I didn't think there would be anything worth mentioning today. Hedge trimming, weeding, generally pottering about. I have lost one Goldfinch to some predator or other. I didn't see what but saw the evidence. Whether the local killer black cat or a raptor I am not sure but I incline to the cat at the moment.
Just went through to make a cup of coffee when I saw what at first I thought was a House Sparrow with different markings. Grabbing the camera I took a few shots before it disappeared as all the birds are very skittish at the moment. It wasn't until I examined the photos and had a look in my books that I found out what I had seen was a Tree Sparrow. In fact there had been two but I was concentrating so hard on the first one I saw I missed seeing the other.
What had caught my eye was the black cheek spot and the brown head. The slight yellow on the beak was only noticeable on the photographs.
Just checked again and they are back. There were at least three and possibly four. Two stayed long enough to capture a piece of video - with plenty of Goldfinch squabbling in the background!
According to my trusty 'Collins Complete Guide to British Birds' the Tree Sparrow has a restricted and shrinking range which seems to be mainly down the east side of the UK. It is occasionally found on the outskirts of villages but is more commonly associated with untidy arable farms. The population has suffered a catastrophic decline of more than 90 percent in recent decades. Lack of winter stubble fields and reduced numbers of weeds in crops have reduced its food stocks.
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