26 December 2009

Unusual birds in our garden

Around Christmas we often seem to have some unusual bird visitors to our garden. In previous years we have seen Blackcap, Iceland gull and Reed bunting among others during the Christmas period. This year proved to be rewarding, no doubt partly due to the snow which has now been lying for a week.

On Christmas morning we had visits from a song thrush and a redpoll. Although we have had both species before, we hadn't seen either since the spring.

Song thrush

In the afternoon I went out into the park next to our house on my skis and spotted this treecreeper. Although this one wasn't in our garden, it wasn't far away. We have seen treecreepers here before, but not very often.

On the 26th we noticed a large thrush-like bird in one of the trees opposite. It made a brief visit to our garden to collect a cotoneaster berry. Viewed through the binoculars, it turned out to be a fieldfare, which is a new record for our garden. I tried to take a photo, but at that moment it took off so this is all I managed to get.

In the evening we were just going out for a night walk in the snow when we were astonished to see a pair of mallard ducks approaching our house. They seemed to recognise us when we appeared, and we can only think that they were a pair that visit us in summer and could find no open water in the cold weather. They were certainly very hungry. We have ducks visiting our garden every year, but only between late March and August.

Our complete list of species for Christmas week:
Black-headed gull
Carrion crow
Coal tit
Common gull
Great tit
House sparrow
Song thrush
Wood pigeon

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