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ShareMondays2020 – Squabbling Siblings

Squabbling Siblings

ShareMondays2020 – Squabbling Siblings

Watching the fledgling starlings every day is such a great way to observe their behaviour and how they mature. They’re definitely at teenager stage, so much shouting and posturing! They absolutely scream at the adults and I can’t help feeling a bit sorry for these hard working parents. There’s screaming to be fed, screaming when the adult is in the way, screaming when a sibling gets to the favourite feeder first. It’s just like any human household really! I’m just watching all the stages of adolescence at a much faster pace.

Adult Starling Plumage

Beautiful adult starling

June is the month when many of us take on the 30DaysWild challenge from The Wildlife Trusts. They have recently launched a campaign for a Wilder Future, something I have always been passionate about. Latest statistics show that 1 in 7 species in the UK is at risk of extinction now. Starlings are an at-risk species. There has been about an 80% decline in the species since the 1980’s! Much of this is down to habitat loss. This is both in relation to loss of winter roosting sites and a loss of suitable nest sites. Our starlings nest in cavities under our roof tiles. I really am truly privileged to have them here and I would hate for future generations to miss out on the pleasure of watching these garrulous characters! Please do read the statement and join the campaign if you can!

Here’s a bit of the action from the starlings and other birds at our feeder this week. Enjoy!

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ShareMondays2020 – My Window On Wildlife

The Messy Eater

ShareMondays2020 – My Window On Wildlife

As most of you will know, I can’t leave my home as I am in the shielded group. I can’t even get into the garden as we’re in flats and the gardens are a communal space! I do, however, have a window that looks onto a small area of lawn and a little flower bed with hydrangea and roses.

Great Tit in the Rose Bush

Great Tit in the Rose Bush

When we were initially asked to stay shielded indoors, I knew that the hardest aspect of this for me, would be not getting out to my favourite nature reserves and parks to watch wildlife. I ordered a new bird feeding station, a little flower shaped feeder and a bird bath to encourage our garden birds to come to me. The feeders and bath are all set quite high, as we have two cats so I wanted to keep the wildlife safe! My regular visitors are the starlings, great tits and blue tits. The hot weather has made the bird bath a popular new feature and several of my neighbours have followed suit and added bird baths to their little patches too!

Thirsty Work

Parenting is thirsty work!

 

The little flower feeder has been very popular with the blue and great tits who both like an open feeder and good perch. I got Simon to stick it into one of my large planters to give it a bit of extra height. The blue tits are looking quite bedraggled at the moment as they have been very busy taking food to the nest. I suspect they have started their moult as well. After a very heavy shower the other day they looked especially untidy! I think it just adds to their character and tells a story of how much parenting work they are doing!

Bedraggled Blue Tit

Bedraggled Blue Tit

After The Rain

After the rain!

I have been filling (or rather sending Simon outside to fill!) the flower feeder with suet pellets for a high energy food source. The great tits absolutely love it! They’re not nearly as bedraggled as the blue tits but I am sure they have a busy nest nearby.

Take Away Dinner

Take Away Dinner

For weeks now I could see increasing activity from the starlings and felt sure that their young must be close to fledging! I was finally rewarded with the sight of a couple of fledged starlings at the feeding station. They are wonderful to see and hear! Very noisy, demanding food from every single adult nearby. The coconut feeders with suet and seed have been great for the starling fledglings, soft and easily digestible and packed with energy! They really are rather messy eaters though. Plenty ends up being dropped on the ground but the pigeons are happy to come and hoover them up.

The Very Hungry Starling

The very hungry starling!

 

The fledglings are great to look at closely with the telephoto lens! The markings are, of course, very different and they are able to open their beaks incredibly wide due to the soft gape flanges in the corner of the beak. I also noticed that the fledglings eyes are quite blue in colour.

Fledgling Starling Detail

Juvenile starling detail

I’m looking forward to seeing blue and great tit fledglings joining the starling at the feeder soon! I had a brief glimpse of a blue tit fledgling this afternoon so watch this space for more fledgling stories.

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ShareMondays2018 – CAPTION COMPETITION!

Cian with parakeets in Hyde Park

ShareMondays2018 – CAPTION COMPETITION!

Three…two…one…GO!

Firstly, I must thank Cian for agreeing to let me use this candid image I captured of him, covered in parakeets, in Hyde Park on Friday. I hadn’t met Cian or his family before! If I am planning on posting recognisable images of complete strangers, I try my best to actually speak to them, get their permission and just explain what I am using them for. It’s a great way to start a conversation with people. Sharing a bond with wildlife is another fantastic ice breaker!

I was in Hyde Park, for some nature therapy, after a London Hospital appointment and followed the sound of parakeets toward what I assumed was a roost. Just through the trees a shady glade was filled with people, parakeets, laughter and smiles. Everyone was chatting and sharing bits of fruit or birdseed to offer up to the equally chatty parakeets. Hyde Park itself is a wonderful oasis in the big city but here, in this little glade, it was almost as if I had been transported out of London and into a jungle paradise. Here, within the city that never stops, where people are always in a rush, tempers are frayed and patience is just a card game, we all stopped and lost track of time.

I have so many different potential titles that I decided to throw it out there and see if any of you can guess any of mine! So here’s my challenge to everyone on WordPress and those also taking part in ShareMondays, Wex Mondays and the Fotospeed challenges. Gold stars to anyone who guesses correctly!

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Blue Monday: Bonnie Blue Tit

Feeding The Blue Tit

Blue Monday: Bonnie Blue Tit

One of my favourite simple pleasures in life is feeding the birds, while I sip a hot drink and maybe eat a slice of cake, outside the Glasshouse Cafe at RHS Wisley Gardens 🙂

Part Of Smiling Sally’s Blue Monday
Smiling Sally

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A Bird in the Hand

A Bird in the Hand

Today I took my friend, Sam, and her daughter, Mylie along to Wisley Gardens to see the Butterflies in The Glasshouse but my Photo of the Day is Sam’s highlight of the day, a robin feeding from her hand 🙂

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Mylie was captivated too but didn’t want to get too close to the mealworm and seed mix I’d brought along to give to the birds!

The snow is thawing now but the birds still need some extra food and fresh water to get them through to Spring. Which brings me nicely along to my links for the day!

This weekend is The Big Garden Birdwatch with the RSPB. In conjunction with this, RHS Wisley are hosting an event there with guided walks and experts from the RSPB on hand to help. Visit both sites to register (RSPB) and for times of the walks (RHS). You can, of course, take part in your own garden or a local park!

RSPB – http://tiny.cc/etb4qw

RHS Wisley – http://www.rhs.org.uk/Gardens/Wisley/What-s-on