New Year in New Earswick

Returning home after a couple of weeks away, one of my questions was always going to be “what’s in the garden?”. We usually get an influx of wintering finches in January, just in time for the Big Garden Birdwatch, so had 2018 brought anything?

Well, yes it had. In fact, just before Christmas, a small group of Redpoll had dropped in. So we were really hoping they’d hung about.

Not only had they hung about, but there were more of them. At least half-a-dozen, maybe more.

Their presence had a curious effect on the Goldfinches, which normally ignore the Niger seed feeder. But as soon as something else wanted it, in childish fashion, they had to have a bit too.

The Redpolls are very small and the Goldfinches can bully them off. But they are pretty patient birds and will then just wait their turn. They are also pretty relaxed about us being in the garden while they are there.

They can be quite pink across the breast, as you can see below.

They are not the only finches. Our fairly tame Bullfinches remain, and there are at least two pairs outside regularly at the moment. Recent research showed Bullfinches can stay in the same pair for several years, so it’s good to know ours really are the same birds, and that’s why they are used to us. The Greenfinches are about too.

Not finches, but our warring Blackbirds seem to have reached some form of peace treaty.

There was a surprise overhead too. We get Buzzards calling and wheeling high above the garden once in a while, but this bird came really low. Sadly by the time I was it with the camera it was up and moving on. But I’ll be keeping an eye out.

Tomorrow I’ll let you know how things are on the Heslington Lake.

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I welcome thoughts, comments and questions, so please feel free to share anything at all. Thanks, David

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