Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Seasonal Birds

Leaving aside the Christmas carols for the time being, Malcolm and I had a nice walk this morning and were struck by the number of bird species which were also enjoying the better weather. There were Carrion Crows, Blackbirds, Song Thrushes, Sparrows, Starlings, Robins, Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Woodpigeons, Green Woodpeckers, etc. etc. Quite a list for one short walk. Here is a picture of a Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis), which I snapped in our garden earlier this year. It was taken through the window, so is not as sharp as I would have liked, but you can't have everything!
The picture clearly shows just how brightly coloured this little finch is. You will also see the sharply pointed bill, ideal for 'winkling' out small seeds from teasel heads and Alder cones. We often have the impression that British birds are rather dull and brown, and certainly, some of them are but, there can surely be not many more spectacular little birds in the world than this.
Back to a little seasonality and a bird which is synonymous with this time of year and which appears on a million Christmas cards is, of course, the Robin (Erithacus rubecula). Again, these were 'snapped' in our garden. The first was on the fence.
Feisty and always ready for a fight with other Robins, they are well known for their aggressive behaviour. They will sometimes fight to the death during the breeding season, but tend to be rather more tolerant toward each other during the harder and harsher winter weather. As Christmasy as Santa and as wintry as snow, this little character was skulking in the hedge.
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