Today there was something of a surprise in the garden. A while back I discussed the feral pigeon that is a regular visitor to our garden. (See here). It was also a mystery how this feral pigeon had ended up in our suburban estate and it usually visited the garden along with woodpigeons and collared doves. I’d never seen it with another similar pigeon. Until now!
On the left is our pigeon and next to it is a darker companion. Pigeons breed throughout the year so it seems likely that this may be it’s partner. The mystery only deepens- after nearly three years why has a second pigeon now appeared? Was it around before and not travelling to the garden? And where are these pigeons coming from? As you can see, they are both well-groomed and good-looking birds, somewhat different from their counterparts in the town centre. The plot thickens…
There was no sign of the green sandpiper on the Avon today but a grey wagtail was there in it’s spot.
The river is very different from the woodland streams that they usually breed in but they are well known for finding all sorts of water sources in the winter.
I have noticed that this stretch of the river still has very little water in it. The stony area where this wagtail is standing is in the middle of the river and is rarely visible, especially not to the extent it is now. It shows how little rainfall we’ve had recently. I also wonder if recent work nearby to reduce flooding may have affected this stretch of the river- could this potentially be an effect which won’t go away?
I’ve been pleased to see that there is still the occasional goosander on the fishing lake. Whilst there’s not been another day with 30+ birds present there are one or two most times I walk past.
On a recent to Blashford Lakes over Christmas I was lucky enough to see a couple of more unusual birds. Thanks to an eagle-eyed birder in the hide, I managed to see this snipe on the edge of one of the lakes.
Somewhere in the region of 300,000 snipe join our 800,000 residents over the winter from Northern Europe. Here we are actually towards the edge of their region with few breeding pairs in the South West of England.
Another exciting spot was this water rail.
Water rails are not hard to see due to their scarcity but due to their timidness. Not that this individual seemed to know that as it was happy to parade around in front of a growing group of birders and has been doing this regularly over the last couple of weeks. It’s found a pool in amongst some Alder trees and seems happy there.
Another highlight from that visit was watching goldfinches feeding off the dead seedheads at the edge of the lake complex. There are few public places (I imagine there’s some private gardens) where you can see this locally.
To end, here’s a few other birds from that visit.