We have had an incredibly harsh time for the birds in the UK. Some of you will know that I only set up feeders in our garden about 12 months ago. We have always had a bird table but I was a little worried feeding the birds due to our cat population. However, I spent a little time discouraging some of the cats using a sonic deterrent, water and and smellies.
Even so useage of the feeders was quite low really until the cold spell, although we do have some natives so to speak. The robin, the blackbirds and the dunnock have been there for a while now. The tits arrived in ever increasing numbers much to my delight.
But the cold weather really did give an influx to our feeders.
We began to see a huge increase and were replenishing food sources as often as we could. The suet pellets became a favourite and were diminishing at a very rapid rate.
We started to see some different things...
I think this is fieldfare but of course the fields were covered. We have not had starlings for many a year. As a child my mother detested them as being greedy, whole flocks used to come in and take any food put out for the birds as quick as you like. I hadn't seen any for years!
We couldn't actually get to the wildlife park that we often spend some time, the narrow lane down a bank was sure to prevent the transport getting through so last weekend we did just venture down the road a little and take some bread to the river..
It was lovely when the Mandarin duck who is not overly confiding as a rule came running up a snow filled bank to be fed :)It was a bit sad that my photo shoot ended because of a dog running at it off a lead. I am beginning to get a very bad opinion of dog owners generally right now, I can only hope that this doesn't continue in the same vein because it is beginning to be a trend!
We also went walking along the river and were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a tree creeper.
Together with some Goosanders that caught the most massive fish you can imagine and had to let it go. Sadly they were right over the other side of the river but you should be able to get an idea.
Meanwhile, I did worry about my little friends down at the wildlife prak. So with the milder weather over the weekend, it was lovely to see the ducks bathing in the water and throwing it everywhere. They seemed so subdued in the ice somehow. The pond is still icy to be truthful but at least now there is a little water for them to enjoy.
I was pleased my little mate was ok.
I saw the kingfisher for the first time in weeks and weeks.
Then, when I got home....a goldfinch arrived on the feeder. It has taken months for us to see these...So together with the Blackcap that has been around for a couple of weeks...I think we have been lucky enough to see some brilliant wildlife lately under some very extreme conditions.