It’s an interesting time in the garden at the moment. The winter visitors are hanging on, in fact at a peak recently, while the year-round residents are starting to move into Spring attitudes, including one very exciting development…
Around a month back we were delighted to see a single male Redpoll in amongst the Siskin, Greenfinch and Goldfinch. It’s been a couple of years since we had one of these winter visitors so it was a pleasure to see it. But within a week he’d brought his friends too, and for the last month we’ve regularly had between six and maybe ten Redpoll along with the other finches.
But elsewhere birds are starting to behave more like Spring is here. The Bullfinches have been hanging out as two/three males over winter, but now it’s back to a pair, male and female, ready for breeding.
There is a Wren back singing territorially, and the Blackbirds, Blue Tits and Great Tits are all looking very active too with territory and nest sites obviously on the mind. But none of that is the real source of excitement. That comes from the Long-tailed Tits.
All winter we have had a small flock of them back and forth through the garden, and I’m sure many of you are familiar with the routine. They flit between known feeding spots, rarely stopping long before they move, and maybe passing through two or three times a day as a mob.
But over the last couple of weeks we’ve had just two, and they’ve been hanging around. They’ve been very vocal, especially with their little clicking warning calls. On top of which, they have been taking a great deal of interest in our hedge. Could it be?
Well, yes. It could and it is. They are nest-building in the privet! I’ve never had Long-tailed Tits nest in the garden, I didn’t even think they would nest in privet, but I’ve checked and their little dense ball of a nest is indeed taking shape.
Obviously when any bird nests you are both excited, but also wary of the many tragedies that predators can bring. But for now it’s just great to have them here in the garden as new residents.
I will leave you with one last image. We’ve all seen celebrities ‘photobomb’ pictures they are not in. Well, the Goldfinches don’t take kindly to the Bullfinches getting the attention: