat it. There’s very little waste and no corn fields growing under my feeders anymore because whatever the Finches/Tits drop the Dunnocks, BB’s, Robins and Pigeons gobble up.

Little wonder I’m so cold at the moment if those temperatures you stated really were true! Wish I was at home now… Normally I always keep some days spare and this year I didn’t, gawd I really wish I’d followed my own rules…

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Liz,

I think our birds are a bit more nervy because of Ceefer cat,so we can't get too close - except to the robin, who's quite friendly and curious. trouble is, if I'm outside Ceef is never very far away from me. He's more of a puppy cat!

I've currently got 4 feeders, all with different things in. So I've got ...are you ready for this?! :

* RSPB feeder mix
* Niger seed
* Bill Oddie's 'finest' black sunflower seeds and
* wild bird peanuts
plus I've got a half coconut with suet and mealy worms in hanging from one feeder and a metal cage with suet and seeds in hanging from the tree.
They don't go hungry, but the goldies obviously prefer whatever Tony's feeding them! I can't exactly nip round to ask him "..oh, by the way Tony, what do you feed your birds on 'cos I want them in my garden instead?" LOL!!

The temperature readings came from our solar panels control panel. Hang on a mo ........ just had a look. It's 3pm and -1 now. Positively balmy from this morning! (it's a German system, so you can bet they're accurate!)

That'll teach you to have too many summer jollies!! :)

HappyMouffetard said...

Lovely photos - a real treat to see a bullfinch.

Charlotte said...

Any more bird visitors Liz .... as the great freeze continues?? I've been feeding all the birds, but don't have such interesting visitors as you. Let's just hope this comes to an end soon!