Tag Archives: bullfinch

Tuppence a bag

If you’re familiar with Mary Poppins, you will probably recognise this quote from the song Feed the Birds. If you aren’t familiar with Mary Poppins then you won’t recognise it. At that point I’m not sure what to say. It’s not really my place to comment on your lack of cultural education, but if you get a chance to watch the film over Christmas, I hope you will do so. Apart from the more traditional aspects of Christmas, it is the season to watch films you wouldn’t normally watch during the rest of the year. It’s a Wonderful Life, Muppet Christmas Carol and The Great Escape – there’s an amnesty on watching films that have no place in the other 11 months of the year.

Anyway – from films to feeding birds.

When we arrived we had fieldfares on the verges. They flew into the hedges, startled by the car, and then flew into the field as I tried to get the camera trained on them. Most of the feeders were empty, as we hadn’t filled them since Wednesday. The large feeder still had food in it – the linseed and sunflower seeds from the mouse-infested bin. They hadn’t left it all, but they had definitely slowed down when they got to it, so I’m guessing that the smell of mouse urine puts birds off. It certainly puts me off.

The other problem food was the feeder with the rapeseed, which came from a sample we’d been given for Open Farm Sunday. It had been in the mouse bin but had been in a closed packet so didn’t smell. I’m wondering if there’s something about rapeseed that mice and birds don’t like.

Actually, there was a third problem – ice, cold and plastic water trays don’t mix. In other words, we broke the water dishes as we tried to get the ice out. Fortunately there are puddles to provide water (which made for an interesting few minutes of ice-breaking as we wondered who would be the first to fall over) and the birds have never used the water trays much anyway.

There wasn’t much action on the feeders, despite them being washed and filled with fresh seed.


Dunnock and rosehips


Blackbird at the Ecocentre


Bullfinch at Screveton

I was particulalrly pleased to get the bullfinch, even though it’s a female blending in with the cover, because I heard the call behind me and was able to spot her in the hedge. It’s my first bullfinch photo, and the first time I’ve seen one so close to the centre – they are normally in the hedges up the lane.

The blackbird is one of our normal family with a few white feathers. I don’t know if the white feathers come back in the same place after moulting – if they do this must be a new generation as last year’s male had white in the wings.




The Green Cathedral

We visited an orchard yesterday with Men in Sheds and Byron the farm apprentice.

I’d been told that we would be visiting a Permaculture project but, once more, I discovered that the farmer isn’t quite clear on what Permaculture is.  There were no ponds, no zones and no ducks. There were, however,  bees, bullfinches and a feeling of peace so it was still well worth a visit. This was particulalrly true of the more mature, less intensive end of the field, where arching trees and unmown wild flower meadow provided an experience like being in a green cathedral.

It may not be permaculture, and it’s not even organic, but it is run with a feeling for nature. Despite some clear ill-feeling on the matter of Bullfinches the owner was still able to tell us he had seen a group of them using the bird baths he provides. There’s one variety of pear tree, and I’m afraid I’ve forgotten which one, where the bullfinches don’t just eat the fruit buds but actually cripple the tree by taking the leaf buds too.

I forgot most of what I was told about the number of varieties he grows – though I did manage to photograph a list of 33 gooseberries. (He actually claims to have around 60 varieties of gooseberry in all) There are 17 varieties of cherry. He also has blackcurrants, redcurrants, white currants and pink currants, plus apples, pears, fourteen sorts of fig and a medlar. That’s just the stuff I can remember.

This is a picture of a plum tree with Plum Pox Virus (or Sharka virus if you want a more interesting name for it). I hadn’t heard of it until the visit. Treatment is to take the tree out and destroy it.