Thursday 3 April 2014

Tree Following 2: Silver Birch

This post is the second in my Tree Following series, part of a wider project run from the Loose and Leafy blog. 

Since my last 'Tree Following' post I have another bird to add to the list, namely the Starling. The bird visited the feeder on 9 March, missing my first bulletin by two days. It returned on 14 March with a mate. The Great Spotted Woodpecker has only been seen once this month.

Starling and Robin onSilver Birch feeder

I am not sure what variety of Silver Birch I am following. What I do know is that these trees are considered a good choice for small spaces between houses because their root systems rarely interfere with foundations. I recall a song we used to sing round the camp fire at my Brownie pack meetings in about 1970. It was about North America and ran thus,

'Land of the silver birch, home of the beaver,
where still the mighty moose wanders at will ...'

I was surprised to discover much later on that the Silver Birch is also one of our British native species. The Silver Birch is monoecious, meaning that it has male and female flowers (aka catkins) on the same tree. I will hope to post photos of these in due course.

Base of the Silver Birch

And now for a couple of diary entries.

Diary entry for Monday 17 March
I was 'tree watching' when a Blue tit landed under the branches of the Silver Birch in front of me. It pecked around in the soft grass and moss for a moment, and soon its bill emerged full of a large bundle of nesting material. It flew up to the tree, by-passing the coconut halves, and landed on the circular feeder. I was expecting the bird to take the nesting material into the feeder through one of the Blue tit-sized holes, but instead it allowed its nesting material to drop to the ground and began instead to feed off a fatball inside the feeder.

Diary entry for Wednesday 26 March
Was it only yesterday on my blog that I commented on the spring weather, contrasting it with a year ago when the garden was covered in a blanket of snow? Well, this morning put paid to my optimism. A wintry shower arrived out of a sombre sky, sprinkling the undergrowth at the base of the Silver Birch with a dusting of hail. The feisty Robin was the first bird to alight on and flutter around the coconut feeder, and for a few moments it felt like Christmas.

26 March: a sprinkling of hail around the foot of the tree ...


This is my round-up of species seen so far (on, in, under, over or around the Silver Birch):


TFb1:   Great Spotted Woodpecker [March]
TFb2:   Great tit [March]
TFb3:   Long-tailed tit [March]
TFb4:   Blackbird [March]
TFb5:   Song Thrush [March]
TFb6:   Blue tit [March]
TFb7:   Robin [March]
TFb8:   Magpie [March]
TFb9:   Wood Pigeon [March]
TFb10: Dunnock [March]
TFb11: Starling [April]


TFi1: Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly [March]
TFi2: Buff-tailed Bumblebee [March] 
TFi3: Brimstone Butterfly [April]
TFi4: 7-spot Ladybirds [April]


TFm1: Brown-Lipped Snail  [March]


TFf1: Snowdrops [March]
TFf2: Daisy [March]
TFf3: Dandelion [March]


Naquillity said...

what a great entry for your tree following. i love how you recorded everything in, on or around your tree. i look forward to more postings on your silver birch. love that first picture. your robin looks much like ours. hope all is well. have a great night~

eileeninmd said...

Great post, Caroline! Love the cute Robin! Spring is here, we just have to insist.. Have a happy weekend!

Crafty Green Poet said...

I love that photo of the starling and robin! Good too to catch up with your silver birch

Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

Fascinating detail. Interesting to see the startling and robin together. We've had no snow and I don't think we've had frosts - but we have had quite a few hail storms.

Anonymous said...

Aha, someone else who is following a birch! (Wish I had your bird visitors in mine, though - too many visiting cats, I suspect)

Dartford Warbler said...

That`s a great photo of the starling and robin against the red stems of dogwood.

I like your idea of diary entries for your tree. Silver birches seem attractive to lots of bird species.

chloris said...

I love the photo of the robin and starling. We never seem to see starlings round here any more. We used to have so many.
I think it is a great idea having bird feeders on the tree you are following.

Anonymous said...

Nice to see the various visitors to your tree. Birch trees are lovely.

Joanna said...

What wonderful observations. I have yet to write up my tree following post but you have made me realise I haven't been watchful enough this month. I think I shall take inspiration from your diary entries - maybe do one a week that I can draw on for the monthly link-up.

sharp green pencil said...

Lovely tree and I particularly like your wildlife list!