Thursday, 10 January 2019

First Session of 2019 at the Winter Feeding Station

It was well past time for another session at the feeding station so on  morning of 17th I set off for Scallows.  I enjoyed a relaxed start as I knew that the sun didn't get round to light up the perches until about 11.00 am.  I was fortunate in my choice of day as I enjoyed superb warm winter light all day. When I arrived the nut feeders were totally empty, although the seed feeders were still quite full.  My suspicions that squirrels were the culprit were confirmed when I discovered one actually inside the 'so-called' squirrel proof cage around the feeder - back to the drawing board.  As soon as I had set up my perches, and even before I had settled in the hide birds, were coming down to feed.  There was a constant to-ing and fro-ing of blue, great and coal tits with regular visits by nuthatches.  Although playing hard to get the male woodpecker paid several calls to the fat and, in the end, I managed a few shots.  I was delighted to see a wren on a few occasions, although it preferred to forage around the base of the rotted log on which I was leaning one of my perches.  A robin was an occasional visitor and chaffinches came and fed on the ground.  When I had eaten my lunch-time apple I threw the core out for the birds and almost immediately a blackbird came to feed.  It would be good to attract some winter thrushes as the winter progresses.  Several pheasants were entertaining; obviously keen to come and sample the wares but so nervous that they scurried off at even the slightest movement.

Being in the hide observing the life of the wood around me is one of the most relaxing occupations that I know.  As I sat there contentedly I enjoyed the clamour of the rooks as they busied with their nests in the meadow and a tawny owl called, presumably in the throes of attracting a mate and defending territory; the female will be on eggs in another month.  There are probably three pairs breeding in the wood and it would be satisfying to find where they nest to try and watch the young when they emerge and sit in the tree still fluffy balls of down.  The buzzard also drifted over the wood, its old nests in the larch trees just in front of the hide.  Hedgerow hazel bushes now have their catkins fully open, the lambs' tails blowing in the breeze, and snowdrops are pushing through the leaf mould soon to be in flower.

Another excellent day.

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