Sunday, 20 December 2009

Busy Birdy Bistro

It was definitely a bit on the nippy side at 7 a.m. when we went for our morning  walkies. According to my outdoor thermometer it was -5.6C and I don't think it was far from the mark. A couple of inches of overnight snow added to yesterday's inch made for fairly easy walking until we reached the main street. There, as usual, the scattered salt from the council lorries had melted the snow before the temperature dropped and the road and pavement were covered in patches of ice. In these conditions scattering salt on pavements makes them more dangerous than doing nothing.

Yesterday the Starlings hung around the feeders all day instead of making their usual three short visits. In fact the Birdy Bistro was packed all day with the usual vistors and the chef had to work hard to keep up the supply of seed.

Photos are grainy. I think I should have lowered the ISO but lighting conditions were very variable.
I am always fascinated by the wide open beak method used by Starlings to gather seeds.


This meant that a lot of the time they ended up with a ring of snow round the beak which they had to keep shaking or brushing off.


Every time the birds moved around there would be snow flying about, as with this Chaffinch walking along the top of the bird table.


Some of the smaller birds, as with this Robin, kept out of the way of the Starlings and were very hard to photograph as they kept moving - like this one which took off just as I pressed the shutter.


Between meals the birds found what comfort they could. Here a Collared Dove found a branch in full sunlight and settled down to warm up in the -2C temperature.

Collared Dove

This House Sparrow and Robin found a sunlit spot amongst the old brambles.

Sparrow and Robin

A Jackdaw found that one of my aerials made a great vantage spot to survey the garden.


A dog has to do what a dog has to do so every now and then Bobby ventured to the bottom of the garden after stretching his weary legs. After all it IS exhausting being curled up in you favourite chair most of the day.



  1. At least your council have got the lorries out John. Not seen any round here. They must be snowed in lol

    Cracking shots as usual. Love the two Starlings with the snow on their beaks.

  2. Your photos of the birds in the snow are terrific! They'd make great Christmas cards, especially the chaffinch on the bird table with the snow sprinkled about. Love the touch of snow on their beaks, too ~ and the open beak of the starlings is quite amazing. It's good to see there were some sunny spots for the birds to enjoy.
    Bobby seems to take it all in stride!

    Have a very Merry Christmas :)

  3. Keep a close eye on Bobby, John - you could lose sight of him in a snowfall! ;-) I've noticed the snow rings on lots of different birds at our feeders. I'll be posting some photos of them over the next week or so. Be careful on the areas with re-freeze. You know things are bad when you look to walk on snow for the traction in provides! :-)


  4. Hello Keith. We are lucky here. The gritting depot is just a quarter of a mile away so the main street tends to get 'treated' quickly. Being on a bus route helps as well. My lane doesn't get salted and with the amount of traffic it is almost total packed slippery snow. Not nice for walkies ;)

  5. Thank you Glo. The Male Chaffinch would make a change from everlasting Robins ;) I think the wide open beak method of eating is why the Starlings scatter so much food about from the feeders.
    I don't think Bobby really likes the cold but he does his best.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  6. Hello Wilma. At least Bobby stands out when he has his dark coat on. Looking forward to seeing your bird visitors.
    At last the temperature has risen above zero as it was well below all the daylight hours.
    I hate walking in these conditions. Nothing worse than the areas where the snow starts to melt and then re-freezes.


Thank you for visiting. Hope you enjoyed the pictures. Any comment, or correction to any information or identification I get wrong, is most welcome. John

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