Saturday 24 February 2018

Dream big, Brambling and beyond

You know that scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail with the Black Knight, no arms, no legs but still deluded enough to think he can carry on, “Come back here, I’ll bite your legs off!”. That’s kinda how my blogging currently feels, eminently deluded. I’ve mostly been confined to the mothership this month as my health continues on its downward spiral, post house move. Going beyond my front door in order to chance upon the wild has largely been impossible. But, nature comes alongside. It is the antithesis to my restless, roiling psyche and my debilitated body. It is a steadying, soothing companion, pulling the senses outward, bathing them in life and colour. From my living room window, I see birds! Be assured, not a breath of fresh air was consumed in the making of these images...

Since moving in 9 months ago, visitors to the garden feeders have grown. Robin redbreast was the pioneer (isn’t he always), followed closely by a couple of Coal Tits, 2-3 Blue Tits and a pair of Great Tits. Occasionally, a tinkerling flock of Long-tailed Tits flutter through and 3-5 Starlings peck at the fatball thingy. 8-10 chirpy House Sparrows quickly became regulars.

Then came the Goldfinches and, currently, I have a daily flock of 16-18, all messily gobbling sunflower hearts as quickly as I can refill the feeders. Two pairs of Greenfinches often accompany them...

8 of the Goldfinches & a Blue Tit

At least 14-20 Chaffinches, 2-4 Pied Wagtails, 3+ Blackbirds, 2-3 Woodpigeon, a pair of Collared Doves and a Dunnock or two hoover up the leftovers under the feeders

12 of the Chaffinches (one hiding behind the sprigs of green) & 6 of the House Sparrows

And, on the 1st January, a single Siskin perched in the neighbour’s garden with the Goldfinches and transformed my day! Since then, at least 2 birds, a male and a female, have visited sporadically, mainly when the weather is at its worst. There’s a row of Alder trees just up the road, so I had been hoping Siskin and Redpoll were a possibility but you just never know.

Finally, on the 26th January, a Goldcrest came to sample the goods on offer. He/she didn't seem all that impressed and took its sunny mohican elsewhere. But, these tantalising one-offs keep you curious and engaged and wondering what else might pop in to say hello. Perhaps those 2 Brambling at Warwick racecourse could flit a mile or two down the road... The one and only time I had Brambling visit my garden in Hemel Hempstead was also the first time I’d ever seen the species. Dreams do come true! At least 6 of them turned up, late afternoon, at the end of October 2010. I was so excited that every photograph I took was out of focus! After that, it always felt like the possibilities were endless. If it had wings, it could conceivably land in my garden…

Brambling, Hemel Hempstead garden, 24/10/2010