It’s been an interesting week of bird sightings at Bracken House, the highlight being a first ever recorded appearance of a siskin. This sole small finch was seen at the bird feeders on Friday 8th February. A common bird in Wales and Scotland, these birds are less common in England, but are more frequent in winter. They occasionally visit bird feeders searching for peanuts, though they do feed on seeds, especially of conifers, alders and birch.
Also noted at Bracken House on the same day was a pair of mallards, who spent most of the day alternating between the two ponds. Three mallards have been seen here before, but never two pairs. They were even tempted to accept some duck food thrown for them.
A fieldfare was also spotted for the first time this winter. This large, colourful thrush has been seen in flocks here before, but this one was alone, chirping noisily as it foraged for seed in the wild flower meadow.
A grey heron still visits the small pond daily and it was quite a sight to see a heron and four mallards together on the pond.
Another welcome bird at Bracken House is the chaffinch, the UK’s second commonest breeding bird, and arguably the most colourful of the UK’s finches. This bird does not take food from the feeders, preferring to compete with the ever-present blackbirds for food on the patio table and under the hedge.
- What can I do to help the birds in my garden? (telegraph.co.uk)
- Create a paradise for winter birds (omaha.com)
- 100 years ago: Looking out for the lively little finch (guardian.co.uk)