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 26 January 2021

Greenfinch bling

 Another decent morning spent out in the back garden, coffee and binoculars to hand, with a nice selection of species to keep me entertained. It kicked off with the second Grey Heron, of the lockdown, which pitched down atop of Arthur Burbridge's conifers very briefly before being seen off by the local Herring Gulls. It was then the turn of a splendid Mistle Thrush to fly along the gardens before dropping down to seek a meal out on the stubble beyond the garden hedge. Three more species made it onto the BWKm0 list and are as follows:-

No. 35 - Great Spotted Woodpecker - one flying west towards St. Lawrence College sports ground - probably a breeding bird from the Ramsgate Cemetery population?

No. 36 - Green Woodpecker - a calling bird over in the Newlands Farm compound area.

No. 37 - Cormorant - a flock of 25+ birds flying south towards Pegwell/Ramsgate Harbour

I then spent some time concentrating on the activity around the feeding station, as a warm up for the RSPB "Big Garden Birdwatch" initiative which takes place between 29th - 31st January. It will be a bit of an anti-climax this year as I won't have the grand-kids for company, but I will still do my bit in order to provide some data for this citizen science effort. House Sparrows are present in very high numbers, regularly in excess of one hundred individuals, whilst Goldfinches also occur in fantastic flurries of colourful action at the four sunflower heart feeders. Two Greenfinches (male & female - too early for them to be a pair?) were seen yesterday, the male again present this morning and, to my surprise, it is ringed. Hopefully, now I'm aware of this situation, the camera and/or Kowa TSN 823 might be useful in recording the details. A female Chaffinch appeared, very briefly, at the feeders and is, as such, the first of this species to be recorded in, as opposed to over, the garden since the lockdown started. 

The pair - the female just visible behind the base of the feeder.

Robin, Dunnock, Great & Blue Tit, Rose-ringed Parakeet, Collared Dove and Jackdaw were all recorded "in" the garden, thus countable for the RSPB project. Not too sure on what day I will undertake the survey, it will be weather driven I imagine, but what I do know is that Herring Gull will also feature in the count - I've got a stale loaf awaiting the designated hour, game on!

A shocking, hugely cropped, image of the male Greenfinch taken in the gloom of the 
early morning light today. The only redeeming feature is the fact that
it is possible to discern the BTO (?) jewellery on its' right leg.


  1. Hi Dyl, good news on the Greenfinches. Nice to see a recovery of sorts. I see them about myself though I've yet to get one on my feeders.

    House Sparrows? I wish. They are so scarce now where I live that I stop and wonder when I come across them. Fifty years ago it was ludicrous to think that one day I'd be lucky to see one at all. They were once so common.
    Indeed. I can now say that in year in a suburban garden in London I've recorded Firecrest on more days (2) than House Sparrows (1) Madness!

    1. House Sparrows Ric? A very strange situation indeed. My brothers Tim, just outside Hemel Hempstead, and Sye near Aylesbury, don't see them in their gardens either. As a kid, growing up in Hemel Hempstead they were as common as you like! Quite why there are huge tracts of suburbia where House Sparrows are now absent is a puzzle which I have no clue as to the answer. To be honest the population to a bit of dip, here on Thanet, yet these passed two breeding seasons has seen numbers surge once again.
      Cheers for the comment - stay safe - Dyl

    2. I can hear the noise of 100 sparrows in my minds ear, Dyl! Brilliant! Thankfully there are a few in our neighbourhood, but nothing like that many. When we lived in Seaton the hedge along the back of our garden hosted a regular gang of 15-30 birds, but that hedge has since been grabbed up and replaced with a wooden fence. Hopefully the sparrows found another hang-out.

      As a child I remember them nesting in our roof in Kenton, NW London. And Ric, as kids I remember us catching them on your lawn with a simple little trap!

      It's sad to see them in decline...

    3. I am extremely fortunate to live in a semi-rural setting with several of the adjacent fields having been left as stubble for the entire winter period. When you add to this the fact that many of my neighbours also have garden feeding stations, it becomes a bit clearer as to why the local House Sparrows find the area so attractive when the weather is on the harsh side.
      I'm conducting my RSPB "Big Garden Birdwatch" tomorrow morning and it will be interesting to the peak numbers at the feeders, rather than "around" the garden? Take care - Dyl