Snow doesn’t always put the garden to sleep

Quite the reverse here anyway, my garden is coming alive with more and more bird visitors with each day since our temps dropped and the snow arrived. Over the weekend, I heard Long-tailed tits fly over my garden shed and head to the feeders. I headed straight indoors for my camera but alas they were gone 🙁

This morning it was the return of Male Bramblings to my garden. I was thrilled! Last winter was the first time we had seen them and I didn’t know if we would see them again. I was lucky to be looking out the window at the time 🙂

It was a tricky choice between video camera or still camera to capture images of the Brambling today. It was looking particularly colourful with its warm orange breast as the sun lit up both it and the red stems of my Acer palmatum ‘Sango-kaku’.

This sunny moment only lasts a short time but the tree and the birds on it look so eye-catching at that time. I chose my video camera but the Brambling wasn’t too cooperative in staying still for very long so my footage was a bit jumpy. However, the video grabs below give a flavour of his visit…

Looking up my favourite RSPB BIRDFEEDER BOOK, I see it mentions that when Bramblings come to gardens they will take sunflower seeds and peanuts. Yep… I can confirm that I have seen them do that. It also goes on to say that Bramblings have learned to use feeders… I can also confirm that and that they don’t go for the easy ones either! They’ll tackle the clinging feeders where they will hung around to feed or grab and go 🙂

Yep… the garden isn’t always a sleepy place when it snows. Put up a few bird feeders up and see what happens! Oh yes… and remember to clean them regularly to avoid the spread of disease when big groups visit. Getting a camera out and taking photos from indoors is fun too and can help when looking to ID your new visitors. That’s what I found anyway 🙂

Being completely honest I’m not really a fan of snow – childhood memories of being cut-off in our village and skidding in cars. However, the cold and snow does bring in big flocks of birds and that is exciting as then you have a ‘window of opportunity’ to see new bird species you may never have seen before.

If you have the time… pull yourself up a chair at a window with a good view of your garden and watch… it makes for great viewing 🙂

This post was written by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in December 2011.

10 thoughts on “Snow doesn’t always put the garden to sleep

  1. Udał Ci się bardzo ładnie go podpatrzeć. Też lubię to robić. Mam karmik, który widzę przez okno i lubię patrzeć jak ptaki się zachowują. Mam to w poście "PTASIE JEDZONKO". Pozdrawiam

  2. What a beautiful bird! They do look wonderful in your bush.

    We enjoy watching our red-bellied woodpecker every morning when he comes to breakfast on black sunflower seeds and suet. You might enjoy my post: wifemothergardener.blogspot.com/2011/11/our-red-bellied-woodpecker.html

    I am sure our snow is coming soon. It is hard to believe we have only had it for a few hours so far.

  3. Lovely photos Shirley. there are lots of tits (blue, great and coal) at our bird table. And we have gold Finches etc which are supposed to like the niger seed (hung in a special bag from Montrose Basin)Nothing is eating the niger seed wherever I put it. Any ideas?

  4. Lovely visitor and the low sunlight really brought out its colours. Looking at the forecast today it looks as though you could be in for more white breezy weather.

  5. No snow here Shirley but it is sure cold enough to bring snow and birds to the feeder. We keep an eye on our feeders through out winter. Lucky you having a brambling at your feeders. I have only seen one in my life. We had to go to Alaska to see it. There have been a few sightings in the lower 48 but I haven't had the opportunity to see them. Keep warm and safe.

  6. Hehe. I really like the fourth photo down – "Ere wot you looking at?" Never seen a brambling but will keep my eyes peeled this winter.

  7. Hello everyone, I’m delighted you all enjoyed seeing this special visitor. Haven’t been around today to see if it returned but with no more snow today I suspect not. More snow is on the way though so we will expect it then 🙂

    Giga, it’s great to hear from someone who also enjoys birds. You have some stunning images of plants on your blog and many, many comments. Thanks for yours 🙂

    Julie, isn’t it so pretty? They looked a great colour match for my tree. Thanks for the link, yes I did enjoy seeing that post. Yes, our snow has stopped here too. It’s very cold and pavements (sidewalks) here are treacherous with snow gone to ice. Guessing you will get some pretty harsh conditions when the snow arrives with you. Stay safe 🙂

    lotusleaf, it was. We usually get the birds passing through on migration (like Blackcaps). Don’t know if this is a resident one or not.

    Janet, thanks. Real photos would have been good but I was happy enough with grabbing frames from the video. It was fun choosing them! Yep, we’ve lots of the tit family here too and many finches – loads of goldies. Ah… the niger seed. I’ve never had success with the niger feeders when there have been sunflower hearts in another. Perhaps if you remove the sunflower hearts for a while (or all day) on a busy day at the feeders then the goldies might find the niger ones and return to them when you return the sunflower heart ones. I wasn’t too bothered about the niger seed here as they seriously set seed below the feeder (I tried to introduce the taste via a standard seed feeder once – what a mess). Good luck 🙂

    John, yes the Brambling is a lovely visitor. There is only a brief 20 mins when that tree gets lit like this. I don’t always see it. Yep… it’s been a bit blustery today. Fortunately no more snowfall today but the next few days may see loads.

    Lisa, ah… guessing your snow has melted. Saw the pic of you and Luna with it on your blog. Ours has melted a little and has left treacherous ice now. I’d guess you’d be watching your feeders just now. Gosh… all the way to Alaska to see a Brambling. Guessing there was snow there at the time too. Thanks, stay safe and warm too 🙂

    Dave, me too. I was thinking of that caption for the last image and peek-a-boo for that one. If you get it really cold with you and lots of snow that’s when the larger groups of finches build up and you might get a glimpse of the Brambling then. Keep ‘em peeled… good plan 🙂

  8. Shirl – I always thought you lived at the Forest Home in Hampshire lol … I did think that you did a lot of zipping up & down to & from Scotland … maybe you do?!

  9. That's a great bird to have visit, I had one a couple of years back and thought it was just a chaffinch at first, until you get a propper look and see how different they are, great post, Mike.

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