We always have Blackbirds in the garden, in fact they are the iconic bird of any suburban garden. In April a pair nested very close to the house but unfortunately Magpies predated the nest which, at the time, was very upsetting and annoying. Obviously, looking at the photo of this newly fledged bird, which is still being fed by it's parents, they were eventually successful. Life is quite dangerous for suburban Blackbirds, cats take the youngsters and as I have already alluded to, Magpies are a constant threat to nesting birds. They usually manage to rear a few every year though. I haven't seen this baby yet today but it seems to have managed to escape the neighbourhood cats thankfully.
Common Starlings are just as described, common........ but in this part of the world, definitely not as numerous as they used to be. We now rarely have them feeding in the garden but I notice, in the north of England where my son lives, they are almost constantly feeding in his garden. There has been some mention of their declining numbers but I am sure they will join the humble House Sparrow as a bird of concern. There has got to be a reason why birds that used to exist in almost plague proportions are now in such decline.Having said all that, yesterday and this morning we have had a juvenile bird and a single adult both feeding on my bird table. If you are reading this from somewhere north of Devon, you may be surprised to know that this is only the second time in four years that I have had Starlings in my garden. This, although not a startling revelation, is certainly of real scientific interest and is a good illustration of how blogs such as mine, that record observations of wildlife in English gardens, can really add to science.
Out at the Dartmoor pool, I put up a little hide to give me a clear view. I am trying to photograph male Linnet, another bird that is in decline. They are very attractive with a red head and red diffused breast, a little bit like the Redpoll that I posted on Monday. Linnets are 25 times more common than Redpolls so it surely wont be long before I manage a half decent photo of one, but so far I seem to be finding it hard. For some reason, females seem to be a little easier to approach, might be just a coincidence but that's the way it seems to be. Any way, yesterday thats the way it happened again with a nice female showing really well on the boulders opposite the hide.
As on previous occasions, yesterday as I sat in the hide, suddenly there was a splash as a Swallow flew in to the pool (literally). They seem to be flying in to bathe and deliberately dunking themselves completely. I have been trying to capture this and it's not going too badly. I have a plan to get a perfect shot but only time will tell if I get it right or not.