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This post is the tenth 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, B. pendula, in Suffolk, UK. You will find the other Tree Follower links on the Loose and Leafy blog ... so do take the chance to catch up with happenings in the arboreal world!
|Above and below: my Silver Birch on 6 February 2015|
A Couple of Diary Entries
Date: 23 January 2015
Weather Cold and bright, blue sky slight drifts of white cloud
I had just walked around the garden in search of Snowdrops (but there aren't any yet) when a large form caught my eye, gliding above the Silver Birch. It was a Buzzard, and the first I have seen over my home patch. Down below, a Robin was feeding among the twigs under the coconut feeders that hand from the tree. A Song Thrush hopped into the frame. The two birds were quite unperturbed by each other's company: they were centimetres apart and yet - apparently - quite uninterested in what the other bird was doing.
|Buzzard (though we saw this one on Skye)|
Date: 30 January 2015
Time: 12 noon
Weather Cold and bright, blue sky, white cloud and patchy snow on the ground from a heavy snow shower yesterday evening.
I was reading Claxton by Mark Cocker (highly recommended) as I sipped my coffee on a cold January morning. The Long-tailed tits flitted between the Silver Birch branches outside, catching my eye every so often with their airborne antics in a bid to secure a morsel of fat from the coconut feeders. There was a sudden swoop and the Great Spotted Woodpecker flew in. The bird did not stay long on the coconut, but in the few seconds in which I had to admirer this striking creature, I noticed that there was no sign of red on the head or the nape of the neck. This convinces me that the bird is a female, so I'm hoping we may have a resident brood of young woodpeckers come the Spring.
We have had some pretty cold weather with showers of large snowflakes, but very little lying snow to date. The cold weather has certainly driven more birds to the coconut feeders on the Silver Birch. The sky has been very dark at times, and I apologise for the quality of the photos.
|First there was ONE Long-tailed tit ...|
|... and then a few seconds later there were TWO ...|
|... then THREE ...|
|... then as the snow came down there were FOUR ...|
|... and soon there were FIVE (and a Blue tit?) ...|
|... yes, there was definitely a Blue tit ...|
|... not forgetting the feisty Robin, hopping around at the base of the Silver Birch.|
Last month I mentioned the 'forked twig-ends' (in inverted commas, as you see). These have grown and swollen considerably, and there are no prizes for noticing that they are birch catkins. The pollen will be released into the atmosphere in April. I am waiting for new green leaves to unfurl.
|Just beyond my home patch there were more signs of spring (I have included these nearby catkins for comparison) ...|
|... but in our neck of the woods it still felt as if winter had the upper hand.|
|Suddenly a new bird alighted in the branches of the Silver Birch ...|
|It looks a bit like a(nother) Robin here, but it was a Redwing.|
That's about it for this month. Next time I will post my updated list of species in, on, under and around the Silver Birch. Who knows, by then we may have had some avian migrants passing through. I keep scanning the bird forum posts (and twitter, of course) to see if there have been any local Waxwing sightings. Apparently there was one in the vicinity, but not close enough ...
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