Tag: Bird feeding

Layer upon layer of food glorious food

by on Jan.12, 2010, under Choppington Woods

No, not a post about the culinary delight I conjoured up yesterday for Sarah (butternut squash stuffed with bacon, blue cheese, garlic, creme fraiche and honey) although that was a bit of a milestone in my domestication ūüėČ

No, it’s a post about an unexpected bounty that our garden birds are reaping currently.¬† I usually try to fill all of our bird feeders just as it’s getting dark, that way the birds don’t get disturbed (not that it seems to bother some of them – Coal Tits will often just move to slightly higher branches in the apple tree, Robins seem to have no problem sitting just a few feet away).¬† Inevitably some seed gets spilled.¬† There’s also a reasonable amount of seed on the ground because the Coal Tits will sit on the feeders and discard anything they don’t fancy at the time.¬† With several days of snowfall over the last few weeks this was creating something that I hadn’t realised; layers of food sandwiched between each successive snowfall.¬† Now that the thaw is well under way, although there is still plenty of snow down here on the low ground, these layers of chilled bird seed are being exposed.¬† 30 Chaffinches have been under the tree for most of today, and 8 Greenfinches have been around as well.¬†¬† After a complete absence of sightings in recent weeks, a Great Spotted Woodpecker has returned to the garden. ¬†At least one Brambling is still making sporadic appearances and the Blue, Coal and Great Tits are almost too numerous to count.¬† As we’re feeding in parts of Choppington Woods, and some of our neighbours have well-stocked bird feeders we might expect numbers to decrease but¬†we’ve got more birds now than in the depths of the snow and ice¬†last week.¬†¬†Time to refill the feeders and dream of a rare thrush, bunting or accentor ūüôā

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Snowbound

by on Jan.07, 2010, under Birdwatching, Choppington Woods

OK, not quite, but¬†since December 31st we’ve had about a foot of snow in total.¬† I cancelled our Otter Safari on Tuesday for safety reasons.¬† That decision proved to be the right one as we had heavy snowfall on Tuesday afternoon, making the roads even more hazardous than they already were.¬† I drove to Wallsend to collect Sarah from work, and the 13 miles took 80 minutes – and that was mainly on 3 of Northumberland’s major roads (A1068, A19 and A1058).¬† Cars were sliding from one lane to the next and I’m amazed that I didn’t witness any collisions.¬† We’ve been using the Landrover for the last couple of weeks so when Sarah wanted her car to drive to work yesterday we had to dig it out of the snow.¬† I can’t recall having to do that in the 17 years that we’ve lived up here.

For the last day and a bit I’ve had a throat infection so I’ve stayed in the house.¬† That hasn’t been a huge burden though as it’s allowed me to spend a lot of time watching (and filming) the birds around our feeding station.¬† For as long as I can remember, birdwatching has been something that’s always been an option when I’m unwell.¬† The Brambling that Sarah found on Sunday is still around, Long-tailed Tits are visiting much more frequently than they ever have before, the Blackbird count has risen to 9, at least 5 Robins are trying to hold¬†dominion over¬†the patio and flocks of Siskin and Lesser Redpoll are patrolling the edge of Choppington Woods and the bottom of our allotment.¬† Yesterday even a Goldcrest joined the chirping masses around the apple tree.¬† With niger seed, peanuts, fat balls, mixed seed and windfall apples our garden is like an all-you-can-eat buffet.¬† The one notable absentee from our usual¬†list of visitors is Great Spotted Woodpecker, although we did see one in the woods on New Year’s Day.¬† Has one of our neighbours set up a more attractive feeding station?¬† We’d better raise our game, just in case.

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