London (change)
Today 17°C / 13°C
Tomorrow 14°C / 8°C

Garden birds

Posted: Wednesday 13 February 2013
by Richard Jones

Hardly anything is moving and the various birds are huddled against the cold; like me they all seem to be thinking “come on, spring must be along soon”.


Waxwing. Image copyright Anthony Hall, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

I got up out of my sick bed to post this, I hope you know. Our brief dusting of snow may have gone, but it was too grim and grey to go exploring in the garden after hibernating ladybirds or flat-backed millipedes. Instead, I ventured upstairs and peered at the surrounding trees and bushes through our small cheap binoculars.
 
It’s very much a waiting world out there. Hardly anything is moving and the various birds are huddled against the cold; like me they all seem to be thinking “come on, spring must be along soon”.
 
Surprisingly, there are quite a few species; better than the big fat zero I achieved during my abortive attempt at the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch a couple of weeks ago. Two green parakeets sit arguing in the tall Lombardy poplar. A couple of thrushes look curiously at the small gaggle of blue/ great/ long-tailed tits in the apple tree. Four wood pigeons hunch, bored, in the big sycamore tree. I think there’s even a robin perched way off in the distance.
 
I only give it five minutes and am on the verge of calling it a day when my eye is caught by a slight disturbance extreme stage right. Six or eight small-to-medium-sized birds are silhouetted against the white houses as they land in the topmost twigs of a straggling pear or apple tree. They look briefly about before deciding that this block of gardens is not for them, and off they shoot again. I have a chance to catch their sleek, plump bodies and elegant crested heads. Dawning realisation creeps over me. I can now go back to bed, happy in the knowledge that I am the last person in Britain to have seen waxwings.


Thank you to Anthony Hall, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, for supplying the beautiful waxwing image. Read his Kew blog here.





Discuss this blog post

Talkback: Garden birds
Your comment will appear after a quick registration step

donutsmrs 13/02/2013 at 17:29

I haven't had many birds in my either, and RSPB Bird Watch was disapointing to say the lest as I hardly counted any birds compared to last year.
Just lately though I have notice the Blue Tits starting to check out the nesting boxes and I've got two Robins coming into the garden, so spring must be just around the corner, I hope.

obelixx 13/02/2013 at 17:55

As I live in belgium, I didn't do the RSPB bird count but I have had loads of birds in the garden at the various feeders as well as some good sitings in the marshy paddocks next door and across the road:-

blackbird, buzzard, crow, chaffinch, coal tit, dunnock, great white egret, Egyptian goose, fieldfare, great tit, blue tit, marsh tit, greater spotted woodpecker, grey heron, house sparrow, magpie, mallard, pheasant, robin, sparrowhawk, starling, turtle dove and wren.   I've also heard barn owls but not seen them and today was bright and sunny and I heard a chiffchaff.

 

Flower bird 13/02/2013 at 18:47

On the day of the bird count I was at my mum and dads - not one bird! And yet if I had been in my flat I would have been able to count loads of birds, we have all varietiies here. It was disappointing but mum and dad never have many birds were they live, mainly pigeons, a lot of grass, greenery and trees there so it is a mystery. Barbara

cadburycat 14/03/2013 at 20:57

was watching a little jenny wren picking all round the garden this afternoon, so cute

Bunny ... 14/03/2013 at 20:58

Got the woodpecker back , little wren...the usual starlings and sparrows, blackbirds ...not much else though .

See more comments...