Welcome to my blog

This is where I post various musings about wildlife and ecology, observations of interesting species (often invertebrates)
and bits of research that grab my attention. As well as blogging, I undertake professional ecological & wildlife surveys
covering invertebrates, plants, birds, reptiles, amphibians and some mammals, plus habitat assessment and management
. I don't work on planning applications/for developers. The pages on the right will tell you more about my work,
main interests and key projects, and you can follow my academic work here.

Thursday 3 January 2013

Get some nyger inside ya

It's time for the first post of the new year, and my attention was grabbed this morning by the activity on our garden nyger seed feeder. It sees a lot of goldfinch activity most days, but among the colourful flits and flights were a couple of less brightly plumaged finches - redpolls.

Goldfinches on the nyger seed feeder, plus a redpoll (arrowed) nearby.
Redpoll taxonomy has changed over the last few years, but this is a common redpoll (Carduelis flammea) and not a species I've seen in our garden before. Redpolls tend to move around a lot, rarely staying in one place for long, so I was lucky to spot them (there were two but they were never close enough to appear in the same photo). This is also true of another recent 'garden first', a brambling seen a few weeks ago.

A brambling on nyger seed.
These are all species known to favour small seed such as nyger (or without kindly humans, teasels and the like) - however redpoll and brambling are not common visitors to urban gardens, so I have to wonder if the poor, very wet summer conditions have led to a low yield of seed in their native foodplants. If so, they may rely on feeders more than usual and be back, and I'll also keep an eye out for another potential visitor - the siskin.

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