The next day, we saw a female Tufted Duck going with the flow and rushing out to sea. This encouraged us to scan further for males, and Kate spotted four of them at the harbour entrance. Still on the duck front, five Goldeneye sat at the mouth of the river; apparently they have been around for a few days. I noticed a couple of Moorhen on the river too (the second time I’ve seen them). This is quite rare (for me), the usual place I see them is at Loch Flemington. So here’s hoping they like what they see and hang around.
Also on the river on Sunday we spotted the resident Dipper darting from bank to bank and taking the odd dive under the cold, fast flowing water. A few Feildfare flew overhead and a Mistle Thrush sat quietly in the long grass on the raised land by the Seaman’s Hall. Down at the west wall of the mouth of the river, a Meadow Pipit foraged among the rocks.
The one place that the weather doesn’t stop you getting the binoculars out is from the warmth and comfort of your own home. The garden fills with the usual garden birds and these are supplemented by field birds which are forced into the garden looking for a free snack. Our feeders have been full of Starlings, Sparrows and Chaffinches, with the Robin on the table and the Blackbirds running about the ground looking for scraps. We are very low on Blue Tits and have seen none of the other tits. We did have a Pied Wagtail regularly on our doorstep in the first few weeks of the snow; but it hasn’t reappeared for the past two weeks.
A couple of friends near us have revelled in views of Long Tailed Tits coming to their feeders, as well as Great and the odd Coal Tit. They have been spoilt by Bramblings regularly visiting for a snack. It shows that planting for wildlife can go a long way to attracting the birds into the garden – and backing on to a lovely wooded quarry helps too! One point on Long Tailed Tits: they often announce their presence with a high pitched squeak; and when you see one, look around as they normally travel in flocks and can take over your trees! Another friend’s garden has been inundated with Goldfinches; another bird we do not see very often in our garden, despite the specially prepared feeder for them (Niger Seed). We will be planting Teasel for next year to see if this attracts them in.
I’m hoping to take a few pictures of the birds I see over the next few weeks with my Christmas present! Hopefully I will be able to work out how to post any interesting pics on the blog.