I go down to the shop in the village about every other day, to buy the Irish Times, a bottle of wine and fresh fruit and veg. Going along the same road this often, you get to know the changes in the wildlife en route. Also it is a good way of checking the remaining hedgerow, how the House Sparrows are doing, and the Ivy's flowers, fruit and residents. Sometimes Mr. Blackbird is foraging alongside the road. The distinctive calls of the Jackdaws, Rooks and Pied Wagtails (with the House Sparrows trying to overpower these powerful cries, with their own.
In summer another specie add their voice to the choir and it is one which create that delightful jumping of heartbeats. And it even touches the control panel of my wheels, when she stops, so that I can look up, or duck when the birds call from their favourite spot on an overhead telephone cable or fly past, which is usually very low over my head.
How can one not like and admire Swallows? The bird which means spring and summer to so many of us, wherever you live. Perhaps it is one of the most successful family of birds also? Having 88 species worldwide, bar remote oceanic islands, and the poles, 1 of these species is endangered, with 4 are vulnerable.
those who have followed the Wild China series on the BBC, will have had their hearts melt in one of the first programs, the 1st or 2nd, I believe, as the Chinese man removes the winter protection of their house to let the Swallows enter his house to start restoring their nests which line the kitchen, with the birds And how he times the sowing of his rice paddies by the arrival of his summer guests. Early or late return of the Swallows decides the best time to sow his rice paddy.
My camera will mostly come with me to the shop, sitting happily and tight in my bag on my lap, whenever it is dry. I took out my camera again yesterday, not that I could give a reason why I did this.
Coming out of the shop, I heard something familiar, and I kept looking up. It was not that typical Swallow chatter, but even so I knew they had arrived. You know how sometimes yuo can sense things. As I turned into the backroad I went faster, because I knew that if they had arrived, this is where they'd be; perched on the overhead telephone cable. And so they were! My first intention was to hurry home, grab the camera! Which I did not do. I realised it was much too cold. So I am afraid you have to do with last year's, sitting on the fence in the garden.
Barn Swallow, Hirundo rustica
Up until the autumn of 2006, a mixed flock of Goldfinches, Greenfinches and Siskins would arrive in the gaden, staying until leaving again in spring. Until the next 16th of October. The three finches would spend the winter feeding from the peanutfeeder and the Sunflowerseeds on the birdtable. The Siskins hanging down with head down of course. Last year, some of the three species arrived, this tim during spring. I did only get very brief visits from them. Then, on the day were leaving for Holland, and while the driver of the Irish Wheelchair Association bus was entering the house, this young Goldfinch appeared at the birdtable. It was really hard to leave the house after that delightful sight!
For the rest of 2007 and 2008, I would sometimes see the Goldfinches or Greenfinches come onto the cage/fencing or the Fennel and look down at who was about and what was up for diner. Only rarely would they come down to feed. (in the summer it is the large amounts of House Sparrow fledglings and juvies which keep them out, I think, as these do rise to a minimal of 50 most years. )
So it was a real surprise when I started seeing Greenfinches in the planter. Two or three come down in the morning around 9 or 10am.
This male seemed quite a messy eater on this Sunflower seed from the seed mixes in the planter.
male Greenfinch, Gardulus chloris
These two pictures show how a bird will take off from a narrow opening. The spreading of the wings will only happen once in the air.
A few others in the garden and the estate:
Blue Tit, Parus caeruleus
The Jackdaws are seriously courting. It is wonderful to see these cute pairs.
courting Jackdaws, Corvus monedula
male House Sparrow, Passer domesticus
here the Jackdaw male feeds the female as part of him showing he is able to provide for her and their chicks.
LEAVE YOUNG BIRDS BE!!
Please, do not hamper a young bird's life by picking it up, and taking it home with you. It is calling its parents to help them in locating it.
After fledgling from the nest, the parent birds will keep feeding it, and look out for it, until it will be able to look after itself.
And the reason you cannot see a parent is because of your own proxomity to the young bird. And while you are ebating if or not you should take the bird home, you keep the parent from giving it well needed nutrition in the form of a meal!
The photos on this blog are all taken by me. If there is any picture you might want to use for any other than personal use, please drop me a line to the email address shown in the sidebar on the right.