I was sitting yesterday morning watching the birds at our bird feeding station and counting the number of blue tits and sparrows. Suddenly, the usual melee of great/blue/coal tits, sparrows, dunnocks and robins were joined by something new. Actually, a bird I’d never seen before. R ran down stairs to get his camera to snap the intruder (but failed because he was (a) trying to shoot through rain covered glass and (b) it was a timid wee birdie) and I reached for the iPod to get the RSPB bird identifier up. Now there’s a thing that needs an app!
We think that this was what we saw: a Hawfinch (image source), He’s pretty striking, particularly as we don’t get a great deal of finches in the garden. He (I assume male because of pretty colours) is far more handsome in reality than this image shows.
We’ve been feeding the birds pretty much constantly for the last year, and have planted lots of wildlife friendly plants in the bird feeder area. Its one less area of the garden to weed and its amazing what pretty plants grow, some presumably from the seeds birds deposit for us! We’re planning to take part in the Big Garden Bird Watch on the 29th or 30th of January but are aware that time of day changes what we see. For example, before I go to work in the morning, the sparrows have control of the feeding area and we regularly see large numbers of squabbling house sparrows (three families that we could identify, which we called the Browns, the Cleggs and the Camerons last year). If we wait an hour or so, we’ll be invaded by the tits and probably have about 5-7 blue tits battling with the great and coal tits. So we’ve not quite decided which hour we’ll pick but I’m still looking foward to it. I’m hoping the hawfinch will show up, or perhaps the woodpeckers!