Spring ahoy – bird watching

Rosie MapplebeckSpecialcats News

Looking forward to spring nesting, I did the Big Garden Birdwatch count. To be civilised about it, I moved the bird feeders nearer to the roundhouse a week before to accustom the birds to flying near there. Then on Sunday I lit a wee fire in the pit there and sat in comfort with a cuppa, counting, while the birds flew in to feed. It was a dreich day and bird numbers were generally down, especially the larger species. However a good number of great tits and hedge and house sparrows came, with coal and blue tits, chaffinch,┬árobins and blackbirds. Our hens and a passing pheasant mopped up any spilled seeds. The nuthatch made an appearance, a very striking wee bird. This photo of Rozelle’s nuthatch is by Tam Reid.

Not seen on the count but regulars here are wrens, long tail tits, collared doves and wood pigeons, tree creeper and bullfinch. The raven is heard most days and buzzards hang above on clear days. One wren has a winter nest inside the cattery! He made it last Spring from fern and mosses. Its just inside the door and yes, some cats have been eyeing him up! He hunts for spiders on the wire mesh.

Notable absences were greenfinch, yellowhammer and siskin: our hedgerow birds.

When the wind stops I will be cleaning the nest boxes out ready for this year’s broods.