Juggling life through a bi-polar lens. Sometimes up, sometimes down. Mostly trying to tread water in the middle. Creating a likeness to a normal life. Whatever "normal" is...

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Goldfinches!


Isn't he beautiful? But this is a youngster- the adults have red on their faces, covering the eye. Or to be more precise, the males have a red eye mask that covers the eyes completely, and the females' eye mask stops half way across the eye area. If you look closely at the last photo, you can just about see his dad on the right, towards the back. You can see the splodge of his red eye mark.
But anyway, my point is, this fella is lovely, but he'll get even more colourful as he gets older!

It took us ages to get goldfinches to the garden. They eat a tiny seed called nyger seed. It's so small you need to have special feeders so that it doesn't just spill out everywhere. The first feeder we bought, we ended up throwing away. No one came to it. And then, earwigs inhabited it. Yeauck!
In the spring, I heard the goldfinches' very distinctive call again, so bought a new feeder. I tried it in a few places, before they 'found' it here, in our hawthorn tree.

One day, I was standing at the kitchen window, finally deciding that yes, this window is filthy and could really do with a clean, when a goldfinch flew down and half hovered, half leaned on the window-pane, just up in the corner. I watched, amazed, as it pecked away at a cobweb. He fluttered to and fro doing this, several times. They use the cobweb material for binding together the moss in their nests!

It gave me a good reason to leave the window cleaning for a bit longer, and also made me think of spiders in a SLIGHTLY better light. (I'm still terrified of any bigger than an inch, though, and feed them to my Dyson.)

This wee fella confirms that these lovely birds have been breeding nearby. Horray!


One other thing, just look at all the berries on this tree! It is absolutely smothered in them. My mum says that this is a sign that a bad winter is to follow. I've heard that before. What I want to know is, how does the tree know this?

8 comments:

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

These are lovely photographs. I am just now having the time to prepare a yard for the springs new arrivals. I won't get your beauties, but I will get hummingbirds.

Chalkhills Collective said...

Great shots! It looks like a hawthorn/quickthorn to me. I heard Ray Mears talking about them on the radio this week, apparently they make a very good fruit leather!!

Chalky

Shrink Wrapped Scream said...

Oh, wow - I so enjoyed this post. Your love of nature is infectious. Thanks for lifting me up, you are sooo AMAZING! (Smile.)

Mousie/Paisible said...

oh that bird is so lovely...and such a nice post...thank you sweetheart, do me good...
love from Mousie

CHEWY said...

Gold Finches! I enjoyed this story.

We feed them too. They love to eat our sunflowers' seeds. We also have these hanging bags, kinda like a sock, and they can bull the thistle seed right through the net-like material.

No red on ours. Bright yellow in summer, a bit greenish the rest of the year. I don't know where they go in the winter.

Rachelle said...

ooh! I love goldfinches!
We have all kinds of finches here in the summer, we have tons of sunflowers growing for them, and then we have our hummingbird feeder, I have seen 20 hummers at one time at our two feeders!
Slainte~
Rachelle

maxxo said...

great shots. i love watching birds these days, especially the mischievous ones. i saw a kestrel while i was hiking in the mountains recently, that was awesome.

Helena said...

Inside Our Hands,

thanks- I do envy you your humming birds!


Chalky,

I can understand why this tree might be called a quickthorn. It's almost doubled in height in the 3 years we've been here!


Shrinky,

I'm so pleased to see you back! I really need to be offline for a while myself, to get my course finished, but I miss the peeps here!


Mousie,

I never expected this to be such a popular post. I'm glad I posted it though, as otherwise I think these photo's would have been just sleeping away in my hard-drive forever!


Chewy,

I've read that in the winter they join up in flocks of 40 or more and go forraging in the countryside. I like to think of them in big groups like that, but I shall miss seeing/hearing them.


Rachelle,

I wish I could see hummingbirds! I've never seen areal one, not even in an aviary in a zoo! My partner lived in Ecuador for a while (with Bob!) and saw them every day on "sugar water feeders". Alas, they didn't take photo's!


Maxxo,

I love to see the kestrals. When we used to live in a flat, we looked out one day and saw one on the same level as us, hovering over a grass verge. So we saw him from the same point of view as being alongside his wing. It was amazing!


Thanks for the nice comments, everyone!

Helena