Who am I?

An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to see the natural world as a place for competition. I catch fish, watch birds, derive immense pleasure from simply looking at butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, etc - without the need for rules! I am Dylan and this is my blog - if my opinions offend? Don't bother logging on again - simple!


Tuesday 24 January 2017

Garden bits and a puzzle?

It's certainly been a few years since Thanet experienced a sustained period of cold weather (heavy frosts) like we are at present. The garden feeding station is host to good numbers of House Sparrows, Starlings, four/five Dunnock. two Blackbird, a Robin and occasional Rose-ringed Parakeet. Other birds, making fleeting visits, include a pair of Great Tits, a Wren and an unknown number of Blue Tits - never more than one at a time, but several individuals involved. Best of all was the appearance of a Pied Wagtail, on the patio, right outside the kitchen door. The first time I've actually recorded one in, as opposed to over, the garden.

Through the double-glazed backdoor. It was very close, pecking at scraps on the patio.
The Java Sparrows in my aviary are coping very well with this cold snap. My only extra duty is to ensure they have access to unfrozen water. It has entailed me using a hammer to smash the ice in their bird bath, before adding some fresh (hot) water to enable them to get a drink/bath. I have been equally attentive to the feeding station and the two water sources there. The main, concrete, bird bath has frozen solid for several nights on the trot. My remedy is the same as with the aviary -  smash the ice with a club hammer, remove as much as is possible with a scraper, before topping the concrete dish up with hot (not boiling) water.  The plastic fountain doesn't fare so well - if I were to attempt to use a hammer it would be game over. The plastic being far too brittle to take that type of treatment. The best I'm able to offer is a boiling kettle, poured directly onto the ice. It provides a few hours of drinking opportunity, during the day, before the temperatures take another dive overnight.

Dunnock on the garden fence. On closer inspection, take a look at the
infection/swelling on the right foot. I am aware of a similar
affliction being prevalent in Greenfinches, a few years back. Is this a precursor
to another common species taking a massive dive in numbers?

So to my puzzle! Fairly straight forward; where are my Greenfinches? I haven't got Greenfinch on my yearlist, as yet. They should be around Newlands' - somewhere! But they're not. There was a Song Thrush singing from over by the main farm compound, the garden Dunnocks are getting a little frisky and singing regularly. Something is not right


  1. I'm fine thanks mate. I'm sure that these wagtail events are a direct result of the cold snap and nothing more. The Waxwing influx appears very widespread, this winter, with odd flocks turning up all over the place. Always nice to get on the garden list though! Take care and all the best - Dyl

  2. Dyl., as you probably know, the absence of Greenfinches is almost certainly due to the disease with a long latin name that has been killing them by the multi thousands in recent years. For most of us now, seeing a flock of Greenfinches as we walk round, is a real rarity.

    1. I was aware of the Trichomonosis issue, but my question isn't just the fact that Greenfinches aren't coming to my garden feeding station. They have simply vanished from the whole area; places where I could virtually guarantee to find them last year are now devoid of these birds, although House Sparrows remain as numerous as ever. There were at least five nest sites around Newlands last breeding season, one pair in a garden just south of ours. It will be interesting to see if the birds re-appear in the Spring, having migrated somewhere warmer to spend these cooler months?
      Thanks for taking the time to comment - Dyl