Saturday, 7 March 2015


We still have lots of blackbirds in our garden, and very argumentative they are too. They soon learn to head for the ground under the feeders if, for example, the nuthatch or the woodpecker pay a visit (and when the local squirrels gatecrash), because they know then that there'll be plenty of food falling to the ground that they can grab. At least one blackbird has learned to perch on the feeder containing fatty chunks. He's a bit ungainly there, but manages to get his lunch.

Today one of the blackbirds has been singing, the first I've heard this year. He didn't sing for very long, nor indeed all that well, but he had a go. Robins of course are singing continually, and a mistle thrush has been singing from the top of a tall cypress over the road - in typical mistle thrush fashion, continuing to sing even when its blustery and spitting rain. It hasn't been doing that today, of course: sunny and mild if with a stiffish breeze at times; celandines are beginning to be a bit more serious about flowering, and we have a fine show of crocus, with grape hyacinths just beginning. We have a line of four flowering trees in our back garden, all fifteen years or so old, planted here to mark the millennium. I don't know what they all are, though one is a species of hawthorn with the most awful scent, and another is the rowan variety with the lovely pale pink berries. Anyway, the first in the row is the earliest of all our trees to leaf, and it's just starting now, nice to see.

We have lots of long tailed tits at present, and it's lovely to watch their acrobatics as they visit the feeders. However, we also have one solo bird that visits, and often stays for long periods. If a party passes through he stays aloof. He sat for a while in one of our cherries this afternoon, feathers fluffed up like a little ball, but otherwise just enjoying the sun, I suppose. There was a chaffinch there doing the same. At other times he seems lively enough, visiting the feeders and hunting up and down the cypress hedge between us and next door, so I don't think he's poorly. Just a little strange, that's all; Ann suspects he might not realise that he's a long-tailed tit and therefore supposed to be sociable - a comment which raises the issue of just how self-aware and species-aware any of our garden visitors really are.

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