Or so we have been told by a caller today! A few weeks ago they called us asking what had happened to all of their garden favourites and today they rang back to tell us that they had all come back, just like we told them they would!
This follows the pretty consistent pattern we observe every autumn, now the weather has turned a little bit wintry with bad weather, cooler temperatures and the leaves dropping in the woods and hedges, gardens become a much more attractive option with the shelter buildings and garden shrubs provide - not to mention all of the supplementary grub being provided by bird feeding enthusiasts! Is everyone else noticing an increase now? If so what is turning up, any unusual migrants, what are they feeding on?
A common question for us at this time of year is what else can I feed them now its colder. Well we have loads of ideas on the link here, but my current strategy is to continue with a sunflower heart rich seed mix, dried mealworms and windfall fruit on the table and i'm currently using some shop bought suet filled coconuts. When they have been picked clean i'm going to refill them with a home mixed blend of lard and porridge oats, I bought enough for a few refills for less than £2, bargain bird feeding!
You probably saw on Autumnwatch that they were looking for records of redwing, brambling and waxwing. Redwings are here every year in good numbers so sightings of them are pretty consistent year to year, the other two are less predictable, numbers arriving here are influenced by the success of certain wild food crops like beech mast and mountain ash in their more northerly and easterly ranges. I have to agree with Chris Packham though, I don't think we will be in for a 'waxwing winter' on the scale of the last couple of years. I had a good luck at the berry trees growing in a plantation on the way to work this morning just in case some waxwings had turned up, unfortunately not but the trees were covered with redwings, starlings, mistle thrush and chaffinch, though I didn't hear or see any fieldfare - my tip for the week is to go out to find your nearest patch of rowan trees as the berries are primed and ready for the birds to fill their boots!
Many other creatures are winding down their activity with hedgehogs and bats preparing to hibernate, the deer rutting season will be drawing to a close and insects will be much less abundant, although I did spot a late flying comma earlier in the week in a rare spell of sunshine, it was nectaring on Michaelmas daisies! Have you seen any other butterflies on the wing lately? Many of the hibernating species may have already found a safe spot in your sheds and garages!
A Jay has turned up . Finally the resident male Blackbird. Finches .... chaffinches, loads of Goldfinches .. Great Tits, Blue Tits and a lone !! Long tailed Tit (how sad is that !! ). A small number of Starlings are finally taking an interest in the sultana tray.
I expect more and more now.. I hope for Blackcaps , maybe the Gold Crest will be back . And the Coal Tits. Hoping for a Thrush too
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