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I have noticed an increase in the amount of birds coming in to the garden this week. I should think that there is now very little food left in the hedgerows and the birds are needing to build up their strength for the breeding season ahead. A local farmer wrote in the community news that he hadn’t noticed the enormous flocks of woodpigeons this winter that we have had the past few years. He thought that perhaps we hadn’t had birds from further north escaping severe weather there. He is probably right. The regular winter visitors to my garden are house sparrows, blackbirds, woodpigeons, collared doves, stock doves, robins, chaffinches, greenfinches, goldfinches, blue tits, great tits, coal tits, long-tailed tits, dunnocks, wrens, rooks, jays, starlings, great spotted woodpeckers, green woodpeckers, moorhens, pheasants, mallards. We have a pair of barn owls who regularly patrol the garden, the fields around us and the lane and we hear tawny owls at night but rarely ever see them. Kestrels and sparrowhawks hunt for prey in our garden. During the severe winters of past years we had much larger numbers of birds than we have seen so far this winter. I admit that for some time in the autumn I didn’t put feeders out but I could see that there was plenty of food for birds in the fields and hedges. I have not seen the large flocks of fieldfares this winter flying over the house, moving from field to field. I haven’t seen the heron in our pond this winter yet either. Only now have the blackbirds started to come in to the garden and I haven’t seen any thrushes yet though I have heard them. I was listening to a song thrush starting to sing his spring song a couple of days ago. I haven’t seen any starlings in the garden this year yet though while I was in Halesworth on Thursday I was listening to a vey loud starling singing from the top of a street light.
I like stock doves – they are chunky, bustling birds with warm grey plumage and the most beautiful iridescent patch of purple and green on their necks. They have a strange monotonous hooting call – a loud hoot and then a couple of quieter ones almost like an echo. They are becoming more obvious in the garden – always in pairs. I have started to hear the chaffinch singing his song too. This is quite early, no doubt because of the mild weather. Jackdaws and crows are about but hardly ever visit the garden. We also hardly ever see a magpie maybe because we have a number of beautiful, raucous jays.
I have seen reed buntings in the garden again this week – I saw them for the first time here last year.
The greylag geese have also arrived this week. Every year they come to nest on the island in the pond. They take over the end of the garden and hiss at us if we dare to invade their space. I think they will have a hard time this year though. We are due to have some work done to remove large amounts of willow growing on the banks and on the island and this will no doubt upset them very much.