"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Monday, 29 November 2010

Garden Update (and still no waxwings!)

Woke up on Saturday morning to see a sprinkling of snow covering the garden.

Temperatures dropped to - 7.8 on Saturday night and it hasn't got above 0 degrees centigrade since.

The cold spell has failed to bring any of the more unusual species to the garden so far although numbers of birds are increasing daily at the feeders. I've scattered apples on the lawn but only blackbirds have been eating them - we have had visits from fieldfares and redwings in the past but I think its probably too early in the winter as there is lots of natural food still around.

A collared dove has started to visit the garden occasionally - we used to get several collared doves feeding daily but a decrease in sightings in the last eighteen months seems to have coincided with an increase in feral pigeon numbers. There were 5 wood pigeons feeding today and goldfinch numbers are in double figures. A pair of robins are still having daily territorial disputes and blackbirds seem to spend more time chasing each other round the lawn than actually feeding.

I gave my son a lift to work in Solihull this morning and checked out a site where waxwings had been seen on Friday near the town centre. There were several rowan trees with berries but definitely no waxwings! It was worth the journey though as the countryside looked absolutely beautiful in the frosty weather with the fields and trees laced with silvery hoar frost. I wished I had taken my camera with me.

Later I took a drive out to the business park but although there were blackbirds feeding on the many berries there were still no fieldfares or redwings and again - you guessed it! - no waxwings. Reports of sightings in Warwickshire are increasing so hopefully I will get a glimpse eventually! I think you have to be lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time.


The Wessex Reiver said...

Keep looking out for the waxwings in those berried bushes. They're as far south as Somerset and Wiltshire now and I know they're in the Wye forest area too. It's just as you say, being in the right place at the right time.

Interesting your observations on collard doves. They along with a lot of species at the northern edge of their range were badly affected by last winters cold spell, they recovered well with increased fledging and brood numbers, but its those juveniles from this year who will now be experiencing this cold snap. We may see a further decline in numbers of collard doves, who are mysteriously declining anyway.

Ragged Robin said...

I will post as soon as I manage to catch up with the waxwings. I have a mental map now of all the berried bushes nearby and,sadly, for my carbon footprint, take many detours each time I go out to take in as many berry trees as possible :D

Thats interesting about collared doves as I hadn't realised they were yet another species in decline. Especially interesting after their incredible and relatively quick colonisation of Europe from Asia. Unfortunately, I haven't seen a collared dove since the last sighting. I'll mention in the blog if I see one again in the garden.