Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Little Beaut!

It was a beautiful sunny day in the south today. Despite starting with a heavy frost once out of the light breeze it felt like Spring. With the sun came the Siskins, seven today in the garden including a couple of stunning males. They are just gorgeous little gems that light up the garden and a few of them fell asleep in the unseasonal warmth including this male that decided to bask on the patio just outside my window. One of my favourite birds:

Siskin, male: R. Harris
Sleepy head: R. Harris
Siskin, male: R. Harris
Siskin, male Phonescoped: R. Harris
While watching this one a flash of white caught my eye in the tree behind. It was a Brambling! Not only that it was a stunning male, the first Brambling I've had in the garden at Whitestaunton in three years. They've been a bit scarce this year so this was a total surprise:

Brambling, male: R. Harris
Brambling, male, Phonescoped: R. Harris
The garden has been coming alive at night too. At this time of the year the garden pond becomes host to a mass of breeding Common Frogs but this year the Common Toads have arrived early and the pond is heaving with a mix of both species. Two nights ago the numbers peaked with 134 toads and around 100 frogs. You really had to watch where you put your feet.

Common Frog Rana temporaria: R. Harris
Common Toad Bufo bufo: R. Harris
Taken on Galaxy S4
Common Toad Bufo bufo: R. Harris
Taken on Galaxy S4
Common Toad Bufo bufo two of 134present in the garden: R. Harris

The first newts of 2016 were back in the pond too with both Smooth Lissotriton vulgaris and Palmate  Lissotriton helveticus being seen. What a great start the year.

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