The snow came and the snow went. With the advent of this spell of colder, at times freezing weather, a greater number of birds alighted at our garden feeding station. Our daily list was blackbird, robin, dunnock, chaffinch, greenfinch, wood pigeon, collared dove, great tit, blue tit. But then the coal tits and long-tailed tits arrived. Here are 3 long-tailed tits on the half coconut shell:
And just yesterday, while I was taking a quick scan through the binoculars, I was lucky enough to spot a treecreeper corkscrewing up the trunk of the flowering cherry tree in the picture. This is the 1st I've seen in the garden. They're delightful birds - white below, speckled brown above, with a slender, downcurved bill.
I've also seen the occasional wren, and thought I glimpsed a sparrow hawk out of the corner of my eye. There are no sparrows or starlings at all this year, though there were plenty in the garden of my father's isolated house in the country where I've been staying recently to sort out his things (lots of fieldfares there too). Often we get goldcrests in the winter, but they seem to prefer the Corsican pine in the back garden (in the spring linnets sometimes use the very top of this tree as a song post). I'm surprised we haven't seen the odd pheasant or green woodpecker as we do some years (there are plenty of pheasants in the fields and spinneys on all sides of the village, but we're right in the centre). What I'm longing for is to hear the springtime song of the song thrush - for me the most evocative song of any British bird, apart from the nightingale.
I'm suddenly reminded of the time last July when a grey heron walked into our house and started confusedly tapping at the french windows of the utility room - photos and description here!