Thursday, 24 February 2011

The Tree Year (3): More Winter Visitors at the Larch

Welcome to my third post for The Tree Year 
about the Larch I am watching. 
This tree is in Carmarthenshire, South Wales, UK.

This is the Larch. It is still early in the season, but there are small signs of new growth.
Our 'friend', the Great Spotted Woodpecker, put in another appearance ...

This one is a male (with red mark on back of neck - not visible here): I wonder if we will see a female one day ...

We were delighted to spot Long-tailed tits here for the first time this year.

Two Long-tailed tits and a Blue tit.

Blue tits - and a female Siskin (upside down).

Mr and Mrs Chaffinch arrived.

Note the fresh growth on the larch branch. I think this a second female Chaffinch ...

... and another male Chaffinch.

For those who may not know, the Larch is a deciduous conifer from the Pinaceae family. We usually think of conifers as evergreen, but this species loses its needle-like leaves each autumn. The tiny cones ripen approximately 8 months after pollination. There are Eurasian and North American species. Larch wood is waterproof and hard-wearing - and used in the boating industry. It is also used for the building of houses in Central Europe. Scottish cabers, used in the sport of 'Tossing the Caber', are made from Larch.

Is this a Warbler, perhaps a female Willow Warbler?

The 'usual suspects', the Starlings, arrived on cue.

The male Blackbird preferred rustling around below the tree.

A hungry Chaffinch,

a cute Blue Tit ...

... and a striped Great Tit enjoy the feast.

Share and share alike!

Mr and Mrs Greenfinch breeze in.

Still room for a little one!

I'm not sure about the identity of the bird on the right. Any ideas, please?

The tiny Treecreeper scuttled away up the trunk ...

... until we could hardly see him! Such is the power of camouflage.
Of all the birds listed, the Starling is the only one to have RED conservation status. I know there has been a huge decline in this species, but, strangely, these are the birds we most often see at home in the Swansea area of Wales, UK. There was no sign on this occasion of the Grey Squirrel or of the Nuthatch. We saw a flock of geese in the vicinity: I must check my husband's photos for these. The fresh green growth of new Larch should be more in evidence on our next visit. I wonder what other changes we will observe then!

Previous TTY Posts
  • You can listen to a soundtrack of a Downy Woodpecker if you follow this link to TTY participant, Mike, at the Slugyard



Randy Emmitt said...


Wow on the woodpecker photos! Wonderful selection of birds coming to your feeders! I had two Brown Creepers at my suet yesterday, never had more than one before.

Mary said...

What a bounty of birds! Your Larch seems like a tree that is being well used. I love that woodpecker of yours! I'm always surprised by the red on it. I like those Chaffinchs a lot, too. I would love to get to see all your different from ours. When I hear "the larch" I always think of Monty Python. You've got some great bird shots. I'm going to go back and look at them again!

Glo said...

Wow! That is quite a variety of visitors, and such amazing closeups. The Downy Woodpecker in particular is good to see in such detail.

I'm not sure if you've mentioned about the feeders, but who has put them up?

Caroline Gill said...

We have seen the feeders being filled by kind people. I do not know them, though, Glo ...

Crafty Green Poet said...

wonderful photos, specially the woodpecker and the long tailed tits!

donnie said...

great pics - love the woodpecker :)