Wednesday 10 September 2014

Tree Following ~ The Silver Birch in September

This post is the seventh in my Tree Following series, part of a wider project run by Lucy Corrander from the Loose and Leafy blog. I am following a Silver Birch in Suffolk, UK. You will find the other Tree Follower links for September 2014 here ... so do take the chance to go on a virtual exploration of the arboreal world!

to my Tree Following post for September. 

I'm sorry it is a bit late but I've been a busy bee recently. As you can see, the Bluetits are still enjoying the coconut feeders that hang from my Silver Birch. I hope to return to my usual posting for October, but meanwhile, here is a round-up of life in, on, under, over and around my chosen tree.  

The Silver Birch itself is showing a few autumnal signs, with small tinges of brown and yellow on the leaves. However, my tree seems to be changing slowly compared with the Horse Chestnuts and Virginia Creeper in the locality.

The usual pair of Dunnocks have continued to rootle around below the branches. They are very elusive most of the time.

The Starlings continue to visit and seem to enjoy the chance of a bit of friendly rivalry. They certainly make their presence felt with displays of wing-flapping and squawking!

The Blue tits hold back a bit when the Starlings are on the rampage. The Blue tit in this photo is dangling from a Silver Birch frond and as you can see if you follow the arrow, the tree is still sporting its catkins.

The Robin, Woodpecker, Great tits, Magpies and Wood Pigeons have continued to visit. The (other) silver birch to the front of the house had a Chaffinch perched in its branches one morning. As you can see in the photo above, there have been at least two female Blackbirds.

The scruffy fellow in the photo above is probably the most regular Blackbird visitor to the Silver Birch. He pecks at the coconut on occasions but is more often to be found underneath the tree. I have been rather concerned about him and began to wonder whether he was showing signs of disease or infestation. However (and this is sad), it seems he may be manifesting an avian form of 'relationship stress' that causes blackbirds to lose their head feathers. If this is the case, at least it means that he is not suffering from an infection or infestation that could spread.

The photo above was taken about a month ago. I think it is the same bird, which suggests that he has become even more bald in recent weeks. I wonder if he will recover now that the 2014 mating season must be drawing to a close. Do let me know in the Comments if you find any more literature on this condition ... or if you have a different diagnosis.

And finally, there have been a few dragonflies swarming around, but few have landed. The Shieldbug below was looking up from a fence post near the Silver Birch. I think it is probably a 4th instar.



chloris said...

I love all your birds round your birch. We never see starlings these days in this part of Suffolk. I do miss them.

Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

I have never seen a blackbird in this state and the reason for it is astonishing. Fascinating post.

Donna said...

It seems the wildlife is enjoying the birch tree...I really these trees.

Crafty Green Poet said...

lovely photos, Caroline, specially the blue tits at the top!

Crafty Green Poet said...

oh and that poor blackbird, I've never seen anything like that before!