January saw an influx
of birds into the garden here as we saw more movement of flocks of
winter birds in the fields round about us. Species such as starlings,
linnets and redwings, which are unusual visitors to the garden here,
sat around on our hedges and made for very interesting bird watching.
We also had our first winter finch - a couple of lesser redpolls - but
there is still no sign of siskins or bramblings. Song thrushes
began to sing every day - one in particular from the top of our ash
tree - a truly wonderful and spring-like sound. As the month
progressed a second also started to sing from the woodland next door.
The weather continued
to be mild, foggy and relatively dry and the bird feeders were
exceptionally busy with more than twenty species in the garden most
days. Fieldfares continued to feed on the fallen apples and there are
still plenty lying under the trees in the garden. Only two mammals
were seen this month, both on the patio at the back of the house. The
first was a bank vole that managed to find his way inside a bird
feeder! Clearly he knew what he was doing and popped out again easily,
leading me to believe that this was a regular occurrence. The second
was a weasel for which we had excellent views as he chased around for
several minutes - presumably searching for the bank voles that
frequent this area.
By the end of the
month other birds were starting to sing in the relatively mild weather
and great tit, chaffinch and dunnock were heard singing from the top
of the hedges. Our willow tit, which had not been seen for a couple of
week, returned to the feeders along with two march tits. Both
marsh and willow are still caching food in a variety of places.
The month ended with
snowdrops just in bloom in the garden and on the bank outside our
house - a truly uplifting sight.