There aren’t many advantages to winter in my book. One, though, is the chance to see a slightly different mix of birdlife in the garden. Only when the colder weather hits do we see Goldfinches dropping in to take their turn at our seed feeders. Whereas the usual suspects, Blue Tits, Great Tits and Chaffinches, etc., tend to grab a sunflower seed and fly away to eat it, these delightfully colourful winter additions sit on a perch and munch away in situ. I don’t really like photographs featuring feeders but, hitherto, that’s the only shot of Goldfinches I’d managed. Until now, that is. There’s a couple around again now we’ve got some colder temperatures and they’ve been using the Blackbird red berry larder bush from which to fly sorties. I managed to snag a decent shot while one was sitting in it waiting.
Goldfinches, of course, are resident all year but they deign to visit us only in winter. However, much to the annoyance of our local Blackbirds, “their” red berry bush, the one sheltering the Goldfinch above, also acts as a magnet to a very welcome winter migrant. Welcome by me, that is – the Blackbirds are less keen. This week three Redwings appeared and started munching the berries. They may be as common as dirt in Scandinavia but I find their winter visits quite exciting. With just three Redwings raiding the bush, the food source will last a while but a good sized flock of Redwings can strip it pretty swiftly. Here’s a couple of shots of the same individual, one with a nice catch light in its eye and the other with a nice juicy berry just disappearing down its gullet.
Last winter, for the first time, the berries attracted a small flock of Waxwings. I’d like that to be repeated but no sign so far. I think we need more severe weather for them.