Flocking Birds

It’s that time of year here were the bird feeders have quietened down, and some begin to flock – usually the tits, but some other species do occasionally join in too. The end result is a sizeable mixed flock which sweeps through the garden, causes brief mayhem and then as quickly as they arrived; they all disappear.

Only over Autumn and into early Spring do we get Long-Tailed Tits visiting, yes those cute little balls of fluff that seemingly ever gardener wants. Usually they only flock into our Buddleja in the front garden and then stay in the trees surrounding our back but don’t often visit our feeders…

I had just popped outside and heard their unmistakable shrill call, then I looked to the feeders and spotted a Blue tit, I quickly grabbed my camera just as the LTT’s arrived 🙂

And a second arrives…

And a third…

Oooh, lookie! A fourth and now a Goldfinch has arrived 🙂

Just because they have such cute faces from the front

It’s getting a little busy now…

Sparrows have arrived, and soon the arguing commences

Coal Tit joins in.

Goldie is not happy with the Sparrows

A couple of days later the flock visited the Buddleja in the front garden; they regularly do this, however this time the flock also included a Robin and a Chiff Chaff… I think it’s a youngster Chiff Chaff because it’s still rather yellow but also has the dark legs rather than having light legs like a Willow Warbler.

Photos are a bit poor, it was quite a dull morning and my polarizing filter makes images a bit darker so the ISO was upped, which makes the images grainy.

And the Robin which was checking me out, and not happy with me stood at the window.

Copyright 2011 Liz.
All rights reserved. Content created by Liz for Gwirrel’s Garden.


11 thoughts on “Flocking Birds

  1. A lovely collection of birds Liz. I love LTT’s. They visit my gartden on a regular basis but I have never been able to capture their image.
    I also am fascinated to read that Goldfinch feed alongside other birds in your garden. I have never observed that here. They tend to stay away from the other birds and only use the niger feeder when the garden is quiet.

    Like the new blog…….

    • Hi Cheryl,

      If you’re wondering how to attract the LTT’s closer, they love fat balls and buns… Just the sponge of the bun. Put them in the fat ball feeders and they’ll definitely find them. I used to bake them especially for the LTT’s last winter, but since they stopped visiting to breed I stopped again. Looks like I’ll have to buy more sponge mix.

      They Goldies are here a lot, at certain points in the year it’s rare for there not to be one on my feeders. We had quite a large charm come in today – will post photos. Mostly juveniles moulting into their red faces with a few adults.

  2. Hi Liz,

    Do you mean a currant bun? Obviously without the currants 🙂
    I will try it.

    The Goldfinch feed on the teasels….they looks so pretty but again I am rarely able to capture them with my camera.
    I think living in the countryside they are just not used to people.
    When I lived in a town the birds were quite happy to feed while I worked in the garden….not so here. I must confess I find it quite frustrating……

    • Hi Cheryl,

      A bun as in a fairy cake or other sponge. I just buy a mix from sainsbury’s for like 69p or something, it makes 12 buns and I keep a couple for myself 😀
      Although birds such as Blackbirds will enjoy currant buns as they often eat raisins… Just white bread isn’t so good for the birds – nor us tbh.

      (neither is sponge lol, but it is yummy!)

      I think it can depend where you are and the time of year in terms of how friendly the birds are. Mine aren’t friendly, I cannot get close to them. Well I can, but it’s usually only the youngsters when they’re first fledged before they learn to be more careful. As much as I’d like to be able to get close or have a friendly Robin, the reality is; it’s better for the birds to remain wild.
      LTT’s are quite well known for being a bit silly in terms of being so intent on foraging that they don’t realise a person is there… A few times I’ve had them very close to me without realising it and know others have said the same.

      In general I leave the back of the garden to the birds, I don’t often spend much time up there and it’s sort of become their space.

  3. Hi Liz, we get LTTs cavorting around the estate but rarely see them in the garden. Mind you, birds have to forage for themselves nowadays, I became congenitally unable to allow the bird feeders to empty due to guilt, and it began to cost us a fortune! Fun pics.

    • Hi Janet,

      I often see the flocks across the road in the woodland as I wait at the bus stop or walking to work/town. There’s been a few times when they’ve literally followed me along… Very strange!

      A couple of months ago they were costing me too much too. I had to refill the feeders daily because of all the fledglings and breeding pairs. It was becoming a chore, but I knew it would die off and surely enough it has and I’m back to refilling every couple of days and eventually it will be come once/twice a week.

      It’s the sheer volume of Sparrows that cause the problems here… But as the youngsters move on or some pass away, then numbers go back down to a more reasonable 30-50.

  4. Oh, this post makes me homesick! I miss my little British birds, especially the fabulous blue tits that used to steal the cream from the top of the milk bottles in the mornings during winter, and the perfect little robins. Our robins here are ok, but they don’t look quite right to me, they’re not as demure. It certainly looks like quite the party going on at your feeders!

    • Hi Clare,

      We don’t get BT’s doing that here; probably because few people these days have delivered milk… I’ve never experienced them doing it at all, even when we did have our milk delivered!
      I do love watching them go through the plants looking for food; it’s far more satisfying than having them in the feeders, just knowing that they’re finding natural food always cheers me up.

      I haven’t seen any Wrens for a while, but I do hear them around… It’s likely that they’re well hidden at this time of year but during winter I’ll begin to see far more of them.

      It’s a shame you don’t get the European Robin over in the US 🙂 The US Robins just look like large thrushes to me…. Do they have a similar reputation i.e. becoming friendly with gardeners?

  5. Lovely photos of the birds, liz.
    may I suggest links to previous posts on your new blog as well? I know you’ve only just moved, but I also know you want it to be as good as the blogger blog you had.

    • Hi Yoke,

      There is a previous posts thing – it’s the calendar on the left navbar, each day that I’ve posted is bold and underlined; you click on it, it’ll take you to the post made.
      I’ve yet to find a widget which is similar to the blogger one which has them by month and year… There was one which was similar, but it didn’t collapse them into years and such so it ended up as a massive long list of each month over the past three years which looked ridiculous.

    • Hi Yoke –

      I’ve just added another one, which may be easier to use. There’s a dropdown box that allows users to select a month and indicates how many posts were made.

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