Friday 18th January 2013 - The Winter Arrives....

Well here I am posting my first proper post of 2013.  At some point I may do a summary of a few interesting bits and bobs from earlier this month but for now I want to concentrate on today and the wintry conditions.

As most of you will be aware, the snow has come down heavy over much of the country and it really feels like winter has finally arrived.  Now don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a nice snowy winters day, but let's be honest it is  also an inconvenience and, more importantly, it has a big impact on our wildlife.

So today I have been spending my time feeding and watching he garden wildlife. Our feeding station is fairly well established now with homemade fat cakes (courtesy of Bev), Sunflower hearts, Dried Meal Worms and Peanuts on offer.  

During the winter months I also buy apples, that are going past it and reduced in price, from a local farm shop.  I then cut them into halves and push them onto various tree/shrub branches around the garden.  These not only attract wintering Blackcaps to the garden but are also used by a variety of other birds.  Today I have been watching 2 ♀ Blackcaps feeding on said apples.

With the weather being harsh I have been out a few times during the day and with a broom knocked the snow of the Pyracantha and Cotoneaseter.  They literally glow like a beacon to the birds and today it paid dividends when a Fieldfare dropped in on the Cotoneaster and gorged itself on the berries this afternoon.  This is the first Fieldfare that I have had in the garden this year so i was dead chuffed.

Another thing I have done today is clear the snow under the ground feeding cage and put down some salt to keep it thawed.  This cage stops pigeons getting to the food and it's pegged down to help protect the birds from cats.  A number of birds prefer to feed on the ground including Robins and Blackbirds and they are unlikely to use the hanging feeders.

So far today the garden has been a non-stop whirly dervish of activity with the following species also visiting:  c.30 House Sparrows, 18 Starlings, 1 Coal Tit, 18 Blue Tits, 1 Great Tit, 1 Dunnock, 1 Robin, 2 Blackbirds, 1 Carrion Crow, 1 Collared Dove and 2 Woodpigeons.

I've also made sure that the bird bath is free of ice to allow birds to have fresh drinking water...something that is also vital in these conditions.

Nearby, the ♂ Peregrine has been keeping a watchful eye from its favoured town centre high point and even flying off for the occasional sortie in the poor conditions.

So there you have it.  Even if you are housebound due to the weather you can make the most of your garden and what it has to offer.  In fact I think we all should do our bit for the garden birds during this harsh weather...providing a lifeline to our feathered friends!

Fieldfare - Back Garden, 18th January 2012

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  1. Oh, you did the Fieldfare really great, the video is special, cheers Jason.

  2. Like the Fieldfare captures great stuff, I will be keeping an eye on the garden this weekend as i think the planned trips to family will be on hold.

  3. It has been a day of clearing snow and replenishing feed tables and drinking water hasn't it Jason! I think tomorrow will be the crunch time after everything freezes overnnight!
    A great image and video! Nice to get Fieldfare in your garden, they haven't found mine yet this year and neither has a Blackcap which is unusual, they normally arrive in early December!

  4. Well done for thinking of the wildlife in these cold conditions Jase. Ive got a pyracantha, but it never produces berries!!

  5. Bob - many thanks mate

    Alan - I'm certainly not going far so it will be more garden wildlife watching for me too!

    Pam - So it's not just me who has been at it out there today! It's well worth it though when you think of the benefit to the wildlife in these conditions!

    Cheers Warren, I can honestly say I enjoyed spending some time observing the garden today!

  6. Nice one Jase & well done on your "in the garden" Fieldfare.
    Oddly enough..Blackbirds do feed from my hanging feeders.

  7. Cheers Dean. it's odd about the blackbirds isn't it. Those Yorkshire one's will do anything to "get thee sen a bit of snap!"

  8. They`re not very good at it tho...plenty of wing-flapping is involved !

  9. Loved the video, Jase. We too had our first Fieldfare on Friday, but just had 14 in neighbour's cherry tree. Magic. Your trick of putting apples in trees and bushes does not work for me, squirrels take them out, although I have never seen them eat one.

  10. Cheers Mike. we are lucky not to have squirrels visit our garden so not a problem here!

  11. You are lucky, they even unscrew "squirrel proof" feeders here. Just had fox on patio (9:15am), must be very hungy.