Friday, January 10, 2014

January birds

The River Annan is looking much more benign than recently. This photo was taken looking upstream from the Jocksthorn Bridge.

Just a couple of weeks ago the river was flowing over this field and across the road, see here. The hedge has acted like a sieve, trapping debris.

Another view of all the debris from the other direction.

I found it interesting that young beech trees have been able to hold on to their leaves despite the very high winds we've had recently. I'm afraid I don't remember too much detail of botany lectures at University in 1965 (!) I recall learning about the abscission layer, but 'marcescent' and 'marcescense' are new words in my vocabulary as of today. Here's an explanation which I found here: "In autumn, the leaves of most deciduous trees develop an abscission layer where the petiole (leaf stalk) meets the branch. This allows the leaves to fall off without leaving an open wound on the stem. Dry leaves stay on marcescent trees because the leaves didn’t develop the normal abscission layer in autumn. Marcescence is often a juvenile trait and may disappear as the tree matures." 

Meanwhile, back at Skip, I try best I can to look after the regular visitors. There always seems to be at least one robin. At the moment there are two, but I haven't spent long enough watching to see if they interact with each other. I'm not the only one who has asked if there is an easy way to differentiate the sexes, see here.

 It's always a bit of a challenge to get a good photo of my shy dunnock!

 Goldfinches at the niger seed feeder.

The most common visitors to the garden at Skip are chaffinches. The males are more colourful and so usually get featured. Time to highlight the female, above.

Now I know why this peanut feeder requires filling so regularly! Perhaps I need one with smaller holes. This nuthatch has no difficulty in wrestling a peanut through the mesh. This feeder attracts plenty blue tits, coal tits and great tits, all of which seem to give way to the nuthatch when it appears.

Buying in bulk is the most cost effective way of keeping the birds coming. These peanuts all the way from Argentina!

"Excuse me, the feeder's empty!"

Regular visitors this month include a blackie, a great spotted woodpecker, and these pidgeons occasionally drop in!

Photos © Skip Cottage

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