Sunday, 3 January 2010

As the Sun Rises the Temperature Drops

It usually happens this time of year. As the Sun rises and burns off some of the cloud cover the temperature drops a few degrees. At 7 a.m. when we went walkabout it was about -1.3C and two hours later with the Sun streaming through the window it is -3C outside.


Between Christmas and New Year when temperatures were reasonable for the time of year the number of birds visiting the Birdy Bistro dropped and the feeders were hardly being used but since the temperatures dropped again the seed had been vanishing at an alarming rate.

Starlings, House Sparrows and one Tree Sparrow (round the back of the feeder)
Seed Feeder

There was little light when I went through to the kitchen first thing this morning but some birds were already tucking in to any scattered seed. The numbers of Blackbirds visiting seem to be increasing daily. Last week they averaged six or seven at a time.This morning I counted twelve!

After breakfast I scattered some more seed mixed with some suet treats which are always very popular.

Male Blackbird:
Male Blackbird

Female Blackbird:
Female Blackbird

At the same time I changed the frozen dish of water for a fresh one:
Starling Drinking

It has been difficult taking crisp photos as the light has been poor where the birds are feeding in the shade of the building.


  1. Lovely photos John!

    The temperature here (at 12.55pm) has just about reached the heady heights of 1C and it is set to plunge rapidly again later. We are promised/threatened minus 6C at night mid week and more snow!! Poor birds!

    So glad you are still seeing the Tree Sparrows and I particularly like the last photo of the Starling drinking. We have to keep breaking the ice on the birdbath, I think I may use your good idea of alternating dishes.

  2. Thank you Jan. It nearly reached +2C today but the birds have been scoffing seed all day, especially the Blackbirds and Starlings. I just had a look at the Met Office forecast for here and saw warnings of possible heavy snow for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

    I am trying to remember who gave me the idea of using a plant pot saucer. It was good advice, so much easier to change than trying to break the ice in the bird bath.

  3. Hi John, When my OH picked me up from work this morning (I did a night shift last night) the car registered -4, this was just after 7.00am. We do not have snow here in the South of England but the frost was very thick. I have noticed an increase in the number of Blackbirds in my garden of late. I have noticed the male Blackbirds are slightly different to each other; the colour orange on the beak and around the eyes is bright, the colour of other one's beak is much duller and also around the eyes. I have heard the Blackbirds with much duller colour beaks and eyes are migrants, the ones with brighter colour beaks and eyes are the residents. How true this is I don't know but it is interesting, especially when there appears to be a large increase in the number of Blackbirds appearing in people's gardens. I had none for several months, now I have four, two males and two females so far.

  4. Hello Lynmiranda I found this on the British Garden Birds site at:

    'However, while the juvenile male moults his wing feathers will remain brown (known as a 1st-winter male), also the eye ring and bill will be a "dirty" yellow, and it will be another year before his plumage is entirely black, and his eye ring and bill are pure orange-yellow.'

    And this from the BTO site at:

    'Adult males with duller bills and lacking yellow eye-rings at the start of the breeding season will be winter visitors...'

    So it could be a combination of local and visiting juveniles. Interesting and something I hadn't noticed. I didn't know we had visiting Blackbirds.

  5. The birds certainly appreciate all the food we put out for them. Happy New Year.

  6. Lovely shots John; especially like the drinking Starling.
    Had an increase of Blackbirds to the garden too.

    I read that there are around 5 million territories in the UK normally, which swells to almost 20 million with the European visitors during winter.

  7. They do Emma. Some spent all day in the garden eating. Happy New Year to you too.

  8. Thank you Keith. I would have been really pleased with the drinking shot if there hadn't been some movement blur on the head.

    Until Lynmiranda mentioned it I didn't know about the invasion of European Blackbirds. That explains a lot. I wonder if I can get an EU grant for feeding EU birds. Probably need to become an M.P. and put it on expenses ;)

  9. Amazing shots, John! I think the composition of the sunrise picture is excellent ~ colour-wise, texturally, and layered in thirds :) Lot of motion captured in a still photo at the feeding station ~ nice detail on the outspread wing. Now how did you manage to get 3 different birds in similar poses with a peanut in each beak? Terrific! I think the slight blur on the starling's head in the pond is a good thing ~ it shows there was some action, otherwise the bird would appear to be a fountain-type statue, or in need of a dribble bib!

    By the way I found the following info re frozen ponds:

    "Prevent your pond from icing over completely in winter by floating a tennis ball on the surface. Remove it to leave an air hole in ice that does form. Avoid breaking the ice as the reverberations can disturb pond life."

  10. Thank you Glo. With the sunrise piccy I chopped off some outbuildings which were in view lower down and it seemed better to me with just a bit of tree silhouette. I am beginning to prefer the CinemaScope type shape to photos as they seem to me to suit my blog layout better.

    I took a lot of shots of the birds coming and going at the feeder in the hopes of getting one reasonable one.

    The birds couldn't find and eat the suet treats fast enough so they were racing all over the place. It just so happened the best shots were all facing in one direction. The berry flavoured ones do look a bit like peanuts.

    I tried a ball in the pond a few years ago. It just froze in place. The holes I drilled some days ago froze over in a few hours. It has been below 0 most of the time for a good ten days now and looks to stay much the same for quite a few days to come, maybe another two weeks.


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

Related Posts with Thumbnails