There is a goldfinch singing in the willow tree; we can’t see it too well, the unfurling leaves of the quince are in the way. But along with the robin, serin, greenfinch, blackbird (nightingale, but not until April), chaffinch, ring-necked dove, great tit, wren, blackcap, golden oriole and thrush (and perhaps others) it’s one of the birds which we can now identify from their song. Of course there’s also the laughing of the green woodpecker and the drumming of the great spotted woodpecker. No doubt, along with being territorial, the goldfinch is singing because it’s another lovely February day. Like January it’s been a dry month so we really can’t complain that there’s a week of rain forecast.
We have a wren building a nest in the corner of the upstairs alcove. I set up the camera to try and capture its antics on film but it flies in and out so quickly there is only a blur. Some night time footage is clearer.
Unfortunately the nest has attracted the attention of the sparrows and these have been filmed on top of it and peering in, probably thinking of squatting. We know male wrens make a variety of nests before the female chooses which one she prefers but as they have now been lining the inside with some Jussi hair we felt confident it was going to be the des res. We haven’t seen them for a few days though, either the female is in there brooding or they got fed up with the bothersome neighbours. Alas Betty knocked the camera off the bin it was precariously standing on so until that’s fixed we have to keep a look out.
I still sometimes mistakenly call greenfinches, goldfinches. Indeed in the sun they are the most wonderful yellow colour. This little one knocked itself out on the window but recovered soon enough to fly off. After the sparrows we definitely have more greenfinches in the garden than other birds. They fight constantly over the bird feeder.
Our knowledge of birds is expanding beyond those found in the garden. Recent walks along marshlands means we are now able to identify the common sandpiper, turnstone, the different kinds of egrets and that these are black headed gulls, the one on the left is in summer plumage:
We are familiar with flamingoes from our time in Tunisia but these were a delight to see especially as they were with spoonbills (but not in this photo), a first for us:
We also know that this is a leucistic greylag goose (a reduction in melanin and other colour pigments making it patchy):
So from feathers to fungus, these have been spotted on recent walks. On the left is yellow brain fungus, and on the right are earthstars:
Not entirely sure what these are called but they look great:
Otherwise it’s been a fairly quiet month. Jussi seems sort of fine despite her ever growing lumps, I think we’ll only worry once she’s off her food. She certainly hasn’t lost her appetite.
Betty is definitely fine although she seems to spend a lot more time snoozing.
The hens remain quite chirpy. This will be the first year Skittle has only four wives, and Hattie really is getting on a bit now, so we hope that’s going to be okay as we’re rather reluctant to get more. We get two or three eggs a day which is great for us.
Alongside the website we continue to knit and make beer. Let’s see what March has in store.