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Tuesday, 7 June 2011

At the bird table

 I decided to change my font today.  I always used to use this one when writing emails with Outlook Express.  Now that I use Yahoo I can’t get this font on it, which makes my emails look very boring.  You must let me know what you think of this style.  Is it easy to read, or do you prefer the old way? 

female sparrow Anyway I thought I’d put in a couple of pictures today of two of the visitors to my bird table which is now standing on my balcony so I can see it through the French windows!  This LBJ - little brown job –  is a female house sparrow.  The male, below, courtesy of Jan from the Czech Republic, has a dark grey bib and cheeks, and a darker head. Actually I think she’s the prettier of the two!house-sparrow--vrabec_dom

They say sparrows are decreasing in number, but there are plenty of them around Peebles.  I have about three pairs that come to the hanging feeders, and I know there are quite a few at my neighbour’s place up the steps, and the other day when visiting Ailsa of the Gardening group, we watched several  flitting from feeder to feeder in her garden – she has these squirrel proof feeders with a wire cage around to allow the birds a bit of safety and more food because the squirrels can’t get at it!  Well, suddenly we realised that one of the sparrows was feeding its little fledglings on the lawn.  She was collecting food from the feeders and bringing it down to the babies. 

Boy, can they open their tiny beaks wide!   I wished I had had my camera because usually it goes everywhere with me, but I had left it at home recharging its battery!  So of course when three tiny fledglings lined up on the grass for a feed, beaks open so wide you’d think they could get another sparrow in there, and mum fed each of them in turn, I was spitting tacks!  A photo would have been wonderful to have! And guess what? It wasn’t until I reached home that I realised that my mobile phone had been in my pocket the whole time! It has quite a good camera in it! Oh well! C’est la vie!!!  I can’t show it to you, but I have the memory of it!

bluetit2 So, this little guy is a bluetit!  Could be a little girl instead of a guy, for all I know.  They both look the same, and very cute in yellow and blue with their white-ish faces and black eye masks.    I get great tits at the feeders too, a bit larger great-tit--xxxkonadra_dse3671and with black caps.  They have a dark stripe down their yellow front, which is reckoned to be a sign of aggression.  The wider the stripe the more fearful the other great tits are of them!  (Another of Jan’s photos!)

(This is a photo by Ian Ross)chaffinch by Ian Ross I haven’t seen my chaffinches too much for a while.  Now they’re pretty!  Well, the male is brighter and more coloured than the female. 

female chaffinch Gerd Rossen

She’s quite drab – another LBJ!   (Photo from Gerd Rossen.) The chaffies always announced their arrival with a chee-eeeep, before settling in for a feed!  I had a few of them around, but they must be after better things right now!

What I am getting though are the pigeons and crows, even muckle great rooks!  The crows can do a pretty good job of hanging upside down from the feeders and devouring the fat balls, peanuts and seeds, and the pigeons try their best to land on the bird table with its protective roof, but since I’ve wrapped thin wire round the sides only the small birds can get in.  blackbird There’s a pair of blackbirds hop in there quite the thing, and they’re the biggest of our garden birds. The male has such glossy black plumage and that right yellow beak really stands out, as does the bright ring around that dark dark eye.female blackbird Gerd Rossen

(Both photos taken by Gerd Rossen)

This is Mrs Blackie, only she’s brown and a bit speckedly in front.  The young blackies are brown too, though the males can soon be identified by their yellow beaks.  They are beautiful birds.  Sing beautifully too, and in autumn at dusk they deliver their loud sharp scolding mixture betwen a shriek and a cheep, which I always associate with the season and bonfires!!!  swallow-20 Let’s not wish summer away though!  I see the swallows are flying high tonight!  That’s a good sign!  The bugs must be higher in the air, the pressure not keeping them low down.  Good weather in store, it would seem! 

 4 baby swallowsThis time last year I was in Kintyre where Linda and Ken had a swallow nest in one of their outhouses.  I spent ages watching five little heads peering over the edge of the mud nest.  It wasn’t long before they were off and flying!

Well, I have one last photo now, taken by Barbara Furphy,one of the members of our photographic group.  robin_barbara_furphy She took this gorgeous photo of a robin in her garden last winter, so although I haven’t had the robin at my bird table recently I’m going to show you this one!

Talk again soon.

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