Thursday 23 January 2014

Birds, Squirrels, Snow

Long-tailed tits in the snow

Despite the mild weather this winter the birds and squirrels have been devouring the food we put out for them. Today was more like winter with regular snow showers and temperatures barely above freezing. This brought out the birds in even greater numbers and there were several squirrels around most of the day - I saw three at one point and suspect there were a few more than this.

Red squirrel

A great delight has been a flock of new visitors - beautiful long-tailed tits. Although we occasionally see them in the local woods we'd never seen them on the feeders or in the garden until last week. Now they're appearing every day. They particularly like some fat balls that I first put out several weeks ago. The other birds didn't seem keen on them and I'd decided not to buy any more before the long-tailed tits appeared. I've changed my mind! 

Blue tits, great tit & coal tit
The other regular visitors this winter are coal, blue and great tits, chaffinches, great-spotted woodpeckers, blackbirds, dunnocks and pheasants. Greenfinches and siskins, common at some times of the year, are notable by their absence. Goldfinches are rare visitors at any time and we haven't seen any crested tits for several years.

Long-tailed tits, chaffinch & blue tits

At the weekend I'll be taking part in the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch. I really hope the long-tailed tits are around.

Great spotted woodpecker


  1. Great too see all those on your feeders, all my goldfinch's have mostly dissapeared now.
    I counted 10 on my feeders around September time.
    Hoping they are doing ok out in the countryside somewhere...
    Been a warm wet and windy winter so far in the fens.
    Would love to see some cold dry conditions soon.

  2. Yes, good to see those pictures. Here in the English Midlands we haven't had the usual number of feeder visitors due to the relatively mild weather, but we normally we get all the birds you describe (except the woodpecker), including goldfinches and greenfinches. Long-tailed tits (such delightful birds) tend to appear when it's really cold. Sometimes we get blackcaps too — interestingly, these migratory birds are overwintering more and more.